Tamsui's Little White House (officially the Tamsui Customs Officers' Residence)
is an important historical building in Tamsui, near Fort San Domingo. The ticket to Fort San Domingo also allows entrance to this building, so you should definitely check it out if you visit the area.
As a result of the Second Opium War, China was forced to open more ports to the west, including in Tamsui and Tainan, therefore creating a need for the Qing government to create a customs office in Tamsui.
The Tamsui Customs Officer's Residence was built in 1870 for the Custom Officer. The first customs officer was W. Maxwell of the UK. After the Japanese took control of Taiwan, the house was abandoned. Later after the ROC took control of Taiwan, the building was later annexed as part of the nearby Tamkang High School. In 1996, the building was set for destruction but was saved by local scholars who protested. In 2004, the building was renovated as a tourist attraction in its current form.
Because of its stark white appearance, it has been nicknamed the "little white house" referring to the resemblance to the White House in Washington DC.
80 NT (including entrance to For San Domingo and Hobe Fort)
9:30 AM to 5:30 PM (tickets not sold after 4:30)
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: Take provincial highway 2 north from Taipei until you reach Tamsui. The white house is passed the old street on highway 2. Parking can be hard to find, but there should be plentiful parking at Tamsui Elementary School and other places further away.
By MRT: Take the red line MRT north to Tamsui station and walk 1 KM north or take a bus to the white house.
Please see below:
Zhuolan Grand Canyon (aka Zhuolan Gorge) is actually a short river canyon near Zhuolan Township of Miaoli County. The canyon is only a few years old, caused by land uplift during the large 921 earthquake that struck Taiwan. It is a bit off the beaten path, but has incredible views of this new nature made wonder.
The Zhuolan Grand Canyon formed soon after the 921 earthquake on September 21, 1999 when the ground in the area was uplifted by quite a few meters. This combined with later torrential runnoff from Typhoons later created a large gap between both sides of the Da'an River (大安溪), creating a canyon about 300 meters long and nearly 20 meters high in some parts.
If it were not for river runoff, the land in the Zhuolan valley would be mountains. The land is constantly being uplifted by tectonic forces, but constant river runoff has cut through the easily eroding soil to create the valley and this canyon.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: Take county road 140 east out of Zhuolan past the gravel digging area (follow the map below). You can park for free on the side of the road. The walk to the canyon takes 15-20 minutes.
By Bus: Take Hsinchu bus no. 5663 from Zhulan to Zhulan Grand Canyon stop. The canyon is about another 30 minute walk from the bus stop.
Please see below:
Taiwan is a place that should be explored not just with public transportation (as convenient as it is). If you only take public transportation everywhere you go, you are missing out on a huge part of Taiwan. You could take taxis everywhere to see these sights, like a rich Chinese person, or you can take the cheaper option and rent a vehicle. Many of the scenic and rural sights of Taiwan can’t be experienced except by hiring your own vehicle.
Renting cars or scooters in Taiwan:
Taiwan is the scooter capitol of the world. Driving a scooter is dangerous, but scooters are fun. They are also pretty easy to learn how to operate; if you can already drive a car and/or ride a bike, picking up riding a moped shouldn’t be that hard. There’s not much better of way to experience Taiwan than cruising down the streets like everyone else with the wind blowing in your face. However, if you are afraid that scooters are dangerous, I would suggest renting a car.
Scooter Rental Fast Facts:
Scooter rental places are next to most all train stations in Taiwan. Some scooter repair shops also rent them.
Cheapest is 100 NT a day, average is about 500 NT, expensive is 800 NT.
What should I bring?
Maybe rain gear. Usually they will provide rain gear for you. They will definitely give you helmets. Some will siphon the gas out before you ride.
Do I need a Scooter License?
Maybe, it depends on where you go. If you go to the countryside or some outer islands, they may not care. If you go to a more rural part of Taiwan, most likely they will accept an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). If you go to a place such as Taichung, no one will let you rent a scooter unless they see your Taiwanese license. For more information, please see our blog post about getting a Taiwanese driver’s license.
How do I get a local Taiwanese licence?
Check out our guide on getting a driver's licence in Taiwan here.
Cities that require a local Taiwanese Scooter License: Taichung, Taipei, Magong, Chishang.
Cities that only have a few shops that will let you rent with an IDP: Tainan (北門租車）, Hualien (Pony leasing and Rental Group 小馬租車集團)
Cities that accept an international driver’s permit: Tainan (北門租車）, Chiayi, Kaohsiung, Nantou county (Sun moon lake and Jiji) , Taitung, Hualien (Pony leasing and Rental Group 小馬租車集團), Ruisui, Kenting, Jiaoxi, Nanzhuang, Jiji, and offshore islands
Cities that do not require a license: Offshore islands (Xiaoliuqiu, Green Island, and Lanyu) and Chiayi (some).
(please feel free to comment if you have an update to any of the lists above)
Anything else I should consider when renting a scooter in Taiwan?
Renting a car?
Please see our guide on car rental in Taiwan here.
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Also, feel free to contact us with any specific questions about car or scooter rental in Taiwan.
Hobe Fort (Aka Huwei Fort) is a Qing Dynasty era fortress in Tamsui, New Taipei that once has massive guns that protected the waterways nearby. The fort is included in a historical monument ticket that allows you to see other historical buildings in the area. It is also one of the best preserved historical fortresses in Taiwan.
After the Sino French War in which the French threatened Tamsui and Keelung, the Qing Dynasty decided to fortify their coastline in Taiwan, building forts at Keelung, Tamsui, Penghu, Tainan, and what is now Kaohsiung.
Hobe fort in Tamsui was completed in 1888 and designed by Liu Mingchuan.
The fort never saw any military action, which has helped preserve the fort.
After the Japanese took over Taiwan, they took out the canons and turned the fort into a practice ground for troops.
After the ROC took over Taiwan, they placed troops at the fort for a while, before turing the fort over to the central government, who have opened it to the public.
The walls of the fort are 4.2 meters thick and 7 meters high. There is also an outer earth wall. The fort only has one gate facing north.
9:30 AM to 5 PM
80 NT per person (includes entrance toFort San Domingo and the Little White House)
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: Take provincial highway 2 north from Taipei until you reach Tamsui. The fort is near Heping Park off highway 2. Parking can be found in front of the fort.
By MRT: Take the red line MRT north to Tamsui station and walk 1 KM north or take a bus/taxi to the fort.
Please see below:
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.