Over the weekend on Saturday Scott, Michelle, Cherry and I took a late day trip to a beach north of the historic port city of Danshuei which is located at the mouth of the Danshuei River.
The transport costs are pretty reasonable. Taking the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) from TaiPower Station only a few blocks from where we “live” (well…at least for another week) to the Taipei Main Station (actually Taipei has no real downtown, but rather several clusters of tall buildings…that’s a story for another post though) and then to Danshuei was $55NTD ($1.70USD – not bad when you consider that it is really a distant suburban link to outlying Taipei Metro area). The bus ride took longer and cost more ($90NTD – $2.77USD) than the MRT ride, even though it was pretty much about the same distance. That’s because almost all along the way was built up area on the main shoreline road and it made it more like an urban bus trip than a rural or trans-urban one.
The larger metro area is actually made up of several
but several conturbations.
The greater Taipei Metro area is around 7.5 million people and includes the cities of Keelung, Danshuei, Taoyuan (which is near the International Airport). Taipei proper has about 2.5 million people.
Speaking of the airport…while the transport system overall is quite good the city still does not have a direct rail link from the main Taoyuan airport to the central Taipei area that is linked up to the MRT. Construction is now proceeding on this link though.
We left late in the day for the beach trip and it took longer than we anticipated to get there. In fact, Scott brought his surf board in the hope that he would be able to surf. However, we finally made it to the beach right at dusk. It was beautiful but too late for surfing, so we played in the sand. At the local street vendor food stand we met a few local characters including a couple of surfers and Scott tried to sell three of the boards he brought along with him to Taiwan. It turned out that one of the surfers was a Taiwanese actor.
Along the ride there and back, we had a chance to see the interesting aesthetic vibe of the region which included the wonderful gift of Taiwanese bricolage as well as larger scale buildings at some points – seemed to be resorts by the beaches.
I marveled at all the medium sized building construction going on in the outskirts of Danshuei just to the north of the city center and the success that the Taiwanese have at create a authentic downtown feeling in the rapid rising and emergent city scape and juxtopositioning that.
On the way back we stopped at the Danshuei night market once again and stopped by a late night soup eatery and ate large bowls of soup for $100NTD. I also had rice dumplings ($30TND) and a chocolate waffle ($40TND) which was quite good.
Oddly enough despite being aware that the MRT closed at 1200am and the last train leaves at that time, we barely made it there…well it was perfect timing.