The northeast of Taiwan, still technically New Taipei City, is a mountainous region with a stunning coastline where mountains end in the sea. This area is famous for its seafood and popular tourist destinations.

Keelung is this region's major city home to one of the country's largest harbors. It is also home to the largest and most famous night market in northern Taiwan. Yes, that includes all of the night markets in Taipei.

Jiufen is another popular destination. A former gold mining town, it is high up the mountains looking over Keelung Harbor. It is the inspiration for the movie Spirited Away, with its Japanese architecture, palace, and tea shops.

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The Pingxi line is also another popular tourist destination and will definitely take an entire day to complete.

Keelung, the Port City of the Northeast

Keelung could be compared to Seattle in the States. It is a rainy port city with a little bit of everything, great food, and cultural appeal.

Miaokou Night Market

It’s hard to talk about night markets in Taiwan and leave out Miaokou Night Market. It’s not in Taipei, but it’s not out of reach either. A thirty-minute ride on the local train will take you there and it is the number one foodie night market in Taiwan. Being right next to the harbor, the seafood is fresh and delicious. You don’t even need to like seafood. You can find pork buns, noodles, soups, stinky tofu, assorted meats on sticks, and every other delicious Taiwanese street night market treat here. Below are some delicious treats to look forward to.

  • Crab Thick Soup with Sticky Rice
  • Braised Pork Rice
  • Tempura
  • Shrimp Chowder
  • Pork Shank
  • Butter Crab
  • Crab Feet
  • Scallion Shrimp

Heping Island

Just across the bridge from Keelung is Heping Island. Years of wind erosion have carved the rocks here into dramatic shapes great for photographing. It is also an excellent location for diving and on the southwest of the island is the castle San Salvador. It was built during the Spanish occupation as Spain was preparing to do trade with Japan and China.

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Jiufen, a Remnant of Japanese Occupation

Jiufen’s beauty and haunting appeal originates in dark and recent history but has reshaped itself into a cultural center visited by people from all over the world.

Shops and Tea Houses

In the center of Jiufen, Japanese buildings are built into the slopes of the mountains with winding paths and steep staircases dividing them. There are a variety of street vendors and tea shops to choose from. It's hard to go wrong with such breathtaking views and delicious treats.

  • Jiufen Teahouse - No. 142, Jishan St, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, 22448
  • Siidcha - tea house, No. 166, Jishan St, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, 224
  • Pork Buns and Iced Mango Dessert - No. 1-1, Shuqi Rd, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, 224
  • 阿牧包子 - pork buns and beef noodle, No. 5, Shuqi Rd, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, 224
  • Jiufen Old Street - the local vendor street, Jishan St, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, 224

The Emperors Palace, Gold Museum

Within walking distance of the center of town are the Emperor’s palace and museum to Jiufen’s history as a gold mining village. The Emperor's palace was built for the Japanese Emperor though he never made use of it. The Gold Mine Museum shares its dark history and serves as a memorial to the native Taiwanese and Ally POWs that were forced to work in the mines for the Japanese.

Teapot Mountain Trail

The most popular hike in the area, Teapot Mountain Trail, is only moderately challenging and offers a stunning view of the surrounding area. The peak is clear of trees offering an unobstructed view of the stunning landscape.

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The Pingxi Line

An old coal line that in 1992 was recommissioned as a tourist route that takes you along the Keelung River Valley deep into the mountains of northeastern Taiwan.

Badouzi Station

This is the northernmost stop of the Pingxi Line and right by the sea. Perhaps not the most convenient place to start a journey down the Pingxi line, but it still offers great views of the rocky coast and the most straightforward starting point for enjoying the Pingxi Line.

Haikeguan Station

This stop is home to Bishueixiang (National Museum of Marine Science & Technology). This museum is quite large and sprawling with exhibits and shows (some paid for, some not) available to those that visit.

Ruifang

Ruifang is often the starting point for most people's journey down the Pingxi line. It is convenient to reach from Taipei and is often where tourists will start. Ruifang is also the station you would stop at to catch a bus up the mountain to Jiufen.

Houtong

One of the most popular stops along the Pingxi Line, Houtong is also known as the cat village. The main attraction here is all the semi-wild cats that wander in and out of the shops and train station here.

Sandiaoling

Sandiaoling is popular for its waterfall hiking trail. It is the only station to not connect to a public road so as you can imagine it is in the middle of nowhere. This stop is mostly for the more determined adventurer and is sometimes skipped by the more casual traveler.

Shifen

Right in the middle of the Keelung River Valley, Shifen also offers access to the beautiful streams and waterfalls of the area. The homes here are built close to the tracks and this location is also often used by photographers looking to promote the area.

Lingjiao

Lingjiao Waterfall and Dripping Guanyin Rock are the main attractions at this stop. The sleepy village cut into the sides of the mountain and the lush green surroundings also make this area quite peaceful and prime for photography.

Jingtong

The final stop at the end of the Pingxi Line, the popular thing for tourists and local travelers to do in this location is to launch paper lanterns into the sky as the sun begins to set. If you time it right, you can take part or at the very least observe what has become a traditional activity in this region.

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