November 29: A Day Trip to Tamsui 淡水

Hello all! I’ve been on school vacation the last week! We finished off fall term last Wednesday and we start winter term on December 1st. With so much free time, I took a day trip to Tamsui yesterday.

Tamsui is right where the Tamsui river meets the Taiwan Straight in the North of Taiwan. To get to Tamsui from my apartment, you need to take the metro for 45 minutes to an hour. Tamsui is one of the places outside of Taipei you can take the metro the whole way – you don’t need to take a real train. This makes it really convenient and inexpensive to get to. Because it’s a bit far, it was nice to wait so I could have a whole day to go.

I’ve been wanting to visit Tamsui for quite a while! I had heard it was a fun place to visit, but I also wanted to go somewhere I could see the water. Because I went on a Monday, a lot of restaurants and shops were closed, which wasn’t really a problem because it also meant that there were hardly any people. I also happened to be there on a 90degree day, and it was nice not to be pushing through people the whole time.

Some highlights of the day were going to Fort Santo Domingo, a fort built by the Dutch and Spanish in the 16th century when they first came to Taiwan. We learned about this fort in my Chinese class last semester, so it was cool to go there in person and see it! Fort Santo Domingo is called 紅毛城 (Hóng máo chéng) in Chinese. Hong means red, not for the color of the fort, but because the indigenuous Taiwanese population thought that all foreigners have a red tint to their hair.

Fort Santo Domingo

Later, I biked towards the fisherman’s wharf. It’s a couple km away from the fort and the metro station, but they have beautiful paths meant for biking and lots of UBike stations. (UBike is the public bikeshare here, you just tap your ID card and grab one from a bike station. They’re convenient and very cheap.) The bike ride was so peaceful, especially since there weren’t many people on the paths.

At the wharf, there is a huge walking bridge and then lots of little shops and restaurants. After exploring there for a while, I biked back into town to find some shaved ice. I got yoghurt flavored shaved ice with strawberry sauce and then sweet potato/taro balls. It was so delicious (especially with how hot it was outside). I don’t know if I’ve talked about shaved ice before, but it’s nothing like the Hawaiin shaved ice we have in the US, it’s so much better. After, I walked back to the riverfront to catch the sunset and then I started my journey home. It was another hour back on the metro, and by this point I was so exhausted and ready to relax.

Here are some more photos of my day in Tamsui!

Overall, it was such a fun day!! I’m so glad we had this week off of school so I could have time to do some things I don’t normally get to do. Other notable things I did this week include:

  • Going to immigration to once again renew my visa
  • Going to a night market with some Taiwanese friends and trying new foods – I ate fried swordfish, fried mochi, a whole squid, duck’s blood jelly, and more! It’s true when they say they really do eat everything here haha, but it was all very tasty
  • Going to my favorite sushi restaurant and not winning a prize – bummer
  • Visiting a pharmacy for the first time for some medicine
  • More shaved ice
  • Ikea for a Thanksgiving dinner with one of my classmates
  • Hotpot with all of my roommates

On Thursday, we start winter semester. Tomorrow, I’ll find out my class information officially, but I know that I’m going into a Book 4 Intensive class (as decided by the final test I took last semester and my personal choice to switch into intensive class) hopefully in the morning. It’s a 3-hour Chinese class Monday-Friday. I already bought the new textbook and a new notebook for the semester. I’m excited to have new classmates, but a little nervous about a new teacher. My last teacher was amazing, and it’s going to be a bit sad that she won’t be my teacher this term. I hope my new teacher is just as good!

See you all next time!


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