Bangka Old Street (aka Mengjia Old Street, officially Guiyang Street 貴陽街) is a historical street in Wanhua District of Taipei and the site of the oldest settlement in northern Taiwan. It is one of three official old streets in Taipei, and dates back hundreds of years to the first Chinese settlers in northern Taiwan. Besides the historical buildings here, you can also enjoy the nearby Huaxi Street Night Market which was known for snake meat.
The land that Bangka Old Street stands on was once part of Basay tribal land. The Basay people had lived on the land for thousands of years before the first Chinese settlers. The area at Bangka was a trading center for the Basay people before Chinese settlers ever came.
Maps dating to the Dutch rule in the 1600s marked Bangka as a trading location.
The name Bangka (or Měngjiǎ in Taiwanese Mandarin) comes from the fact that the Basay tribe called the Chinese trading ships that visited "Bangka" which means canoe, and was transliterated into Southern Min as (Bangkah 艋舺) which literally means small boat.
Later when the Japanese came they mistakenly heard Bangka as “Mange” in Japanese (Wàn huá 萬華 in Chinese), which is the current name of the area.
The settlement at Bangka (Měngjiǎ 艋舺) quickly grew into the largest settlement in Northern Taiwan. Settlements at Dadaocheng and Bopiliao nearby also began to sprout up.
Important products that were sold here include coal, tea, as well as various other goods. It was the most prosperous area in Taipei for a while, until in 1860 the harbor near the area silted in, and so Dadaocheng became the new center of commerce in northern Taiwan.
Currently Bangka Old Street has very few shops and is more of a residential area compared to Dadaocheng and Bopiliao Old Streets which are much more popular with tourists.
Huaxi Street Night Market used to be a red light district before prostitution was banned in Taiwan. Now it specializes in strange meats such as snake, turtle, and deer meat as well as animal blood. It is also known as "Snake Alley." You can also find normal Taiwanese night market snacks here.
Bangka Old Street: 24/7
Huaxi Night Market: 4 PM to midnight every day
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: From Taipei Main Station, go south on and take a right on Changsha Road. Take another slight right at the roundabout onto Guiyang Street and you are there.
By MRT: Take the blue line to Longshan Temple, then walk north three blocks to the old street.
Please see below:
I have been to Bangka Old Street once really just to see what was there. It is really not a popular place, and looks like any other street in Taipei. But it is the oldest settlement in northern Taiwan.
There really isn't much here in the way of tourism. There are just some normal shops, like a pharmacy and fruit shops.
One of the handful of fruit shops on the street.
Another fruit and vegetable shop.
Looking down the old street from the end of the street.
A noodle shop and a soup shop next to each other, under what look like Qing era (1800s) architecure.
A lunch shop under what looks like a centuries old building.
A row of buildings that look something like a normal old street in Taiwan.
Another view down the old street.
Only one of the buildings here has actually taken the time and effort to put their name and logo on the front of the building.
A family mart sits in a century old building.
A doughnut stall on the street where two tourists stop for a treat.
An archway in the middle of the street makes it seem more "old street-ish."
A sweet potato shop next to a massage parlor.
If it weren't for the yellow lanterns and brick street, you'd hardly know this was a tourist old street.
Bangka Qingshan Temple (艋舺青山宮 Měngjiǎ qīngshān gōng). This temple was built in 1856 during the Qing Dynasty. It is a Taoist temple dedicated to the Qingshan LingAn King (青山靈安尊王), and it is the most popular temple in Taiwan dedicated to this deity. This god is also protector of Huian County in Quanzhou, Fujian Province of China.
The reason that this god exists in Taipei is because in 1854 a pandemic went through the village. Because the villagers were mostly fisherman from Huian County, Fujian, they called on the best god they knew, the protector of their home county.
The temple was renovated in 2006.
The end of the street leads to Huaxi Night Market, a medium sized night market in Taipei, known for selling snake meat. This place deserves its own blog. but for now, check out this blog by Betty.
Some people walking through the night market area during the day time.
Another view from the back of the old street.
An abandoned historical building on the corner, likely dating back to the Qing Dynasty.
Another corner on the old street, with a building half torn down.
Another old building with Binlang Stand, Duck Head shop, and political ad.
Now you know what Bangka Old Street is like. To be honest I was a little disappointed. It's probably a cool place to walk by if you are going to Huaxi Night Market. Even though it is listed as a historical old street for tourism, it seems like little effort has been made to restore it or make it attractive to tourists, which is actually the case for many old streets in Taiwan.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more of our adventures in Taiwan!
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling 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.