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A Uniquely Keelung Tour: A Walk Around The City’s Hidden Gems

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Keelung Tour: A Cultural Walking Adventure In The City

As a foreigner in the city, I decided to go on a Keelung Tour – and a walking one at that – to put myself in the shoes the locals. The experience was unlike no other. From discovering hidden markets, watching the day-to-day activities along the streets, here’s a glimpse into my experience on the tour.

 

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Guiding the route in English

I was slightly worried that I wouldn’t get anything out of the experience because I don’t speak Chinese, but I was very wrong. The tour guide, Ilun, speaks wonderful English and was able to tell me a lot. The group i was in were all Taiwanese, but I never felt out of place. As it happens one of the guys was a local from Keelung, and shared with me several fun facts about the city throughout the walking tour. 

Tour Highlights

There are many temples all over Taiwan, so of course, the beautiful Keelung Chenghuang Temple was one of the first things on the itinerary. As majority of the tour group spoke Chinese, the tour guide mentioned some information about the place in the language, which I could catch none of. Thankfully, the Keelung local with me helped to translate whatever information he heard.
 

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I have been told Keelung is a rainy city but we got lucky. There were only a few showers and generally the weather was great! And a big section of the walk is either indoors or undercover at least. After walking through a few alleys, my favourite part came next – the traditional outdoor market right by the train tracks.

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Walking tour

There were really fresh vegetables and fruits all around and the smells were something to behold. (Luckily I didn’t smell any stinky tofu!) 

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Next, we went to an indoor market to get some food. To enter the market (Renai Market), you’d have to go up a pretty discreet flight of stairs hidden among the bustling market stalls on the ground floor along the main road – if not for the tour, I never would have dared to head upstairs! Thankfully I did, because there were stalls after stalls of authentic food  right, left and center. And it was there that I met these two lovely women serving us delicious curry rice. IMG 20221118 121335

Unforgettable Food in Keelung

One hack I’ve learnt – if you see locals flocking to a stall, it’s delicious. But that mantra basically meant I had to visit every single store in the market. Alas, after all the feasting, I was still hungry. The local guy who was doing some translating for me suggested a place he knew, so I of course took his suggestion as local knowledge is always best! While we were walking, I noticed one of my favourite fried chicken places Monga and a new one right next to it, I couldn’t wait to come back already.
 
The local guy and I ended up at a noodle store, and even made friends with these two guys after I photobombed them – theTaiwanese really are friendly!
 
1668749654093 The food was delicious and the company excellent. As we had to rejoin the tour group, we said our goodbyes and walked to meet up with the group at E-square, a big shopping mall with a running track on the roof and an excellent view of the harbour. We checked out the roof top track, now my go-to running track in Keelung, and continued on the tour.
 

The End Of The Walk

To conclude the 2-3 hour walking tour, we strolled along the river where I learnt about the 12 bridges representing 12 signs of the zodiac. It is also the first man made river in Taiwan. Afterwards, we headed to a cafe where we were given a guided tasting of some lovely coffee. And with that, the tour ended but the memories I made will stay forever. I highly recommend the tour for locals or foreigners alike.

 

Exploring history about Keelung in one day

So what exactly did I discover on this Keelung walking tour? I discovered that the night market has not one but two amazing fried chicken places – and they are right next to each other, Monga and Mr. Chicken. I discovered a whole new food market I need to try, and also discovered Keelung’s unique history. But most of all, I discovered some new friends. It’s been a wonderful tour!
 

Walking Tours

Follow Phil Speakman:
I am a Brit living in Taiwan and have been for 5 years. I wanted to try something other than teaching for a while and found Keelung for a walk! So moved to Keelung and I've been here for 3 weeks now and loving it.

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