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10 best things to do in Keelung

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Ultimate Travel Guide for Keelung

Keelung City is a port city located in the northeastern part of Taiwan. It’s about 30 minutes from Taipei by bus, which makes it perfect for a day trip.

The most common reason why people visit Keelung is to eat their way through its famous Miaokou Night Market. I assure you, it is a VERY good reason to visit Keelung – but for sure not the only one! 

There are many things to do in Keelung. The industrial port city has its his own unique flair representing a different side of Taiwan. If you enjoy maritime harbor meets beautiful mountainous vibes, it’s time for a trip to Keelung! 

The city is also very walkable, so you can easily reach most of the attractions in Keelung by foot.

How to get to Keelung from Taipei

Very easy and within 30 up to 40 minutes. Just get your EasyCard ready and decide whether you prefer to go from Taipei to Keelung by bus or train:

  • Bus: The buses 2088 or 1813 go to Keelung around every 10 minutes. They depart at several locations in the city and from Taipei City Hall Bus Station it’ll take you about 30 minutes to arrive.
  • Train: You can also use the local train TRA that departs from Taipei Central Station to Keelung every 15-20 minutes. 

Here’s a link to the train schedule.

Top 10 Things to do in Keelung

Now that we have the formalities out of the way, let me tell you what fun things to do in Keelung and let the exploration of this lovely seaside city begin!

1. Climb the Keelung Landmark

The Keelung Landmark

When you take your first steps from the train or bus station towards the city center, you will be greeted by the giant KEELUNG letters (what Hollywood can do, Keelung can too!). Prominently embedded in the beautiful green hills it is a very nice view in itself – but you can get more.

Only around a 15 minutes walk, you can easily get up to the home of the letters. The Keelung Landmark Observatory deck is located in a park along the Huzishan trail. The path starts here and is a mix of stairs and streets through the hilly neighborhood. You walk mostly between concrete, but if you eventually make your way up, you will be rewarded with an amazing view over the harbor, the mountains and the city center.  

If you feel like burning some calories after a lavish night market feast, it is also a nice activity to visit the KEELUNG letters during the night for enjoying the shimmering city lights from afar.

2. Linger at Keelung Maritime Plaza

Keelung maritime plaza

Love spending time alongside the water? Then the Maritime Plaza is the right place for you. 

The pretty wooden promenade invites you in with its open space and benches- allowing you to linger and simply observe what is happening for a while. It is made for enjoying the view of ships (sometimes cruise ships), the cranes of the harbor alongside the mountains with the Keelung letters. 

Although it is very chill to hang out at the Maritime Plaza in the afternoon, for me it’s the most beautiful at sunset, dawn or night. I just love how the light installations change the atmosphere, how the wooden promenade reflects their glow and colors and gets filled up with more visitors who probably feel the same as me.

3. Get good views on Keelung Tower

keelung tower

Still looking for some nice views? The Keelung Tower has you covered! Built in 2019 in a crane-inspired shape paying homage to Keelung’s port history, it is not only a special piece of architecture, but also a great viewing platform. It comes with two elevators that conveniently bring you up to the ‘skybridge’ and treat you with a 360-degree view of the city. 

Hidden in the belly of the tower, you find a bookstore. 

Another handy thing: Since it was built, it also saves you a lot of stairs to get to the next great Keelung activity: The Zhongzheng Park.

4. Explore Keelung Zhongzheng Park

Keelung zhongzheng park

Only a 15 minutes walk from the Keelung Harbor, located on the top of a mountain, Zhongzheng Park is one of the top attractions of Keelung. It is home to interesting temples and impressive statues. One of them is the Goddess Guanyin statue – the city’s guardian. 

You can either tackle some stairs to get up (the stunning view of the city and the harbor is well worth the cardio training!), or you can take the elevator of the Keelung tower. It’s a great activity during every time of the day, but I especially enjoy the magnificent light during the afternoon. 

Here are some tips what to see in Keelung Zhongzheng Park:

The main gate

The main entrance gate of the park itself is worth seeing. The arch was built during the Japanese occupation and you find it here in Xin’er Road. If you don’t mind a little exercise, you can take the stairs to make your way up.

Big Buddha Temple

The impressive Big Buddha Temple is right on top of the hill, where you can encounter and admire the 22.5 meter high Avalokitesvara Buddha aka Guanyin statue.

Zhupu Altar

Zhupu altar

Most of the year, the breathtaking Zhupu Altar is home to a museum about the Ghost Festival, for which Keelung is famous throughout Taiwan. The museum is currently closed, but it is also astonishing to just see the building from the outside. 

During the 7th Lunar Month (which is either July, but more likely August depending on your calendar) the Zhupu Altar becomes one of the focal points where the Keelung Ghost Festival is held. Especially on the 12th day of the 7th lunar month, you will find it entirely decorated and illuminated.

5. Have a feast at Keelung Night Market 

Things to do in Keelung, miaokou night market

I already said it: Keelung City is famous for its vibrant Miaokou Night Market and that for a good reason. Since it’s considered to be one of the best night markets in Taiwan, it is one of the best things to do in Keelung. If you wander between its beautifully lit up iconic yellow lanterns, encounter sizzling skewers, fresh seafood, refreshing fruit juices, unparalleled flavored pork rice and so on, you may find out why. 

With over 200 booths, the Keelung Night market food, drinks and snacks comes with a vast variety of flavors and textures that’ll make your taste buds jump for joy. One of the best things about it is that it still feels like a very authentic place.

Keelung food

The night market stretches from Ren 3rd Road to Ai 3rd Road and Ai 4th Road and is easy to navigate. However, if you find it hard to decide what specialties to try, a Night Market Food Tour is a perfect way to get a deeper and fun introduction.

The night market already opens around 3 pm, but I find it’s true magic comes alive when it’s dark.

Tip for temple lovers: Right in the middle of the Miaokou Night Market you find the magnificent Dianji Temple. It was built 1873 during the Qing Dynasty and is Keelung’s biggest temple.

6. Take a selfie at Zhengbin Fishing Harbor

zhengbin port

For those who love colorful places, Zhengbin Fishing Harbor in Keelung is a must. Originally built by the Japanese in the 20th century, it got a playful makeover to revive the neighborhood in 2018 where 16 houses were colorfully painted in consultation with color experts and the community.

The success exceeded expectations: The cute rainbow houses turned out to become a popular (and very instagrammable) spot to take photos. So, get into your favorite pose and off you go! Apart from that, the area around comes with cute little cafés and nice restaurants.

You find the Zhengbin Fishing Harbour located to the east of the city center of Keelung, easy to reach with public transport.

7. Lost place atmosphere at Agenna Shipyard Relics

Agenna Shipyard Ruin

If you already find yourself in the Zhengbin Fishing Harbor area, take the chance to take a glimpse at the Agenna Shipyard Ruin which is only a stone’s throw away – and delivers nearly the complete opposite picture of the lively color houses. 

Only the skeleton of the former Shipyard is left and overgrown with lots of greenery. This abandoned building became one of the most famous lost places in Taiwan and is definitely a fascinating place to take a look. You can’t enter it, but trust me, having a look from the outside is cool enough.

8. Enjoy incredible nature at Heping Island

Heping Island Rocks

Enough of city vibes longing for more nature? Hop on the public bus 101 (approximately 30 minutes from the city center of Keelung) or a taxi (10-15 minutes) and to go to the magnificent Heping Island

Once one of the first places that the Han Chinese and Westerners first set foot on Taiwan and therefore not only a historically interesting place, Heping Island Geopark is now a beloved tourist destination for all ages. One of the reasons: The bizarre and surreal looking eroded geological formations on the coastline. 

There is also a special fossil zone which is, in order to protect it, only accessible at certain hours with a guided tour.

If you are up for a swim, just jump into the lovely natural salt water swimming pool which is directly connected to the sea, but protected against roiling waves. If you have a heart for fish bring your goggles because there are heaps to see in the ocean pool. 

While you are getting refreshed in the water, you are surrounded by a magnificent 360 degree view over the blue ocean, an industrial harbor and these unique looking rocks shaped by wind and the sea – definitely worth a visit!

This family friendly attraction opens from

  • 1st May till 31st October: 08:00-19:00 
  • 1st November till 30th May: 08:00-18:00 

The ticket sale stops 1 hour before closing time.

Admission fee:

  • Full Fare: 120 NT$
  • Students: 60 NT$
  • Young children under 6 years are free

9. Go on a hike in Keelung’s Mountains

Hiking in Keelung on Mount Hongdan

Feel like hiking? Also possible! Whilst off the beaten path, one of the best hiking routes in Keelung is the Mount Hongdan route. Walking up the 208 meters, you will run into little to no tourists and only a few locals.

It is not far from the city center, located in the Ren’ai District, and a lovely and peaceful getaway. Walking up there feels like you are entering a different world in comparison to the busy city center. Immersed in a green path, it will lead you through a biodiverse paradise, encountering big beautiful butterflies, dragonflies and birds.

IMG 20240614 165806 scaled

The hike starts here, next to the Mingchuan Junior High School, and there are two options to do it: 

  1. Shorter version (about 1.5 hours): Comes with amazing views over the city
  2. Extended version (about 2.5 till 3 hours): The same, but includes the Baoming Temple, several pavilions and a beautiful hidden Buddha statue

For a more detailed description of the hike read our article: The best Keelung hiking route: Mount Hongdan.

Since you are going up a mountain, there are some steps to climb, so make sure you bring some water with you. Luckily, most of the path is in the shades and it is well paved and maintained.

10. Let locals show you the hidden gems

基隆深度旅遊山巷與貓

If you find yourself to be in a mode of deeper exploration and up for getting to know the hidden gems and hearing the interesting stories the city has to tell, a private small group tour is the best option to unveil Keelung’s secrets. 

In our specialized walking tours you have a local who loves the city and knows Keelung inside out showing you around.

Whether the Miaokou Food Market, Heping Island or a cultural tour through the city – we have a set of tours about Keelung for every taste.

Walking Tours

Is Keelung worth a visit?

Absolutely! The city offers an interesting mix between harbor, mountains, great views, beautiful temples, lovely cafés, great nature and, of course, delicious food. Easy to reach from Taipei-Keelung is the perfect getaway for a day trip or a little longer. It is the perfect destination if you love to explore an authentic Taiwanese coastal city. 

Quick history lesson about Keelung

Keelung was founded by the Spanish in 1626 and has been subject to various international influences since then. Major historical periods include the Spanish Empire, the Qing Dynasty and the Empire of Japan. In 1924, Keelung was elevated to a city by the Japanese. After the handover of Taiwan from Japan to China in 1945, the city eventually became part of the Republic of China.

The city is surrounded by various mountains and has a different topography than Taipei and other major cities in Taiwan. Another unique aspect is the fact that the harbor extends into the city center- therefore you have easy access to the harbor and the sea. There are also several offshore islands such as Keelung Island, Penjia Island and Mianhua Island, all of which are of strategic importance.

Follow Fiona:
Fiona is a passionated copywriter from Germany. Currently traveling the world as a digital nomad, she loves to deep dive in cultures, cuisines and costums. Her aim: To try the most delicious food on this globe (not a hard one in Asia) and to gain a better understanding of the world and its people.

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