Would you live in Datong District?

Other than sharing one Chinese character, Daan district (where I currently live) and Datong district (where I’m thinking of moving to) have very little in common. Daan is convenient, middle-class and expensive; Datong is blue-collar, old and rundown. But here are the reasons I’m thinking of moving there:

  1. a room with a view of the Danshui river with easy access to the riverside bike path.
  2. much cheaper rent than Daan.
  3. still within Taipei city limit with many buses that I still need to acquaint myself with.

Anyone know anything about this part of town that few foreigners have ever set foot in? Are there any supermarkets, for instance, or am I expected to haggle in Taiwanese in traditional markets? Are there any other advantages of living in Datong district besides the ones I’ve listed? Any thoughts?

I like walking around there. Interesting temples and alleyways, and DiHua Street and such.

Don’t know about supermarkets, but there are some good local eats down there. Coffee shops are pretty thin on the ground.

Old places often have rats and cockroaches, though.

(Sorry, not particularly helpful)

Wow! 60 hits and just one reply. Goes to show how foreign Datong district is to foreigners.

Having lived in Taipei for more than 10 years, I can count on one hand the number of times I set foot in that part of town. I’ve never been to Dihua St., though I’ve always wanted to check out the supposedly beautiful traditional architecture there.

Thanks, Buttercup for the input. I’ll keep and eye out for the cockroaches, rats, dog poop, betel nut juice puddles, and other expectorated fluids coming out of the mouths of blue-white-flipflop-wearing characters, um… maybe I’ll stay in Daan for the time being.

I have lived in Datong District for about eight years now. Run down it is. There are two Wellcome supermarkets that I know of and a new branch of Carrefour. One interesting place is the Dadaocheng Wharf, where there is a van that sells coffee and snacks to have out in the open. It’s just a stone’s throw from Dihua Street. Come and visit me some time and we can explore some of Datong District’s hidden nooks and crannies.

I went there and explored some last night. This old part of Taipei is nice and quaint with its narrow streets and labyrinthine back alleys. Yet it’s not as chaotic or dirty as Sanchong across the bridge or Wanhua for that matter. Who needs Warner Village when that’s what I’ve escaped from in the US?

Thanks for the invite, Juba. It’s good to know there’s at least one foreigner living in Datong. I’ve gone by Dadaocheng Wharf numerous times on my bike rides (just never went into the area). I even took the ferry from there down to Guandu a few times and continued riding along the bike path all the way to Danshui. It makes a pleasant “surf ‘n’ turf” travel experience.

Funny, I was just thinking that if I were to move from my palace in Banchiao to somewhere else, I would consider that area for the bike path, river park, and interesting looking local shopping and sightseeing.

If I found a good deal on a clean, quiet place, I would strongly consider moving there.

I checked out that area more than a year ago and I can tell you there are plenty of supermarkets -I remember at least one WELLCOME, several of that cheap cooperative thinghy, and one huge Carrefour in the vicinity. As to housing, there are some really run down places, but I think you will be mostly pleasantly surprised. The pricing, though, was quite average. I found taofans or even two-bedroom apartments from 18 to 25 thousand, and the most expensive one was in a high rise with its own gym (35 thousand), but then I was using an agent. This area is actively trying to improve its image, and that is a good thing in my book.

The Dadaocheng area is one of the two oldest parts of Taipei (the other being Wanhua), so it’s pretty run down in places, but it’s great for the atmosphere: old alleys, temples and markets. Lots of old Japanese-built buildings. And in certain parts, even crumbling (and unlivable) pre-Japanese buildings can be found. And rent is cheaper there, definitely a plus.

Not many foreigners live there now, but in the latter half of the 19th century it was the expat hangout, with the foreigners mostly involved with the tea trade.

i lived in wanhua a couple of years, and while the air is nicer and street cleaner where i am now, it was nice for the cheap rent, the local character and the multiple good cheap restaurants, i can barely find one around here. i wouldn’t mind doing it again.

So if I do move there, I can tell people I live in Tianmu . . . of the 19th century.

I lived there for a couple of years. If you live to the east of ChongChing, especially between JiuJuan and MinQuan, it is relatively convenient for busses (and has a couple of MRT stations in easy walking distance). I would avoid living directly on Minzu, though. You have the noise from the approach to Songshan Airport, combined with the heavy trucks (that are only allowed on that street in the area). There are a lot of new buildings going up. There are places with character. There are some good restaurants, but you have to look a little harder to find them than in some areas of town.

[quote=“YAJ”] There are some good restaurants, but you have to look a little harder to find them than in some areas of town.[/quote]Care to share some of them with us?

The only ones I know are:
Bolero, the oldest (Taiwanese interpretation of) Western restaurant in Taipei, with Taiwanese portions to boot.
Hymalaya Indian Restaurant (Only been to it once. It was too grungy for my taste. Are they still in business?)
The Alley, a Japanese restaurant in an alley off Nanjing W. Rd. near the Yuanhuan traffic circle (This one I will go to if I’m in the area)

On DaLong Street, between Minzu and JiuJuan, there is a Taiwanese Coffee Shop called MaMa BoBo that’s pretty decent for local food. That area is also the night market, so there are a few places that are ok (if you like that kind of food). There is also a beer garden on ChongChing, a little bit up from Minchuan, that has some good shrimp dishes (and Lamb Hot Pot). There is a decent Hot Pot place on Minzu, between DaLong and Chengde. There are also a couple of decent breakfast places. Basically, if you like local food, you will find some if you look around (but, if it has to be non-Chinese to be decent…well…this is Taiwan and it is an older part of the city).

Although I live in South Taiwan about 10 days out of every 2 weeks, I also usually spend about 4 days in Taibei in every 2 weeks. I have a shop in DaTong district. A friend described it as like being in the South when you are really in Taibei. The reason I chose that area was price of the rent and accesability (easy to get there from No. 1 freeway which helps because about 1/3 of my customers there are coming from other cities or towns and are as lost driving in Taibei as I am). It also has the MRT (YuanShan is the nearest station for me) and the bus stops for buses coming off and going on to the freeway. It is true you won’t find much decent foreign food but if I want some great bread Wendal’s is only 3 MRT stops away and plenty of other places are accesible enough since it is only 4 stops to Taibei main station. Other than foreigners going to the Confusius temple (KongMiao) most of whom are Japanese or Korean I don’t see too many foreigners from developed countries in the area. That does not really bother me of course. I guess because I live in South Taiwan and perhaps more importantly 13 years ago I was living in a not so huge city in China where a lot of things that can be found in any 7-11 in Taiwan were pretty much impossible to find. But if you want cheap rent somewhere down town I think living in WanHua or DaTong is probably not too big a price to pay.

Thanks for sharing. I will definitely look for those places if I move there.

You’re right. Tianmu is relatively easy to get to from Datong. What kind of a shop do you have?