Tamsui used to be one of the biggest ports in northern Taiwan in the 19th century and so it's no wonder, that the town grew along the shores of the sea. The center of the town can still be found there. For one, there is the waterfront promenade, which is a pedestrian friendly street full of shops and hawkers. Parallel to it is the famous Gongming street 公明街 also know as the Tamsui's Old Street 淡水老街, that attracts huge numbers of tourists today. Most of them come from Taipei city and hope to try some of the tasty local snacks or just go for a nice stroll. Together with the longer Zhongzheng Road 中正路 they are the main part of the central Tamsui.
So what can you see in Tamsui's old center? Besides shops, shops and shops... well, there are temples, a chapel and many hawkers. They're probably the ones that attract the most tourists. Food is amazing there. The most common dish is ah gei (阿給), which is basically fried tofu stuffed with glass noodles and served in a spicy sauce. Another common snack are iron eggs (鐵蛋), which are fermented and have a distinct black color.
Let us see those famous three streets of the central Tamsui:
1 Gongming street or Old street
2 Zhongzheng road
George L. Mackay, Canadian dentist and missionary, is one of the most famous Westerners ever lived in Taiwan. He established a church, dentistry, schools and a hospital, spoke Taiwanese fluently and married a local woman.
3 Waterfront promenade
The central area of Danshui with the famous Old street is just 5min away from the Tamsui MRT station, which is great. You don't need to think about transportation, you just walk a little and you're inside the touristy hustle and bustle. But that's ok. It's fun to watch the people, the atmosphere is very relaxing. Tamsui is different than other Taiwanese towns. Enjoy the ambiance.
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