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The 3 Best Night Hikes in Keelung

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 Why go on a night hike in Keelung? 

During the day Keelung, the Taiwanese port city neighboring Taipei, is a beautiful (if not usually overcast) place. However, the city truly comes alive only after the sun sets. The city is surrounded by mountains, making it an apt place for exploring to get some spectacular views of the nighttime skyscape. Without the daytime heat, the weather is more pleasant, and the humidity disappears as you ascend upwards into the natural scenery.

 

The best place to start off is the Maritime Plaza, located at the city’s center. Nearby, visitors can get off at Keelung’s main train and bus station.The waterside setting offers a good place to relax and a good starting point for a night hike.
night hikes start from Keelung's Maritime Plaza
Keelung’s Maritime Plaza is brilliantly illuminated at night.
Though many beautiful hikes exist around Taiwan’s Eastern peninsula, due to limited public transportation a night hike is not recommended. What the following hikes do offer are beautiful nighttime views of the city, a centralized location so you can easily get back, and an insight into the neighborhoods and cultural artifacts in Keelung.

 

From casual to heart-pumping, here are some hikes that any traveler should explore as the sun starts to fade:

A pleasant stroll: Keelung Tower 

night hikes to Keelung tower

Keelung Tower

When arriving in Keelung, one may want to visit the Keelung Tower, the looming skydeck which offers amazing views of the coastal city. The tower, built in 2019, offers a gateway into the beautiful Zhongzheng Park, home to some community fixtures such as tennis and basketball courts, a local high school, and the breath-taking Zhuputan altar. Additionally the park is home to a buddhist temple, with one of the largest statues of Guanyin, the goddess of compassion, in Asia.

Zhongzheng Park Near Keelung Tower

It’s recommended to visit Zhongzheng Park via the Keelung Tower just around sunset. The tower is free to get into, and there are usually minimal lines (especially on weekdays). In total, the entire round trip can take as little as 20 minutes, although a full hike throughout the entire park should take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. It’s not an especially challenging hike, more of a stroll; though the walk up to the buddhist temple has some inclination.

 

Keelung Tower is the most accessible place to get a scenic panorama of the city as dusk falls. Visitors can meander around the grounds, visit the tower’s bookstore, or just sit and admire the quiet sights and sounds. Overall, it is a must-go for anyone who is interested in the local culture of Keelung.

Breaking a sweat: The Keelung Sign 

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How to Get to the Keelung Sign

The first thing you might notice in Keelung is the large brightly lit sign spelling “Keelung” which overlooks the port. For locals, it’s a daily fixture. For visitors, it’s a highly-recommended hike up to the top (for a more detailed guide of the Keelung Sign visit here). It’s a steep ascent, but not too much distance, and a round trip can be as fast as 30 minutes from Maritime Plaza (1.4km). However, I recommend around 45 minutes to give yourself some time to take it slow, admire the view, and explore around the mountain.

Night View from Keelung Sign

At nighttime, the path goes through peaceful neighborhoods, up an eerily-lit staircase and past a buddhist temple. The sign itself is lit up in neon at night, and has a few benches and an overlook for visitors to relax once they reach it. Atop the sign, you get away from the buzz of the city and can get lost in the hums of cicadas, the gentle breeze, and low voices of the few locals enjoying the view over a drink or a cigarette.

 

Heart-pumping: Keelung’s Shiqiuling Fort  

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How to Get to Shiqiuling Fort

Not only does Shiqiuling Fort offer the single-best nighttime landscape view of Keelung and its surroundings, it also offers the most historical significance. As a truly local spot, you won’t see tourists here; likely just occasional hikers and locals who drove up for the view. With a round trip distance from Maritime Plaza of around 2.4km (if not more), I recommend that travelers set aside about 90 minutes to fully explore Shiqiuling. Additionally, the best time to set off would be about 10-20 minutes at sunset: that way you can explore both the temple with some light and witness the nighttime view.

A Brief History of Shiqiuling Fort

It will be a sweaty experience for sure, but Shiqiuling offers an insight into an older Taiwan: built in 1884 by the Qing Dynasty, and later taken over by the Japanese. The Fort stands at a strategic location: the highest point in the city and as a marker separating Keelung and Taipei (for a more in-depth look into the historical & cultural significance of Shiqiuling go here).

 

Hikers start by walking through the busy city streets, passing by the famous Miaokou Night Market, the Keelung railway, and numerous enticing alleyways and tunnels. Eventually, the paths become steep and one has to climb several flights of stairs to get to the peak. At the top there is a sitting area with clear views of both the Eastern view (of Keelung) and West (of the mountains towards Taipei).

Interested in more places to visit in Keelung?

Walking Tours

Follow Albert:
Albert Chang-Yoo is currently an undergraduate student studying International Relations and Communications. He has contributed to publications such as "The Trail", "Asian Avenue Magazine", and "Nichi Bei Weekly". Since January 2024, Chang-Yoo has been traveling throughout Southeast and East Asia, researching street food culture.

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