Tip: Keelung is nicknamed 'the Rainy City' in Taiwan due to it being one of places with the highest rainfall on the island. Even if you're not visiting during the typhoon and plum rain seasons in Taiwan, there's a chance it might rain in Keelung. Luckily there's plenty to do in Keelung for when it's raining as well, head to the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology and YM Oceanic Culture and Art Museum, or check out the Xiandongyan Cave Temple (仙洞巖) which is mostly under cover. Or grab a window seat at Homee Cafe (好饗咖啡) and watch ships come and go from Keelung Harbor.
The Top 8 Things to Do in Keelung, Taiwan
Keelung is Taiwan's second largest port city and a short journey from Taipei by train located along the north coast of the island. Despite the city being easy to reach from the capital of Taiwan, Keelung is not often visited by most tourists traveling to the island. However Keelung offers plenty of amazing things to do, with one of the best street food night markets in Taiwan, scenic coastal paths and beaches and colorful picturesque harbor towns.
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Keelung Miaokou Night Market
Often the reason most people make the journey to Keelung, Miaokou Night Market is one of the best night markets in Taiwan for food lovers. While most night markets usually have a range of shopping stalls, arcades along with street food, Keelung's Miaokou Night Market is focused completely on food and lots of it. If you love Taiwanese street food, Miaokou is a must visit. Some of the most famous vendors here include the Crab Thick Soup with Sticky Oil Rice and classic street food such as Oyster Omelets.
Miaokou offers a delicious addition of fresh seafood dishes due to its proximity to one of Taiwan's largest ports in Keelung. You'll find street food stalls offering sushi and fresh sashimi, normally the freshness can be quite suspect at more inland night markets, you can be sure it's served fresh at Miaokou.
Even if you can't spare a whole day to see some of Keelung's popular attractions, it's well worth sparing an evening to take a food tour of Miaokou Night Market.
This hidden cove is one of the most beautiful beaches in the North of Taiwan, but still relatively unknown outside of locals around Keelung. The sand here is soft and white with picturesque clear water that's perfect for swimming around and even snorkeling. While it can get a little busy during warmer months at the weekend (mostly locals and some from Taipei) visiting during the week can often mean you'll have much of the beach to yourself.
If it's too crowded, consider heading further up the coast to Wanli Beach, it's much more popular but the beach area is much larger so it's easy to find space for yourself.
See here for some of the other most beautiful beaches in Taiwan
Keelung Maritime Plaza
The waterside area just in front of Keelung Station, Keelung Maritime Plaza is often seen as the main city center of Keelung. From the plaza you can see views across the harbor, particularly stunning at night when the harbor is all lit up.
Just off the coast outside Keelung Port, Heping Island is easy reachable by a bridge from the mainland. The island is covered with beautiful coastal scenery such as the uniquely-shaped eroded rocks similar to the popular Yehliu Geopark further up the coast. From viewpoints on the island you'll also get picturesque scenic views of Taiwan's northern coast.
What was once Taiwan's largest harbor area during Japanese rule, Zhengbin Harbor is now a laid-back fishing village known for its vibrant and colorful waterfront view. It's a popular spot for Instagram photographers due to the colorful photogenic reflection in the water.
The harbor is just next to Heping Island (viewable from Heping Bridge) making it easy to see both places at the same trip while visiting Keelung.
Due to Keelung's strategic location at the tip of North Taiwan, there are a number of old coastal forts and defensive outposts around Keelung built throughout Taiwan's colonial history. Baimiweng Fort is one of the most impressive, first built by the Dutch in the 17th century, it was rebuilt during the Japanese colonial period to the current fort. The position of the fort at the top of a hill close to Keelung means there are various points where you can get stunning views over the coastline and across to Keelung Islet.
There's also an interesting old fort near Dawulun Beach, Dawulun Fort is worth checking out if you're heading to the beach area. If you're interested in abandoned places and buildings there are plenty of abandoned forts and old nature-reclaimed buildings in and around Keelung City.
Khoo Tsu-song Old Mansion
An old, historical part of the city Khoo Tsu-song Old Mansion has been largely reclaimed by nature, with huge banyan roots and greenery tangled around its walls. The mansion was built in 1931 for Khóo Tsú-song a prominent Taiwanese figure during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan.
Chung Cheng Park
Rising up above the city of Keelung on the side of Dashawan Mountain, Zhuputan Temple and Chung Cheng Park is often seen as a symbol of the city. This huge temple complex can be seen from much of Keelung due to its high hillside location, and provides a great vantage point to get a view of Keelung and its port area. The Zhupu Altar or Zhuputan Temple building has a small exhibition on the Taiwanese Ghost Festival inside the building.
How to Get to Keelung from Taipei
It's easy to reach Keelung from Taipei, trains leave frequently from Taipei Main Station to Keelung Station and take about 40 to 50 minutes (NT$ 41). There are also frequent Kuo-Kuang Buses from the bus center just outside Taipei Main Station to Keelung, usually taking a little longer than the train. The fastest way to get there is to drive or take a taxi (about 30 minutes) but will cost much more at about NT$ 600 to 700.
You can also take the train from Taipei to Keelung from other major stations in Taipei such as Banqiao, Songshan and Nangang.
Visiting Jiufen from Keelung
The popular tourist town of Jiufen perched along the mountainside on Taiwan's north coast is an easy journey from Keelung. Buses from Keelung to Jiufen are frequent and the last bus back to the port city is later than the one back to Taipei. It also only takes about 30 minutes for the journey instead of around an hour from Taipei.
Other Tourist Spots near Keelung
Yehliu Geopark is one of the most popular tourist attractions around Taipei and is a short trip from Keelung. The bus (No. 790) leaves from Keelung Train Station and arrives there in about 40 minutes. It's also a short ten minute drive from Wanli Beach.