5 Days 4 Nights Northern Taiwan Tour – Day 4 Keelung (June 2016)

Train to Keelung

We would be going to Keelung this morning. We had already booked the 5-star Evergreen Laurel Hotel at Keelung harbourfront. So we got up early and had a simple breakfast with the bread we bought the previous night at the bakery in Miramar Complex. We then packed up and checked out early.

With Daan MRT Station right at the doorsteps of Park Taipei Hotel, we took a train to Taipei Main Train Station, just five stations away. It was still very early and all the shops at the underground mall were closed. We then walked over to the railway station and took the next local train to Keelung. It was a smooth journey taking around 50 minutes to reach Keelung.

Arrive Evergreen Laurel Hotel

Once we got out of the railway station, we saw Evergreen Laurel Hotel over the other side of the harbour. The city was rather quiet so early in the morning and road traffic was light. So we took a slow walk of under 15 minutes to reach Evergreen Laurel Hotel orientating ourselves along the way.

This hotel is probably the best in Keelung, pretty modern and clean. Service staff were polite, friendly and helpful. It was too early to check in as we arrived around 9.45 am. We left our bags with the hotel and having gotten direction from front desk, we left the hotel to take a bus up to Jiufen for our first itinerary for the day.

Bus 788 to Jiufen for Shopping

The bus stop is located along the road behind Evergreen Laurel Hotel. So we followed the direction and walked over to the bus stop to wait for bus 788. It was a just a few minutes walk. A couple of minutes later, the bus came and we boarded the bus. The bus ride took us through part of Keelung City and then headed up the hill towards Jiufen. Slightly after an hour, we arrived Jiufen.

After alighting from the bus, we walked over to the entrance of Jiufen Old Street. The entrance is usually crowded with visitors and this day was no exception. We simply followed the crowd and walked in checking out shops along the way.

Jiufen Old Street is a narrow street walking uphill with shops on both sides. It won’t be easy to walk fast to get ahead of the crowd. So we simply enjoyed this shopping trip checking out interesting stuff over here.

There were many shops selling food, Taiwanese tidbits, snacks including sun biscuits and pineapple tarts. There are also many little restaurants selling local food. These restaurants are popular and of course crowded and not easy to find a seat. There are shops selling unique stuff not to mention clothes and bags, toys and souvenirs.

After one round of roaming the street enjoying this interesting experience, we reached a lookout point. This is one of the locations for nice photo taking looking out to the pretty views below.

The air here was fresh but the skies were overcast during our visit. Nevertheless, we still took our time to admire the view of the surrounding from this height. Of course there are accommodations over here as well for visitors who wish to spend a night here up on the hill to enjoy some cool climate and great scenery.

Nice Lunch in Jiufen and Bus back to Keelung

Soon it was time for lunch. Instead of having a cheaper meal at one of those popular eateries, we decided to look for a nicer restaurant to have lunch with a view. We found one restaurant where we could sit near a window to enjoy the splendid view this part of Taiwan from Jiufen.

We ordered the local Taiwanese lunch sets that came with tea. The food was pretty tasty and the cost was very reasonable as well. By the way, this restaurant also operates rooms for visitors to stay overnight.

After lunch, it was the same route walking out to the main road. So we had another round checking out those interesting shops along the way. Once we reached the entrance, we turned left to walk further down to another lookout point. Here we admired the beautiful views of the surrounding and the landmass along the coastline much further below. We also took more pictures from here before leaving Jiufen. Finally, we walked back up hill over to the bus stop to wait for bus 788. Not long after, we boarded the bus and were on our way back to Keelung.

About an hour later, we arrived Keelung. The city was more active and busy now. Instead of alighting near Evergreen Laurel Hotel, we got off the bus near the train station. We went over to the Kuo-Kuang Bus Terminal to check out the bus schedule to return to Taipei for the next day.

Bus 101 to Heping Island Park

Next we went out to the bus stop along the harbour to wait for the bus to bring us to Heping Island. Bus 101 would be the bus to take. Not long after, the bus came and we boarded the bus and were on our way to this next attraction.

The bus ride brought us through the coast and in about 40 minutes, we arrived at our destination. It was just 2.20 pm when we walked towards Heping Island. The name Heping Island means peace island. The place where we alighted was a residential area. We walked past a church and then out towards a park. So we arrived at the entrance of this park after a few minutes walk.

The skies were cloudy as we made our way into the park. There were staff at the entrance but we were not required to pay entrance fee. The park after the entrance has a huge area of open space. We then walked towards the interesting land formations near the sea with a body of water providing some nice reflections of the rock formations. The walking paths here are well kept, very clean and tidy.

Unique and Beautiful Views in Heping Island

We then walked up along the path that leads to the edge of the sea. Along the way, the views out here became more stunning. The landmass below was interesting and unique, a little like the Yehliu Geopark rock formations near Taipei we visited a year ago. We kept walking and admiring the pretty stones, rocks and earth below where parts of some features were covered with grass.

Up on the cliff, the views out to the sea was gorgeous and a far away island could be seen. Had this been a sunny day with clear blue skies, it would be much nicer out here but of course having to deal with the heat.

There is a nice gazebo out towards the sea on one of the cliffs barricaded with railings for visitors to get a better view of the entire area. This is a great place to take nice pictures of the park. Many visitors were here enjoying the views and the fresh air at this seaside park.

After spending some time at the gazebo, we walked on uphill along the pathway. The views of the rock formations below and further out at sea was fascinating as we gained height walking uphill. The path then turned left and the views changed to another landscape below. A little castle came into sight and then the seaside park with people swimming and having fun just a short distance away from the castle.

Seaside Rock Swimming Pool

We finally descended to ground level near the castle ground. However, we didn’t go into the castle as the skies were so overcast that it might pour any moment. So we walked to the seaside after a short stretch of beach.

The beach was unremarkable, not a good place to swim. However, just outside the beach is the sea where many people were swimming out there within some barricaded rock pools. We are not sure whether these pools are man-made or natural formations. Certain paths out to the sea were certainly man-made. The water within these pools was very calm.

The people here young and old were indeed having a great time. There was a huge tent set up in the middle of the wide pavement where some visitors were hanging around enjoying food and drinks. There were some other smaller tents set up along the pavement as well. We saw quite a lot of seaweeds on the pavement as well. This part of the park was really busy. This was summer time so people were out here swimming. It won’t be possible to swim during winter or typhoon seasons out here.

It then started to drizzle. So we walked back to the entrance. Soon, the drizzle turned into light rain. Incidentally, a taxi arrived with some passengers alighting at the entrance. So we got into the taxi and went back to Evergreen Laurel Hotel. There was no point to waste time walking back to the bus stop at the residential area to wait for the bus. We could be very wet and uncomfortable by the time we reached the hotel.

Evergreen Laurel Hotel Room

Our room was ready when we approached front desk. We collected our bags from the hotel and then went up to our room. The room wasn’t very modern but was nevertheless charming and clean. The king bed was clean and comfy as well.

This room comes with the typical arrangement of a flat screen TV on top of a cabinet in front of the bed next to a writing desk and chair. Bathroom comes with bathtub and shower. Full toiletries were provided. Electric kettle, coffee and tea, bottled water and a plate of fruits and snacks were provided as well. Wifi was fine and TV with many channels mostly Taiwanese. Views from room windows were fantastic facing the harbour. Navy ships could be clearly seen docked below.

Swim and Rest in Evergreen Laurel Hotel

With nothing else to do, we went up to the indoor swimming pool for a swim. We didn’t know shower cap was a requirement even for males. My wife had her own shower cap. So I borrowed one from the staff there. We could also purchase one over there as well. No one was using the pool so we had the whole pool to ourselves. It was great to have a swim here. We didn’t have a chance to swim while staying at hotels in Taipei.

We returned to our room after swimming. It was time to rest after a shower before heading out for dinner. Getting in touch with the children was great. They enjoyed those nice pictures we took at Jiufen and Heping Island. Watching TV at the same time soon took us to dinner time.

Dinner Time in Keelung

It was past 5 pm so we went up to the top floor to check out the restaurant in the hotel. However, it was still early and the restaurant was empty. We took the opportunity to enjoy the unblocked views of the surrounding. The views from Evergreen Laurel Hotel were indeed excellent. Having checked the restaurant menu, we decided to head out for dinner.

The rain had stopped. We walked along the road behind Evergreen Laurel Hotel as recommended by the hotel staff because there were eateries and restaurants along this road. We walked on and soon came to the main road where the famous Miaokou Night Market was nearby. Tall buildings and shopping malls are around this area. It was getting dark so we went into a shopping mall.

We saw an advertisement from Tasty Restaurant inside this building so we went to the directory to locate this restaurant. Our younger daughter recommended we try out this restaurant when we were in Taiwan. This restaurant is located on the 15th floor. So we took a lift up to the restaurant.

Great Dinner at Tasty Restaurant

When we arrived, we were asked whether we had a reservation. We didn’t know we had to reserve a table for dinner. The restaurant was pretty busy. However, we were ushered to an empty table for the two of us. Had we made a reservation earlier, we might be able to sit near the windows to enjoy the great views of Keelung City while having dinner. Anyway, we didn’t know there was a Tasty Restaurant here in Keelung. We did walk past a Tasty Restaurant in Taipei but we had already eaten dinner then.

Once we were seated, a waiter came to serve us. He was our dedicated waiter for this seven course dinner. He asked whether we were celebrating any special occasion for this dinner. We told him our anniversary was this month. So he left after taking our order. The set dinner cost over NT$500 each but for a seven cost dinner, this price is very reasonable.

Soon our food arrived one after another. It was so fascinating. The presentation was great. Greater was the taste of all those food items for our dinner. We loved the steak and the pork chop, well done and yet still so tender and juicy. Towards the end of the dinner, we were given extra cakes and pastries. This dinner was fantastic and the service was par excellent. The dinner was really tasty indeed, well deserved the name of this restaurant.

Miaokuo Night Market

After dinner, we left the mall to walk over to Miaokou Night Market. It was dark all over now. We crossed a small nicely lit bridge and walked towards the lit up area. Soon we were at MiaoKou Night Market. This is one of the famous night markets in Taiwan. The unmistakable rows of bright yellow lanterns adorned the streets here.

This night market is well known for its food, plenty of food, in particular, seafood being located so near the harbour in Keelung. Of course there are stalls selling clothes and bags and other stuff too. We already had a wonderful dinner earlier, so we were here just so soak in the atmosphere of another Taiwanese night market. Indeed this night market was lively though the streets were wet after the afternoon shower. Visitors were everywhere shopping and eating.

Enjoy the night in Evergreen Laurel Hotel

When we were done with this visit, we took a slow walk along the harbourfront back to Evergreen Laurel Hotel. The night was cooling and the streets were quiet as we approached our hotel. Soon we were back in Evergreen Laurel Hotel. The friendly staff asked about our dinner and we had some small chats with one of them before returning to our room.

Back in our room, the harbour view was nice. Further away up hill was the billboard Keelung City lit up in blue. So it was time to unwind. Watching TV and chatting up with the children again kept us busy through the night. We did some packing as well because we would be returning to Taipei and then head on to Taoyuan Airport to take our night flight home the next day.

Reflection for Keelung Tour

So we had a fun packed day coming from Taipei. Jiufen was nice and exotic. Having lunch at a restaurant with a view from there was great. The last time we came with a tour group was quite rush and we didn’t have sufficient time to enjoy Jiufen Old Street.

Heping Island Park was interesting and unique as well. It is back to nature up close and heading there from Keelung City was very easy. We had a great time there admiring the rock formations and watched happy people enjoying themselves at the seaside. We didn’t have the chance to visit the castle over there though as it started to rain.

Our dinner at Tasty Restaurant was really tasty. This was one of the highlights during our short Northern Taiwan Tour. The service was really good and the food was simply mouth-watering good.

Miaokou Night Market deserved its reputation as a seafood paradise this part of Taiwan. Although this is not the biggest night market in Taiwan, this is one of the best especially for seafood. The people here are friendly too.

Evergreen Laurel Hotel was a great choice. We were glad we stayed here for the night. The service was very good. We would look forward to the breakfast in the hotel the next day. So we concluded with much satisfaction having accomplished all that we set out to do here without a hitch. That was really great.

Continue to Day 5

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