April 3, 2010

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Tamsui Old Street

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

This one is very crowded, even at the entrance.

The old street.

Various snacks such as grilled squid.

Lots of souvenirs are sold here, too.

2 Zhongzheng road

The Old street ends at the Zhongzheng road, which is similar, just with more traffic.

Here you can also see the Tamsui Longshan temple 淡水龍山寺.

The temple inside is magnificent.

Me in front of the main altar.

The Zhongzheng road further up. Scooters are also here everywhere. Read more...

The Dutch-looking Teng Feng Fish ball Museum 登峯魚丸博物館.

Another lovely temple nearby: The Fuyou temple (福佑宫), built in 1796, is very old.

The Fuyou temple inside looks very interesting.

The Zhongzheng road again.

Another food stall. I like how the lady smiles, it looks like she's serving with love.

A town square with a statue of a Canadian Dr. Mackay.

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.

A new pavement on this part of the Zhongzheng road.

View from another angle.

>Tamsui Presbyterian church, also called Tamsui Mackay Memorial Chapel [more here].

3 Waterfront promenade

This part is also full of shops and very crowded.

This area is famous for very tall ice cream. Check Amber's photo (via @ambellic.com).

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.

My TAMSUI Tour - NEXT: Fort San Domingo>>


  1. Fantastic Blog ...thanks ... I will have to go visit that temple now (found your blog through an image search for Guan Jiang Shou (官將首)and there was a photo of you looking cool with an amazing icecream) ....

  2. @Fabian: Glad you like it. Keep following :)

  3. I just got a new teaching job in Danshui and planning to move there soon, can't wait to settle in more, it's one of my favorite towns. Hopefully it will be great for my art career too :)

  4. Do the stalls and shops close on Mondays?


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