Keelung, Taiwan

Keelung is the port city of Taiwan, just 20 minutes from capital Taipei. Its long, deep harbor provides ample berth for the impressive number of cruise and container ships that keep it thriving.

You’ll find most of Keelung’s highlights in the central areas of the city, or within three miles of the downtown area. A walking tour really helps you develop affection for this beguiling port.

Probably most famous of all is the Miaokou Market. Rambling through the bustling streets of downtown Keelung the market assaults all your senses. You can touch, smell, see and hear a mesmerizing hubbub of entertainment and activity as well as taste some of the most magnificent street food you will ever experience.

Located right at the heart of Keelung is the Dianji Temple, enshrining a divine ancestor, The Sage King of Changchou. It is a holy place and much of the locality’s success is attributed to its divine presence. Typically Chinese in its design, it has some fabulously intricate carvings and statues depicting mythical sea creatures. These reflect the origins of the first ancestors who relied heavily on the sea for their livelihood.

On the mountain just east of Keelung Harbor is Zhongzheng Park. It is home to the giant statue of the Goddess of Mercy who towers over the bay as a landmark for incoming ships. The ever-smiling Maitreya Buddha sits alongside to welcome visitors cruising to Keelung. The park is also the site of the Ghost Festival held in mid-summer. As well as folklore and history, artistic and cultural aspects have been integrated with the traditional ceremonies over the last few years. It start in July and lasts until August with different festivals occurring throughout the period.

On the other side, west of Keelung, Lovers Lake is situated on Dawulun Mountain where several mountain creeks converge. It is a beautiful place to wander, through dense forests to picnic areas. Best of all it provides a welcome haven of tranquility after the hustle and bustle of the city.

Taipei is not far from the port and is a thriving, cosmopolitan and multi-faceted hub of business and tourism. The National Palace Museum is not to be missed, and is home to the Imperial Palace from the forbidden city of Beijing. The largest collection of Chinese imperial artefacts and artworks is on display including ceramics, bronzes, jade sculptures and calligraphy. You may wonder why these splendors are in Taiwan rather than mainland China. They were moved to this place of safety during the Chinese civil war in 1948 and have remained there ever since.

Taipei 101 is the tallest building in Taiwan (and the fifth highest in the world) with an observatory on the 89th floor offering the most stunning panoramic views of Taipei City. It is a business and financial center as well as a mind-boggling shopping center with all the world’s biggest brands in one stunning arcade.

A taste of Taipei

There is a strong culture of food in this region, most famous for its street snacks both sweet and savory. Much like tapas in Spain, these small tasty morsels are a reflection of the origins of the people. Seafood in dumplings and fried sandwiches or minced meat in delicious broths will make your mouth water and your memories sweet.