There is so much to see and do in and around Keelung. The city itself is home to a lively fish market, bustling night markets and a long multicultural history. One place of particular interest is the lovely Heping Island. There are so many things to do on Heping Island. With its beautiful coastline, park and fort, it is worth a daytrip of its own. We have selected eight scenic recommendations of things to do on Heping Island to help guide you:
1. Peace Bridge
Crossing the “cross-sea bridge” means that you have truly arrived at Heping Island. It’s a scenic spot, where you can spot fishermen on the bridge. Furthermore, you can enjoy the slow crawl of boats as they exit and enter the harbor. Most notable are the colored houses! In Zhengbin Fishing Port there is a row of richly colored houses reminiscent of the port of Marseille in the south of France.
2. Argener Shipyard
Considered as one of the most popular locations in Keelung, its scenery can be used for movies, music videos, cosplay or a quick getaway. The large broken concrete pillars leave much to the imagination. Walk into the eight-foot gate towards the Keelung city Indigenous cultural hall and watch the Indigenous people practice archery with traditional bows for hunting mountain pigs. Going up to the top of the mountain, the vast seascape is waits for you as you look up the following land marks: the Society Bridge, Ocean University and the Badouzi, and Keelung Island.
3. Handmade charcoal grilled Gyula:
The Japanese bamboo wheel, Chikuwa, is a traditional Japanese dish made by mincing fish into a paste by combining it with flour, eggs, and a mixture of spices. It is also known as Gyula. In the past few years, the handmade charcoal grilled Gyula near the Peace Bridge has been very popular. Make sure to visit in the morning,. Watch the owner prepare the fish paste as he places it on a long pole and bakes it on a charcoal pit. The warmth from the charcoal is similar to local Keelungs: warm and welcoming.
4. Seafood Street
Along the riverfront is a lengthy stretch of small seafood stalls crammed together. Each stall has their own fishmonger, peddling their live or recently perished catch of the day. Live fish are kept in little tanks pumped full of fresh water so you know your meal can’t get any fresher. And it does differ from other fish markets since the wares hawked here are quite unique. Live cuttlefish, Penchu Sea Urchin and a myriad of odd fishes grace these stalls.
The best part is that if you’re not a chef, many of these stalls also have a restaurant. It can be quite the experience to pick out the fish you want and watch them net it out and throw it on the grill. It’s a great stop for a meal- after a full day of cruising around the island.
5. Fude Temple
There is a small gap that can be found near the head of the Peace Bridge that goes down a narrow staircase leading to the temple of Futun. With the sea nearby, people soak in the atmosphere by hanging out with their friends and sipping tea. The sea water is within reach, the local people are chatting with tea. Or you might consider taking a nap, as the boats sailing by bring a cool and relaxing breeze allowing for the perfect, comfortable lazy afternoon.
6. Tianxian Palace
Called a palace because it enshrines five brothers who later became known as emperor. Tianxian Palace is a Taoist temple with the familiar architecture of the many temples around Taiwan. What really makes Tianxian Palace stand out is the Arhat stone statues of the Chinese monks. Make the climb towards Tianxian Palace and you will see along the walk the statues of monks of old. With over 500 statues of monks, each two meters high, it’s certainly worth the climb.
7. East Sheliao Fort
Down the road and up the hill from the fish market is the historic East Sheliao Fort. Its overgrown exterior with trees and roots protruding from the worn stone will give you a Tomb Raider-esque experience. While it’s a small and unassuming site, its prime location at the top of the hill grants a fantastic view of the nearby Badouzi Fishing Harbor.
If you’d like to learn more about the forts Keelung has to offer, click here.
8. Heping Island Park
Heping Island Park is a beautiful well-maintained park along the coast and one of the big things to do on Heping Island. This extensive area has numerous activities suited for all ages. During the summer, you can hike right along the Alabao Bay coast. The rest of the year, you can see the eroded rocks of the oddly named Emperor’s Hall.
If the viewpoints aren’t enough, you can go there for an ocean swim. They have a large ocean swimming pool, portioned away from the roiling waves where you can enjoy a fresh salt water swim with the convenience of having pool facilities within arm’s reach. Don’t forget your goggles; this ocean pool has a ton of fish meandering about.
You can get here from Keelung by taking a bus to Zhongzeng and then walking 10 – 15 minutes to the park. The entrance fee for adults to the park is 80 TWD, but I felt that was a great deal to swim in a partitioned salt water swimming pool!
Find information on Heping Island Park here.