I kept telling everyone we need to go to Tamsui! They would then ask why and I would say, well I’m not actually sure. It was my last day in Taiwan and it was supposed to be hot and sunny. What better thing to do than go to the beach? This is where we came up with Tamsui. Apparently, there are a couple of beaches there so off we went.
We hopped onto the red line of the MRT in Taipei and were off to the end of the line with a vague idea of where we were trying to go. After our arrival in, I would like to note, sunny Tamsui, it was time to find the bus that would take us the rest of the way. There was a lot of back and forth across the street before deciding which one sounded right. We hopped on and froze for about fifteen minutes before realizing our stop was coming up.
We pushed the button for the bus to stop and it kept going. Alright. So that’s how things work here. You get off when the bus wants you to get off. That turned out to be the end of that line by the wharf. I think this is a good time to point out that it was now foggy and cold, exactly the opposite of beach weather. Missing our bus stop ended up working out because the weather got so terrible so quickly. We just decided to wander around the wharf instead.
There were all kinds of little shops with ice cream and souvenirs. Kids driving tiny Audis around. And a few people in those weird cat costumes. It was a nice place to spend one last afternoon wandering around. Plus, it’s just far enough from the main area of Taipei that it feels really different.
How to get to Tamsui
Just hop on the MRT red line and take it to the end. That will get you into Tamsui, then you can take buses around Tamsui.
What to do in Tamsui
Tamsui isn’t packed full of things to do, but it will keep you busy for a day. These are some of the best things to do in Tamsui.
Wander the wharf and see Lovers Bridge
The wharf and the old street are probably the two most popular things to see in Tamsui. Just hang out at the wharf by the shore. Pop into the shops, have some ice cream or a coffee. The Lovers Bridge connects the wharf to the mainland and has a big sign that says Lovers on the mainland side that is popular for selfies. At night the bridge is lit up with lights of all colors.
Baishawan is a beach just outside of Tamsui. I’m pretty sure this is the one we were trying to get to. The beach is free but has tents you can rent and showers available. Spend a couple hours relaxing in the (hopefully) warm sun, a nice break from the bustling city life of Taipei.
To get there from the MRT station, cross the street and got to the bus stop. Get on one of these buses: 622 or 623, or long distance 1261, 1262, or 1263 and get off at the Baishawan stop.
This is a lesser-known thing to do in Tamsui and would be great for history buffs. Fort San Domingo was built by the Spanish in 1628 and occupied by various countries over the years. The fort is now a class one historical monument.
To get to Fort San Domingo, take the MRT red line to Tamsui then switch to bus 836 to go the rest of the way to the fort. The entrance is NT$60.
Similar to other old streets (Like Jiufen Old Street), you can check out local shops to see artists goods, try all kinds of different foods, fish balls anyone? And just enjoy the atmosphere. It’s not too far from the MRT station making it easy to get to. You can even rent a bike here to explore some mangrove forests on the riverside trail.
On the way to Tamsui, you’ll pass the Beitou hot springs. This is the perfect addition to a Tamsui day trip. There are public and private baths so there is something for every budget. If you want to go to a private bath, you may want to book a room ahead of time.
To get to the Beitou hot springs, take to MRT red line to the Beitou stop. Hop on a train to Xinbeitou from there. When you leave the station, walk straight on either side of the park to find the hot springs. The springs and Tamsui combined make a great day trip.
A-Gei, foochow fishballs, fishcake fritters, iron eggs, tower ice cream, shrimp rolls, and fried octopus (actually really good) are all great things to try in Tamsui. These can be found easily on the Tamsui Old Street.
Where to stay in Tamsui
If you really want to stay in Tamsui, you can find quite a few hotels. There aren’t any hostels in Tamsui that I’m aware of. I would recommend just staying in the main area of Taipei and going to Tamsui for a day. It’s easy enough to get to and doesn’t take too long.
Have you been to Tamsui? What did you do there? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to go?