The charming riverside town of Danshui (Tamsui) is one of the most popular tourist spots in Taiwan. Its close location to Taipei City and access to convenient transportation make it a perfect spot for a day trip. In particular, the wide variety of street food and beautiful scenery here are prime reasons so many people visit, especially on weekends.
Danshui is not only a town of nature and leisure, but also one rich in history. You can hop on a bike like a local Taiwanese, enjoy the breeze carried along the Danshui River, and stop for a coffee break at a riverside café. As you walk the streets, you will be surprised by the many delicate handicrafts and artwork shops here - a souvenir shopper’s paradise. Taking a stroll through the town, you will also have a chance to explore its complex history as trading and cultural center as you visit its numerous historic sites.
The name Danshui has a history of several hundred years. It initially referred to a much larger area instead of the town only. The present town of Danshui was formerly called Hobe (滬尾). Long ago, Danshui was settled by the aboriginal Ketagalan (凱達格蘭) tribe. In the 17th century, the Spanish (1628) and the Dutch (1642) came to occupy the area. Later on, a famous mainland Chinese general named Koxinga (國姓爺) defeated the Dutch and ousted them from Danshui. As the Manchu-ruled Qing Dynasty wrested control from the Mings in China, Koxinga remained in Taiwan to train Ming loyalists to retake the mainland. This opportunity never came, and within a few short years, the Qing Dynasty annexed Taiwan as a province of Fujian in 1683, bringing the island under the jurisdiction of the Chinese mainland for the first time. Successive waves of Chinese immigrants came to Danshui at that time. In 1858, the Qing Dynasty was forced to open Danshui to foreign trade and Danshui gradually became the largest commercial harbor in northern Taiwan. As a result, large numbers of foreign merchants and missionaries surged in. However, because of heavy sedimentation, Danshui lost its importance as a harbor in the early 1900s during the Japanese Colonial Era. Over the recent decades, Danshui has transformed itself into a dynamic center of tourism that radiates a youthful exuberance for the rediscovery of its vibrant history.
The easiest way to reach Danshui from Taipei is by metro. It is at the end of the MRT Danshui (Tamsui) Line, otherwise known as the Red Line. It’s easy to get around the town by walking or cycling, while bus service is also a convenient option. For added adventure, you can also take a ferry to Fisherman’s Wharf (漁人碼頭) or Bali (八里), and enjoy the night view and nice foods beside Danshui River. A good time always awaits you in Danshui!