Located about an hour from Taipei Main Station by MRT, Tamsui (Danshui 淡水) is a popular destination among the locals to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Being the last stop of the MRT Red Line somewhat befits its reputation as a perfect spot to gaze sunset.
This is the sort of place you would want to end your day with. It is as romantic as New Taipei City gets.
There are also plenty of manga-esque cafes and shops along the coast, making it perfect for photography and to get yourself caffeinated.
You would end up at Tamsui Old Street if you were to follow the massive crowd from the MRT Station on weekends.
Along the old street, there are food, food, more food, bubble teas (my kind of drinks), souvenir shops and some small local businesses in between.
So, what is the secret of Tamsui?
If you are in Tamsui, you might think it is George Leslie Mackay, a missionary from Canada who’d established a hospital, schools and churches around Tamsui and Taiwan.
His legacy and face are almost everywhere in Tamsui.
The ‘Secret’ I’m referring is a 2007 movie shot mostly in Tamsui, and it is one of my favourite love film.
The movie was directed and wrote by Mondopop superstar Jay Chou. He also played the lead character.
Secret was his love letter to Tamsui and his high school: Tamkang Senior.
Visiting Tamkang Senior High School really depends on luck.
There was a notice that said the campus is off limit to visitors when I was there. I saw it when I was leaving.
Despite of the notice, the gate was wide opened as it happened to be a school break. I entered the premise without being stopped by the security; so did a few other people.
Although it was my first time there, I was overwhelmed by a sense of nostalgia.
When I was leaving, the security personnel at the gate was turning people away.
Within walking distance from Tamkang Senior High School are Aletheia University, Fort San Domingo and Tamsui Custom Wharfs – they are all great places to take photos in Tamsui.
To catch the Tamsui sunset, head to Tamsui Ferryboat Wharf or Fisherman’s Wharf Long Beach. In my case, I chose the former.
There were huge Banyan trees lining up the riverside footpath (it was also featured in Secret), making my walk to the wharf even more romantic than it already was.
After the sky turned dark, I bid farewell to Tamsui with a heavy heart.
Photospot in Tamsui:
- Tamsui Oldstreet (Google Map location): Street with cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops.
- Tamkang Senior High School (Google Map location): Secret movie set. The tomb of Dr. Mackay is located in the backyard of this school.
- Aletheia University (Google Map location) : Interesting architecture.
- Fort San Domingo (Google Map location): A fortress originally built in 1628 by the Spanish . The current site also houses the former British consular residence.
- Tamsui Ferryboat Wharf (Google Map location): Sunset spot.
- Fisherman’s Wharf Long Beach (Google Map location): Sunset spot.
- Tamsui Church (Google Map location).