January 4, 2018

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.

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) and there are many helpful and friendly locals to keep you on the right path.

Have a look at the map, the best pattern to follow is
  • Keelung station -"Taipei Main Station" as the furthest point West, by train or buses. The KuoKuang (Kingbus) bus station is at the East 1 door of the Taipei Main train station.
  • Visit within the city 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 the
  • "Taipei City Hall Bus Transfer Station" (a 10-minute walk from Taipei 101 and on top of the metro station Taipei City Hall) for your return to Keelung by intercity bus.
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). High capacity (8-12 carriages) and seats always available (Keelung is the head station) when cruise passengers are heading to town almost at the same time. You can board at the South terminal or smaller North terminal, see my photos. 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.

The buses are recommended for the return. 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 a few gates next to each other so you can take the first available bus back. All routes are almost nonstop to Keelung and as fast as a car. Pay by depositing the correct fare into the cash box (no change is given), or swipe an EasyCard 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 meters, seats for 4 or 5 passengers. Pay in cash, or some cases by credit card or EasyCard.

Study the map for the destinations you prefer. Leave town about 90 minutes before your intended return on board and you'll have time to spare for a stroll in the Keelung night market - which is always open at Ren 3rd road for delicious local food. 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 and questions are always welcome!

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