Keelung, or Jilong depending who you ask, is a harbour city in north east Taiwan. It offers a lot of things that you would typically find near the ocean such as fresh seafood, deluxe accommodation and even a port used by Star Cruises.
With a population of around 350,000 people, there is plenty to keep you occupied for an afternoon and evening. Take a day trip out to Keelung!
How To Get From Taipei To Keelung
If you are like us, and didn't come to Keelung by cruise line, you may have taken Taiwan's Public Train System, the TRA. You can use your Taipei Easy Card to pay your fare to Keelung. Just swipe your card at the turnstyles to the TRA area of Taipei main station the same way you do for the MRT and you're on your way. It costs around NT$45 for a 45 minute ride.
Not all northern trains come to Keelung so make sure you do hop on the right one. Just check for the word "Keelung" on the front of the train as it pulls up at Taipei Main Station. Some but not all of the TVs scattered around will alternate displaying the schedule in English and Chinese.
The ride to Keelung is pleasant. Bring a book or a smart phone to play a game or two as you do spend a lot of time in tunnels underground. Fortunately its not terribly long and in 45 minutes you will arrive at Keelung City Train Station.
Although we visited Keelung as a day trip from Taipei there are certainly hotels in keelung available if you want to stay overnight.
What To Do In Keelung
As you walk out of the Keelung Train Station, just to the right as you pass all the taxis, you will find the Keelung Tourist Information Centre. Grab yourself a map and away you go. The various Keelung attractions are clustered around the harbor.
Keelung City has a lot of similarities to other cities in Taiwan. Being close to the ocean however gives it a seaside feeling. There isn't necessarily a whole lot to do so take your time, explore the habour, look in some of the many shops, eat some icecream and enjoy the change of pace.
If you are up for a climb, we followed and climbed stairs all the way up to the statue of Guanyin in Zhingzheng National Park. We were trying to reach the Ershawen Fort in Yizheng park but gave up after this hill climb. The view up at the temple where Guanyin overlooks the Keelung Harbour is stunning. It's quite a climb so be prepared to get a bit sweaty.
We headed back down to Keelung City pleased that we had stair climbed yet another mountain in Taiwan to enjoy some local delicacies. Before you head into the Night Market Area of Keelung, make sure you look up. There is a replica statue of the United States of America's Statue of Liberty! No idea why it is there. Perhaps someone reading this knows and can tell us.
The Keelung Night Market would have to be one of the nicest night markets we have been to in a very long time. The stalls of food were very cheap and clean. The shopping was cheap. People seemed happy to be there, both as workers and as patrons.
Seafood in particular is everywhere you look. A lot of the food stalls in the night market have English, Japanese and Chinese signs. Presumably as Star Cruises docks here the City of Keelung have tried to make things easier for English speaking tourists.
While its not the most exciting place ever Keelung is a lovely place to spend an afternoon and evening before heading back to the big city of Taipei.