A step aside : 10 days in Keelung county

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Busy, noisy, rainy, smelly: This is what you’ll hear about Keelung from everyone, locals such as foreigners, and all of this is true. Due to its past and present as a major harbor in the country, Keelung, by many aspects, is a city that is not shaped for easy, fancy tourism, the kind that follows straight paths through territories labelled in international guides.

The famous touristic spot in Keelung: Miaokou night market. ©francois turgis


When travelling, it is always rewarding to leave a bit the beaten paths, and it is particularly true here in Keelung, for the city keeps its secrets in small alleys, remote locations or here, just up these stairs on your right…

Like, your touristic guide says “Go to Heping Island Park”, so you go there and pay for the entrance. Though the sight on the coastal line is beautiful, it is more a balcony on the ocean rather than a park in itself. But if you take a step aside, go to the left at the entrance of the park, climb a bit on the concrete path that faces the harbour, there will be just you, a few fishermen and families, and these massive concrete wave breakers, and then you are free to walk and enjoy this powerful pacific ocean and an amazing sunset. Then you walk back to take your bus back to downtown, it’s just a regular neighbourhood and it doesn’t even look nice: Step aside, follow that tiny alley for 50 meters, then you arrive to this stunning fishing harbour and coastline, and nobody around… You can walk this way to the next bus stop… or maybe just with another step aside reach the Longgan trail, climb the stairs and enjoy the amazing view on the top.

on the way to Heping Island Park. ©francois turgis

Heping Island Park. ©francois turgis

Chengbing fish port. ©francois turgis


Keelung, will reward you to climb its stairs, and there are many, many of them. You’re tired of noisy streets ? Climb these stairs on your right and reach the beautiful Zhongcheng park. You can’t stand anymore the smell of this stinky tofu on the overcrowded night market? Take a step aside and climb these stairs to reach Renai market to eat delicious fresh made dumplings. The endless traffic drives you mad? Step aside and enter one of these teeny-tiny alleys where suddenly you find the silence you were looking for. You arrive in Jiufen to visit the Old street as your guide tells you to and realize your mistake in front this overcrowded tourist trap ? A simple step aside, some stairs again, you arrive in the most beautiful Taiwanese graveyard, a beautiful garden with a stunning view on the coast, far away down.

Jiufen old street. ©francois turgis

Taiwanese graveyard in Jiufen. ©francois turgis


This list could go on forever…  Go to Keelung, maybe in the winter as I did, it might be rainy sometimes but it’s offseason and the temperatures are still warm. Look a guide, check your maps, make some plans… Then do something else, walk, climb, go up and down, but mostly be patient and change your plans to really have a chance discover this city. It has much secrets to share with you if you know where to look.


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Author: Francois Turgis

François Turgis is a professional photographer from France. Born in 1971 he mastered Fine Arts School from Rennes, France in 2001. In 2019 and 2029 he’s been travelling around the world, meeting musicians and learning about traditional mysics in the countries he visits. You can check his Facebook page Studio Francois Turgis or Instagram studioturgis.”


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