Beautiful Tamsui in Taiwan

I visited Tamsui outside Taipei in September 2016

One of the most popular things to do whe visiting Tamsui just north of Taipei is to watch the sunset. It is supposed to be very beautiful here, setting over New Taipei, the light creating a spectacular horizon. The day I was visiting had been a rainy day, massive rain showers all day followed by some minutes of sun and blue skies. The last hour it seemed as the rain had quieted down a bit. Quicker showers, not so intense. As the sunset approached I seriously thought it would clear up. Not just for some minutes but for the rest of the evening. As the sun started falling towards the horizon there was hardly a cloud in sight. But that would all change. Just as the sun touched the horizon you could not see it anymore, dark clouds were in the way. A few seconds later the rain started pouring again. I missed seeing the sunset in Tamsui.

Sunset in Tamsui

The sun is just about to set in Tamsui, Taiwan

I had arrived a few hours earlier, taken the 45 minutes metro ride from Ximen where I was staying in Taipei. Tamsui is the last station of the red line. I walked out of the station, down toward the water. Bought some BBQ skewers and a beer from a street vendor which I munched on while walking along the water. Just looking at the buildings, the piers, the small parks, the street vendors. Trying to get a feel of the place.

No sunset in Tamsui due to clouds

Clouds obstructing the sunset

Tamsui is a district in New Taipei City in Taiwan, its indutry now mostly geared toward tourists. Tamsui is also home to three universities and with the completion of a metro line to the district in 2007, it has also become a popular suburb of Taipei with real estate prices soaring.

Tamsui used to be a major port city in Taiwan, and has been in the hands of both the Spanish and the Portugese throughout history. In the 20th century, accumulation of sediments in the Tamsui River saw the district’s importance as a port city wane, with more and more of the shipping industry moving to Keelung City on the east coast. Following the disappearance of the business from being a port city, Tamsui revitalised itself as a tourist destination in the north-east coast of Taiwan. The area now include several open-air markets selling good, local food, and the city has built several riverside parks for the visitors to enjoy.

Store fronts in Tamsui, Taiwan

Shops along the river in Tamsui

The riverside path seemed to go on forever. I was walking towards the sun, towards the sunset. Not the only one out for a stroll, watching the coming sunset. At first store fronts were lining one side of the road, they eventually disappeared. Now only a sporadic cafe or restaurant along the river. Most buildings showing only a wall to the river. It was still a beautiful walk. The river on one side, slowly flowing by. The city of Tamsui on the other, pictureesque buildings by the water.

Street food for sale in Tamsui

Delicious Taiwanese street food

I had been walking for almost half a hour. My beer was empty, my food eaten a long time ago. Sunset was not far away now, the sun started falling towards the horizon. I turned around, walked the same way back. Often stopping and turning to see how low the sun was. I was about halfway back when I stopped to watch the sunset, a popular activity in Tamsui I had heard. And that is when it started raining. Within minutes the sky ws a dark grey and heavy rain started falling. I got my umbrella out, started walking toward the station. What a disappointment.

View of Tamsui from a riverside park

A park along the river

It was still raining heavily when I returned to the metro station. It felt good to get out of the rain and into the station. I headed for the platform, a train was leaving any minute now. My time in Tamsui was over. A beautiful place, good food, a nice walk along the river. All I missed was the sunset, but nothing to do about that. Tomorrow would be my last day in Taipei, and a typhoon was on its way, I wasn’t sure how much I would be able to do at all. Might be stuck in my apartment. I used the time on the metro to read about the typhoon on my smart-phone. Trying to figure out what to expect. When the metro reached Jiantan Station I got off and headed for theĀ Funky Fresh Bar. I had to have one last beer there before leaving Taiwan.

18 thoughts on “Beautiful Tamsui in Taiwan

  1. natalietanner

    In spite of the weather you sure got some lovely photos. What an interesting spot. I had no idea that Tamsui had been controlled by Spain and Portugal as well. The influences of those cultures must make for some interesting and unexpected food choices there, too!

    1. Traveltorgeir Post author

      Thank you. I think the weather itself made for some good photos. Tamsui is quite and interesting place, the first missionary to Taiwan went ashore there, and the food had some European influences. Well worth a visit

  2. Jennifer

    I feel your pain! Sunsets and sunrises can be so allusive. We once drove for three hours – each way – to see a sunrise and there wasn’t even a pin prick. But even your cloudy sunset photo is beautiful! And Tamsui looks like a great little day trip:)

    1. Traveltorgeir Post author

      Their allusiveness make them so much more beautiful in a way. Seeing the sun start to disappear both behind the horizon and the clouds was quite a sight and made for some great pictures :-)

  3. Raymond Carroll

    Too bad you didn’t get to see the sunset over Tamsui – it looks like it would have been a wonderful sight to see! I know what it feels like to get caught in torrential, Taiwan rain, as I lived and worked in Taiwan for 4 months back in 2003. I hope the cyclone wasn’t too rough. Good post. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Riely

    It looks like you may have caught a glimpse of the sun from your beautiful photos. I like that you tried to make the best of it enjoying a moment walking along the waters shore. But rain can bring you mood down so easily especially when it come between the beautiful sunset and yourself.

  5. Jenn and Ed Coleman

    I love sun sets through clouds. Without clouds in the sky, a sunset is just an orange globe entering the water. It’s always the same.

    Not only do rivers silt up but the displacement of ships have increased dramatically over the years. Some cities, like my home in San Diego, respond by dredging deeper ports. Coronado Island is now connected to the mainland because they had to put the sand somewhere. Other cities, like Amsterdam, moved their port further down the river.

    Tamsui sounds like a wonderful city. Being able to take a metro and stroll down a river path sounds very tourist friendly indeed. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Traveltorgeir Post author

      Different cities choose different solutions. I am glad Tamsui and Taiwan chose to mive the port, letting Tamsui become a beautiful residential area and tourist spot instead. Keelung, where the port was moved, did not have the same charm

  6. Archana Singh

    Tamsui is a wonderful place to visit in Taiwan. I too had a similar experience. It was raining but still it was beautiful. Like you I too loved walking the promenade. And the food was amazing too :)

  7. Jennie

    I had no idea about the history of that area and the European influence. The pictures are beautiful. Sometimes the calm before the storm lends to majestic sunsets. Wonderfully captured!

  8. Diana - MVMT Blog

    Darn I totally know the feeling of making the effort to watch the sunrise and missing it due to bad weather! Thanks for sharing though so we all know where the best spot is (weather permitting). I’ve only been to the Taipei airport but hope to make it past there to explore all of Taiwan one day.

  9. Abhinav Singh

    Taiwan has been attracting my attention for quite some time now. It sure is an offbeat destination. I love sunsets and am impressed with your story and pictures. It is close to my country India and I hope to make it here soon.

    1. Traveltorgeir Post author

      Thank you :-)

      Taiwan is such an interesting country, a mix between China and Japan, and worth a visit. Hope you make it there soon!


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