Tamsui is a small city just north of Taipei on the MRT Danshui Line. It is important to know that Tamsui is also known as Danshui, Danshuei and Tamshui. The name is always the same in Mandarin but the spelling in English varies.
Heading to Tamshui on the MRT will take you roughly 40 minutes from Taipei Main Station with a cost of around NT$40 one way or USD$1.30. The ride is very pleasant with views that change once you pass Zhonghi.
Once you arrive at the last stop on the MRT, leave the station and experience a different side of Taipei. Tamsui is a popular day trip destination for Taipei residents and feels like a holiday destination despite its proximity to Taipei.
Tamsui is situated on an inlet of the Danshui River and has beautiful walk ways along the river's edge. On the weekend, the pedestrian shopping and restaurant area gets quite full with locals enjoying cheap eats, cheap shopping and side walk entertainment.
Beyond the riverfront walkway and Tamsui Old Street, there are a few other tourist sites to check out. Fort San Domingo, also known as the Hongmao Castle, was built in 1640 by the Dutch. Over time, the property has also acted as the British Consulate. It is a lovely complex with a nice garden to sit and watch buskers perform. Tamsui has a number of beautiful temples that are within walking distance of one another. Pick up a "Hello Tamsui! Map + Guide" from the train station or at Fort San Domingo.
If your phone is running out of battery life, the people of Tamsui have your back. In the visitors information centre at Fort San Domingo there is a phone charging stand with cables that will take pretty much any brand of mobile phone. How cool is that! Next door at the souvenir shop we saw the best range of Taiwan souvenirs we have seen so far. It is best to visit Tamsui on a Friday afternoon if you are looking for a quieter half-day weekend getaway or on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon if you are looking for the true Taiwan tourism hub of activity.