Tamshui - don't go there

For those poor buggers who live there – I’m sorry, you may not have any choice. For those who haven’t visited yet – don’t waste the $NT 35 on an MRT ticket.

It was described to me as a quaint fishing village, where the river meets the sea. What I didn’t picture was a mini-Taipei with all its delapidated buildings covered in bathroom tiles hugging a grey toxic river.

I sincerely hope the seafood that I ate didn’t come from there, or I’m on borrowed time.

Is there anywhere decent to go, or should I reach for my passport if I want to see something nice?

Think how many millions of people live along the banks of the Tamshui river and its tributaries. How could you think it would be clean?
Yes, Tamshui is a festering hole. That’s because its so easy for Taipei residents to visit.
There are countless beautiful places in Taiwan. The trick is to find places that are not mentioned in guidebooks or the leisure sections of the local rags.
As a general rule of thumb, anything along the coast is bad, as it is too accessible unless you go way down to the Taidong area (which is beautiful – white beaches, coconut palms, etc.). Head for the mountains to the south of Taipei and strike off the main road, say, to Sanhsia. Head up any of the small single-lane roads that snake off up into the mountains. Some of them will only go a little way to the nearest farm, but others’ll take you way up and deep into really beautiful countryside. You can find places like this all over the country, but not, unfortunately, if you’re relying on public transport.
There are 23 million people here with recently expanded leisure time, but the plus side is that most of them don’t have much inclination to go somewhere “quiet,” preferring the concept of “renao.”
This means that anywhere you’ve heard of will be heaving with people and stinking of BBQ sausage and squid-on-a-stick.

P.S. Don’t worry about the fish – they come from way offshore or the ocean – nothing lives in the Tamshui river… except for the clams. You didn’t eat any clams, did you?..

Sandman, sandman, did you say “white sand beaches and coconut palms”???
Surely, you must be joking.

Clams? No, I gave these to a small cat hanging around the table. He turned into a huge gorgon and ate 6 people before he dissapeared into the murky depths of the river.

Thanks for the tips re. getting away. Are you sure - white sand, coconut palms, it sounds too good - what’s the catch? Landmines, a nuclear reactor?

sweartagod, white sand and palm trees. Camping among the pines right on the beach. About 20 mins by car north of Taidong city. Cool little beach bar, no jet skis, nice restaurant w/large garden area serves pizza, etc. Run by some kind of foreign freak (follower of the Maharishi or something like that. Whatever, he cooks well).
Ya gotta get out more, guys.
Go explore. Taiwan’s a nice place.

Coconut palms and white beaches on Taiwan… Too good to be true?

Well I was engaged on one a couple of miles south of Taitung, so I have proof of it.

If you want to try something good here, tru to go up to Paling, there are some hiking trails there, where you can walk for hours and not meet anyone else.

The two secrets: Get a motorbike so you can go anywhere. Get a map so you know where to go (has to be a big Chinese map with all the roads marked).

Even if you go to Tamshui, if you go by bike, in 5 minutes you’re away from all the bustle and out on beach roads or up into the hills or whatever and it’s great. From Taipei, just choose a Rd or a group of hills/mountains and explore it. YangMingShan’s good for starters, the whole thing from Jinshan to Tamshui, to Beitou to Neihu has heaps of entrances and is criss-crossed by hundreds of roads and walking tracks. Thent here’s the mountains around Wulai, or MaoKung, or Ping Xi, or Jiu Fen. Or take a coast drive up to Tamshui then down to Jinshan or Ye Liu. You can daytrip by bike to anywhere in Taipei county, anfd if you overnight it, there’s really a hell of a lot to see. Up in those hills it’s all green and freesh air too.

It’s no wonder you hate Taipei Non-Teacher, if you’re stuck in the middle of it all the time. When I think Taipei, I think Taipei county, and there’s so many great places that I can get to on a 30 min or hour’s drive. Even if you’re right in the middle fo the city, you’ll be out of it in 20 minutes and driving through hills. Buy a motorbike.


Hey Bri,

I hate to be the voice of doom and gloom (well, not really) but walking for 5 minutes along a street in Taipei clogs up enough pores to cause major outbreaks. Imagine how much faster the pores clog on a motorbike!

Hey kids,
Wow, I think it’s funny that there’s no hoonnkkeeyyss that like Re Nao…are there? I think it’s cool…

I think throngs of humanity are fun…but, since this is a Tamsui thread, I must admit I’ve never been. I saw it on the Jackie show though. P.S. get a life with bleeping out the word hhoonnkkeeyy

The people who whinge most about Taiwan are those who are here on exapt packages. They become fat and spoilt, assuming everything should be provided for them with minimal fuss. However, those of us here because we want to be, and actually love the place, venture out into the wild yonder and discover just how beautiful this island really is. And for that I am grateful, the less people in my favourite natural hot spring in the mountains the better, the less people at my fave beach the better, the less people at my fave winter snowboarding locale the better. Actually, come to think of it, stay at home and leave the nice stuff for those who care. Use Taiwan as a transit stop for your sad little shopping trips to HK etc.

Trouble is…

Stop smoking those strange cigarettes and get real for a moment…

I started this thread as a fair warning to people who might have been as gullible as I & actually believe that Tamshui was not horrible, to save them the trip up there only to be dissapointed once again by one of Taipei’s many beautiful & interesting attractions.

It’s not just Taipei, Taichung & Kaohsiung are equally disgusting. I have ventured out (albeit not far): to the coast (nice beaches - perhaps under all that rubbish); into the mountains (nice tiled concrete buildings in the towns and villages folks). Closer to home, I even walked up the mountain to the Cultural University. Hmmm, it is where Taipei residents take their families to drop off the household rubbish? What I’ve seen so far is truly uninspiring.

If you’re not here on a decent package, that is sadder still. Imagine living in this town AND having a crappy little apartment and riding around on 100cc scooter in all the acid rain.

If I want to snowboard - I’ll go to Austria or Colorado thanks. Beaches, try French Polynesia or Australia, sweet cheeks. And yes, I will head to HK for a shopping trip because the department stores here are crap also.

It once was a beautiful Island, that’s obvious. “Prosperity” has turned it into what it is today. I’ll let you know what little gems I find tucked away when I broaden my travels. But shhhhh… you may have a strange creature come to the island if all these great spots are “discovered” - a tourist.

Go home you fool. As an expat you are most likely here because your company thinks the same about Taiwan - IE it is a backwater. So they send their sh*tty little employees like YOU here as you probably cant cut it in other ‘more important’ places.

You need to face reality non-teacher, there are beautiful places here, many of them, they are hidden gems amongst some pretty horrid surroundings granted.

keelung is like bloody nirvana with cherubs feeding you durians all day while 17 year old girls put their feet all over you in their white knee socks and taxi cab drivers give you cigarettes and the men all buy you bottles of hennessey and it rains drakkar noir and everyone smiles and puts thousand dollar bills in yer panties just because yer white

Stay you fool. Stay for ever.

Glad you’re not my HR Director BTW.

I’ve cut it in slightly more advanced markets than this chumley.

Face reality? - I have, it’s you who has tricked themselves. Hidden gems? - damn well camouflaged those gems. I agree about the horrid surroundings though.

it is not about ‘staying’. it is about choices. you chose to be here as you love your little AC apartment and the associated wankery that surrounds your sad ‘packaged’ world. i choose to be because i am able to have friends and family here, a great job and the ability to move on when i dont want to be somewhere. you however are bound by your contract and bound by the tight little mind you so obviously possess.

Is it that you’re just resentful that you can’t afford air-conditioning?

Careful, that chip on your shoulder may fall and break your foot.

You know, when you grow up, you can negotiate a ‘package’ all of your own.

The reason companies send people to work in Asia is because they need the skills that professionals from abroad possess. It’s as simple as that. Otherwise they wouldn’t invest so much in our packages, would they now?

as I expected - all over your head. The AC had nothing to do with haves/have nots. Rather to do with the comfort factor, the laziness, the fat gutted foolery that pervades your every move. You want everything served up for you. You have no motivation in life other than complaining and a$$ licking your regional head when s/he visits.

i have no ‘chip’ on my shoulder. i once was bound by the expat lifestyle, but it did not suit me as i had to constantly be surrounded my people such as yourself, who showed no respect to local staff etc.

and the ‘foreigners possess greater skill arguement’ doesnt hold water in a world where less postings are being offered across government, biz etc as organisations FINALLY realise local staff are equal in every respect.

the asian prostitutes all fear my package and refuse service

that aint no free market like im used to damnit

Non Teacher,

Are you for real? Or are you just taking on an aggressive, devil’s advocate role in this bulletin board?

I’ve known tons of expats on packages in Taiwan, and never have I met one so full of venom as yourself. I know that many companies use “cultural sensitivity” as a gauge of who they send out as expatriates. Furthermore, as part of most expatriate packages, some “cultural awareness training” is usually required. So either (1) you failed those courses and the company sent you anyways (2) your company, for some reason, apparently doesn’t care about the kind of people representing them overseas or (3) my original point, which is you’re just doing this to stir things up on the board.

Feel free to continue your tirade against my blog. Ben’s been really nice to come to my defense, but really Ben, it’s OK. I’m not going to stop posting on my blog because some people find it vapid and insipid. I assume the people who don’t like it will just stop reading it.


OK - this is my last post on this whole bag, because it’s getting personal & this forum is meant to be fun and allow us to let off some steam (I thought).

Jl2000 - yes you were right the third time, just throwing the line in to see who bites…

BUT - seriously, I have nothing BUT respect for the local staff in my company. They are exceptionally well trained, professional, and conduct themselves to the highest standards. My posting here is to (I hope) compliment the existing skill base. This is the best branch of our company I have come across. Yes, some things are done in a particularly local way, but that is exactly how it should be - local expertise & knowledge supported by international resources etc. I came from an office in the west which had expats working there, we learnt off them and I personally gained from my exposure to them. So, if the perception of Non Teacher is that NT feels superior to NT’s colleagues - this is FAR off the mark.

For the record, the 2 things I like about Taipei are 1. The people - probably the nicest and most accomidating anywhere in the world. 2. The food - every day brings new gastronomic pleasures.

And re. the cultural sensitivity - this forum is my place to say Taipei is ugly and ask why. Not to the Taiwanese who I work with and socialize with after hours. I tell them I am privellaged to work with and know them, and I do truly believe that. Yes, I would prefer to be somewhere else. When I arrived here, I didn’t expect the place to be so non-international (vs. say somewhere like Singapore or HK) or ugly. It’s a challenging post but I will be better for it, and I hope my colleagues also. My previous posting was in Asia - I loved the city, the country and the people. I am already planning another trip back.

Now, if you want to still have fun - the Non Teacher thread is the place to bag me. I will respond accordingly.

A closing note: StLouTom, you are very scary. This sexual undertone and racial business I find disturbing. No, really.