April 10, 2023

Taipei on your own

Keelung's port has a very unique location: where else can your ship get right into the small city center?

Here is some help with the next step: disembark and Go to Taipei on your own, or in German auf eigene faust.

How to get to Taipei this way and save on a 6-8 hour trip?

  • The city is just 40-50 minutes away by train and bus.
  • Almost all signs are in Chinese characters and English. 
  • Announcements are multilingual (Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka, English)
  • There are many helpful and friendly locals to keep you on the right path.

Have a look at the Google map, the best pattern and route to follow is 'train out, bus back'
  • Take the train or bus at Keelung Station to "Taipei Main Station" which is the furthest point West and in the oldest part of the city. The KuoKuang (Kingbus) bus station is at the East 1 door of the Taipei Main train station.
  • Visit Taipei by metro and city bus, or Hop-On Hop-Off (HoHo) sightseeing bus - working your way toward the modern Xinyi district in the East of the city and 
  • Take the bus at "Taipei City Hall Bus Transfer Station" which is a 10-minute walk from Taipei 101. It is located on top of the Taipei City Hall metro station for your return to Keelung by intercity buses.
You'll find the Southbound trains to Taipei most convenient as all trains stop there going West  - and then South after Taipei, hence the direction's name. (choose Keelung from the drop-down menu). Long trains (8-12 carriages) have some 800 places always available, with priority seating for seniors over 65. 
Keelung is the head station on the line, so the train starts empty when cruise passengers are heading to town almost all at the same time. You can board at the South terminal or the smaller North terminal, see my photos and post.
The trains stop at a number of stations along the Keelung river, before going underground at Xike. The ride takes around 45 minutes. Pay NT41 (or NT64 for express trains with reserved seating) in local currency or even by credit card. You can buy and use an Easycard for all your transport if you have planned ahead.

The buses are recommended for the return to Keelung. Their departures in the afternoon are frequent, spread out over time, and not that busy. At the bus transfer station, you have them all at gates 9 and 8 next to each other so you can take the first available bus back. All routes are almost nonstop to Keelung on the freeway and as fast as a car. No tickets are sold. Pay by depositing the correct fare into the cash box next to the driver (no change is given), or swipe an EasyCard when getting on and off.

You can flag down a taxi when you're not near a bus route or station, or ask any 7-Eleven store to order one for you. It is more convenient but the usual fare from Taipei Main station area is between NT 900-1000, all by GPS-operated meters, with seats for 4 to 5 passengers. You can pay in cash, or in some cases by credit card or EasyCard.

What can I see in town?

Look at the latest Taipei metro map here. Starting from Taipei main station use an EasyCard or cash to buy tokens at the counter or machines for each journey by metro. Follow the Blue, Green, and Red line to
  • Lungshan temple (Station Blue 12 to Blue 10, then Exit 1) and the restored Bopiliao street
  • Ximen (change at Blue 11 to Green 12), Exit 3 & 4 for a quick look inside the Red House if you like, 
  • Chiang Kai-shek memorial for the 15-minute Changing of the Guard starting on the hour (Exit 5, Change at Green 12 to Red 10). Have a bubble tea at the National Concert hall. Note: nearby you can opt to take a city bus along Xinyi Road for its straight view toward
  • Taipei 101 (Red 10 to Red 3, then Exit 4). Check the weather for a view on the 88th floor, but do mind the waiting times going up and down in 37 seconds.
  • Walk back in 10+ minutes along Songzhi road to Taipei City Hall station (Blue 18 on the map) for the bus back to Keelung at Gate 9 or 8 with exact change or an EasyCard.
Study my map for the destinations you prefer. The metro is quick and very frequent,
I would recommend you budget one hour per stop with traveling time and leave town about 90 minutes before your intended return on board. On a typical 8-hour tour it allows you at least four stops, similar to cruise tours. Of course you can also order a taxi back from any point, at around NT 1000 always by the meter with receipt. Masks are still required in public transport.

This way you'll have time to spare for a half-hour stroll in the Keelung night market, Keelung Express bus 2088 stops at 'Taipower', the first one in town, close to where the market extends to after sunset,
The main section at Ren 3rd road is always open for delicious local food around the colorful Dianji temple, A ten-minute walk to/from the ship.

You can find the full map and explanations here and turn off the layers you don't need. 
Feedback, likes and questions are always welcome!

April 9, 2023

Keelung Train and Bus station

The two new terminals of the Taiwan Railway Administration are called South and North (nearest to the West berths 2-4). The lengthy trains are positioned on an underground track between both.  

There is still work going on in the new transit bus station complex behind the basic Kuo-Kuang bus station with its wave roof. In the future, most buses in the city and intercity buses should be located between both train terminals. 

At the moment (April 2023) Google Maps can not draw the shortest pedestrian crossing route.
You will see this after finishing your walk along the waterfront. Just be careful and watch out for scooters while crossing the road. 

See the photo album of the larger and most used South terminal here
Head for this one if your ship is at the East wharves. 

West 2-3-4 and beyond are very close to the small but easier North terminal, pictures are here
There is a sloping ramp down to the track level. Its modest elevator is easier to spot. 
In case of taking an NT 85-90 taxi ride to the train station, this terminal is easier to navigate and to be dropped off at, 
I always use this quieter one to get onto the same train in the last of 8-12 carriages.

This is a map displayed in both stations. Things have changed, and will keep doing so:

1. KuoKuang station moved to the right of the roundabout, see the photo. 
All their intercity buses leave from here. Other lines mentioned in my blog have stops along Gangxi street.

2. Keelung Station Visitor Information Center - such an official long description... moved to the right of the KuoKuang bus station on Gangxi street. It is in an old yellow brick building across from the OCAM museum.

This is where bus T99 tickets are sold and the tourist bus starts. Pick up maps of Keelung here.

Note that tourism info is often divided between a desk for Keelung and one for Taipei upon the arrival of your ship. The fact that the national Tourism Bureau does not ever cover both functions AND cruise lines are still confusing Keelung and Taipei can make you wonder....

As the white Hollywood-like sign on Huzi mountain says: You arrived in Keelung, a port for Taipei - a 50 minutes train ride or drive away from here.

April 8, 2023

Finding your way around the Keelung port

View Keelung Cruise Terminals in a larger map

I made this map to show you the basics around the port. Answers to questions everyone asks: the walking route to the train and bus station, the market ? You can now print out the directions for easy reference before you go, or ask me by email. Almost everything in Keelung is within a 3 to 4 block area, and not too far from the ship. 

You can reach Taipei by bus and train. There are bus routes to Taipei 101 and the National Palace Museum, all on Google maps.

You'll find separate icons for the nearby popular tourist spots: Zhongzheng Park and its Guanyin statue, the Miaokou Night Market Food Street (open almost 24 hours) and my recommended places to go shopping. Regular shops open at 11 am, close at 10 pm or later. The night market stalls are set up from 5 pm, in front of the regular shops in the streets.

Questions or anything you'd like to share with others ? Let me know.

View the Keelung Cruise Terminal in a larger Google map, check out the Kaohsiung Cruise Terminal page too.

April 6, 2023

Free WiFi at Keelung Cruise Terminals

When you arrive, you can enjoy the free Wifi coverage in the port on the East and West wharf areas, often the signal may reach your ship. It's simple, all you need is your email address to log in, no password. The Keelung Harbor Bureau is the easiest spot for your wireless reception.

Log in instructions

Having difficulty ?
There are also PC's at the second floor of the Keelung Cultural Center library for free use by passengers and crew. The white building is opposite the East Terminal. Please be considerate of those waiting their turn. 

Need to print a page ?
Then go across the road: second floor of the Keelung Cultural Center (open daily 0900-2000, Sunday till 1700) - then upstairs to the Keelung Library where PC's are connected to a laser printer, and for a few NT dollars you can have your hard copies.

And it is all in English - in other places in Taiwan you may need some help to log in using or getting through the Chinese menus. 


There are free "Keelung city WiFi hotspots" in public buildings (look for the green logo), such as the City Hall. Internet cafes are rare now, in their place you'll find high-speed PC Game halls. Many restaurants offer free wifi. Around the port try the nearby two Starbucks or some 7-11 stores.
Also, the intercity buses and trains often have wifi.

Keelung has a basic free wifi network called .1.Keelung.free but it is slow and only good for checking messages.

By far the best solution for tourists is the " ITaiwan " system with an I(heart)Taiwan logo for which you can sign up in advance. See this link for Keelung locations and instructions provided by the Ministry of Digital Affairs.

You'll need to show your passport to register at the Keelung Tourist Service Center at Gangxi street or at a Travel Service Center in some Taipei MRT metro stations, or at airports if you don't have a local mobile phone number. 

To buy a voice and data card for the day, it's best to go to the Chunghwa Telecom service counter in the building next to the Post Office. You'll need two pieces of ID.

March 1, 2023

May 22, 2019

Yehliu Geopark with Christine

Yehliu Geopark is on most travelers' list. The hoodoo rocks at Yehliu are bigger than other places along the Northeast coast, such as the Hoping island park in Keelung.
You can still walk around and almost touch the various rocks at Yehliu and take your picture with the Queen's Head.

March 16, 2018

Hong Kong your next port of call ?

Hong Kong (one day at sea away from Keelung) and Okinawa (some ships make the crossing overnight) are often the ports that you have either been to or are going to next.

My friends often ask me for advice on 'what to do' on their own for a few days in Hong Kong in conjunction with the cruise. Well, around the time of the establishment of the HK Special Administrative Region, we lived in Happy Valley, on a 32nd floor with a view of the racecourse of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. We still visit and have good friends in Hong Kong, and over the years we kept notes of where to go.

So here is a map to help you on the way, showing you popular places on Hong Kong island, Kowloon, the New Territories and even a quick hydrofoil trip to Macau's casinos. Even though your ship may be docked at Ocean terminal, do take the "Star" Ferry across to Hong Kong island from Kowloon to Central or Wanchai, or take one of the one hour harbor cruises. From the ferry at Central pier 5 take bus 15C to the Peak Tram terminus.

You can use the MTR metro, bus, harbor ferry and double-decker tram. Buy an Octopus card at the station or convenience store. There is a special tourist souvenir edition at HK$ 39 to keep, or a regular one with HK$ 50 deposit. You add value and can get a full refund at the last station. It is a smart card (just swipe it), so you can pay with it for many other things too.

Let me know if you're missing or have discovered anything?