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!

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