In another thread Iris and Tetsuo mentioned how easy and rewarding it is to take short train trips out of Taipei. So what are the good trips:
Yingge: - pottery and stuff
Sanxia: - you can get there by train can’t you? It’s a nice place
Jiufen/Jinguashi: - fantastic place to visit and a short bus trip from Ruifang station
Fulong/Daxi: - beaches
Jilong: - more city-like, but worth an explore - there’s forts and other good stuff.
You can’t take a train to Sanxia but it’s only NT100 from the Yingge train station to the famous Zushi Temple in Sansia. You can take a bus but it’s hard to know where to get off.
Other good short train rides: take the train to Ruifang and transfer to the Pingxi small rail line (my favorite). Good stops include Sandiaoling for the waterfall hike; Shifen (for the coal museum and Shifen waterfall - the broadest fall in Taiwan); Pingxi to light off a sky lantern or hike in the hills just across the main road (interesting craggy peaks to scale, small caves to explore); and the final stop Jingtong. Some good hiking here, the remains of an old mining settlement, and a cool old station to explore.
Sanyi also makes a good day trip if you catch the express train. Explore the wood carving shops, the wood carving museum, and walk along 12km of abandoned tracks through pretty countryside. Also some good Hakka restaurants around.
Fulong and Daxi, in addition to the beaches are great for the Caoling Historic Trail. You can walk up to 15km though shorter routes are possible. Fantastic views of the coastline as well as a chance to learn about native plants. There are signs everywhere (in English and Chinese) explaining the local fauna. The great thing is when you finish at Daxi you can go for a swim and then take the train back. No need to retrace your steps.
Hsinchu surprisingly makes for a good day trip by train. The Guqifeng museum in a large temple complex has a fabulous collection of Chinese antiquities. The temple grounds are also filled with hundreds of good quality statues. In town there are a number of relics to explore, including the excellently preserved south gate. There is also a cool movie theatre from the 1920’s where you can watch modern films for NT20. Oh yeah, the glass museum is worth a visit and you can arrange English speaking tours.
Oh yeah, Neiwan. There was a lot of work being done when I was there in February. Building new trails, pavilions, etc. If nothing else, take Almas Johns advise and grab a few beer and head down to the river for a swim.
Neiwan is also good for those who want to try Hakka foods, expecially lei cha (pounded tea). But eat or drink in town near the train station. The restaurants across the river served bland coffee-shop style food and shitty tea. At least the two I tried.
There are buses going from Taipei to Sansia 三峽, departing near the Presidential Palast and Ximending. As they are public buses they stop pretty much everywhere but then they are cheap, I think around NTD45 only.
Don’t expect too much though, the old street is short and boring (crap really) and that famous temple looks like any other. The small museum of the artist who worked on the temple can also be visited, not too far away once you have crossed the bridge near the temple.
I liked Sanxia when I went a few years ago.
Nothing incredible, but nice shops and a good vibe.
Disagree completely. I saw that temple when I first came to Taiwan. I was very impressed even knowing nothign about it. I could spend hours, and have, examining the carvings on the pillars. After I learned how much work has gone into the reconstruction I became even more impressed. People always complain that Taiwanese do things in a quick, slipshod fashion. Here is the pre-eminent example that they can do things properly.
It helps if you know what to look for. This website explains all the interesting architectural features of the temple.
The old street is an interesting place to browse for old objects and to watch the coffin makers at work. They could do so much more with the street for sure like in Daxi. It won’t take your breath away but it’s interesting just to get a glimpse of how old streets used to look in Taiwan. Also, if you’re looking for Marilyn Monroe matchboxes and lighters this is your destination.
There are a few other interesting old buildings nearby including the Historical Memorial Museum which is housed in a building the Japanese called the most beautiful office building in Taiwan.
Also the Wuliao Jian hiking trail is in Sanxia. It’s very fun as you get to walk along a knife-edged ridge and scale cliff faces with ropes. I tok Bu’s father there when he was in Taiwan and he really enjoyed it.
I have always found Neiwan boring and overrun.
That said, I would prefer it to siting in a concrete shoebox in the city.
I took a train to Keelung and then a bus to Yeliu - and it was the only place around Taipei that I really really liked.
Another trip I remember was to Yingge which I found incredibly boring.
You want something boring by train?
Well, then take the train to Xizhi, that will beat Yingge by an impressive boredom margin.
However, if you took the train to Jiaoxi on the Yilan line, nice background of mountains, you can hike up to the waterfall (go to the third one), and then you can take a quick soak at much lower prices than the Beitou ones, after which you head back to Taipei.
Go by express train.
My two cents…
Caoling historical trail - great hike
Wu liao jian - outside of sanxia is amazing as is huang di dian…I forget where it is though… past sen keng and keep going?? (went with a Taiwanese friend and didn’t pay to much attention to the directions.
Don’t forget mao kong - just outside of Mu Zha - great tea and food - and great hiking trail to Zhi Nan Temple
BTW - I don’t mind Ying ge at all
China post article about riding the Pingxi train.
chinapost.com.tw/travel/deta … 2074&GRP=g
The article is a bit brief on things to see and do, so check out this thread.
[Non-commercialized areas in Jiufen?
It only retains its charm on a weekday morning -as Richard Saunders- the author, basically states. Go there Fri-Sun and you are doomed. Worse than Taipei 101. Let’s be clear about this. And it DEFINATELY ain’t no Niagara!!!
I thought it was W i s b e y. Medicinal qualities eh! No wonder the roads are all squiffy. It’s the train for me from now on, choo choo!!
huh? The Kaoliang must be flowing like a Taibodian Waterfall in your flat.
One of my favorite day trips is the early express train out of Taipei (about 8:30) to Hualien. It’s a little over 3 hours but it’s a nice scenic ride. I usually go with 2 or 3 friends and we take a cooler, some sandwhiches and a couple beers. Get off at Hualien. The taxi que out front will have more than one driver willing to take 1400 from your group to take you to the top of the gorge. Every time I have gone, the taxi driver will stop as often as I want and help with pictures, sightseeing, etc. He will spend a good part of the day with you for this amount. If it’s only one person it gets rather spendy but divided among 2 or 3, it’s really pretty cheap. He will also drop you at a large rock carving shop out of town and pick you up an hour later if you want. No extra charge. Catch the express back to Taipei and be home by 9:30 pm. Total cost about 700 NT for the train and about 500 each for the taxi. A few beers, etc brings the total to about 1500 each for a fantastic day.
Hi I’m interested in the day trip to Hualian. Is this worth doing on a Saturday, or will Taroko be insanely busy? Also is there an entrance fee into the gorge?
[quote=“slinky”]Hi I’m interested in the day trip to Hualian. Is this worth doing on a Saturday, or will Taroko be insanely busy? Also is there an entrance fee into the gorge?
Day trip from where??
You could rent a scooter and the business would be lessened as you can stop at will in uncrowded places.
Fee? not that last time I was there…Chnese New Years.
I’ve been on both weekdays and weekends. Sure, the weekend had more people but it wasn’t bad. Once when I went on a weekend I saw a Canadian female tourist from Canada who was teaching in Japan. I had the taxi driver pick her up, she shared the taxi cost and we have been internet friends now for over a year. You never know who you will meet and it is always great fun. Don’t over-plan. just go and enjoy.
OOps. Did I forget to mention that I was considering a day trip from Taipei. Sorry I forgot that is’s possible to be based out of town - I clearly spend too long in the city!
Just try this. I think most people will enjoy. Yes, it’s a day trip from Taipei or very near surrounding are. It is always great fun and I have never come back regretting the trip. Well, maybe once - with my ex-wife. But, hell, I knew that was going to happen before I went.
From taipei… then better take the plane instead of the train. I don’t recall paying any entrance fee, but that was a long time ago.