Dawulun Fort is a Qing Dynasty era fort that once guarded the coast along Wanli, Jinshan, and Keelung, among a network of other forts. Now it stands as a wonderfully preserved monument to the past, with great views of Keelung Harbor and Wanli District.
Dawulun Fort started as a seaside fortification in 1875 in order to protect Dawulun Harbor, Keelung Harbor, and the road from Tamsui to Keelung which goes through Jinshan.
Soldiers began being stationed on the hill at Dawulun as early as 1840. The fort was an important piece of defense during the Opium Wars and the Sino-French War.
A total of 10 Canons were placed at the fort at one time.
After the Japanese took Taiwan, the fort was not used after 1935 and fell into decay. When the ROC took Taiwan, they took down all the remaining canons.
The fort was declared a national historic monument in 1985.
Since the early 2000's some people have illegally dug around the site looking for buried treasure, even though a study in 2003 found that there was no treasure buried in this site.
Now it is a popular attraction in the area especially because of the great view of Keelung and Wanli that can be seen from the fort.
How to get there:
By car/scooter: Take provincial highway northwest out of Keelung, and take a right on Jijin First Road toward Keelung Chang Kung Hospital. The Dawulun Fort parking lot is at the top of the hill after the road turns into one lane. There is lots of parking. The trail is not wheelchair or stroller friendly.
By bus: Unfortunately there are no buses that directly get there, so you will have to walk from provincial highway 2, or take a taxi.
Please see below:
We have only been to Dawulun Fort once and we had a great experience. It was much better than the nearby Lovers Lake in my opinion. The views were better and the hike was easier.
Check out our drone video above for an overview of the area.
Or check out the 360 degree spherical panorama above.
This is the view from the parking lot, which is more than enough reason to come here. I will share more views from this parking lot at the end of the blog. For now, more of the actual fort.
A very washed out version of the map of Dawulun Fort.
The entrance to Dawulun Fort has a few short steps. Impossible to get a stroller or wheelchair in here.
"The Fortification of Dawulun Mountain has always served as an important fortress guarding the west coast of Keelung because of its critical location. Its first establishment was related to the eruption of the Sino-French War during the Qing Dynasty. The present facilities were left by the Japanese troops following the Russo-Japanese War. The main facility was finished between 1900 and 1902, and was the best preserved cannon of the Japanese Occupation Era in Keelung. The fortification includes two main cannons, ammo storage, observation post, and carriage path. There are also a command post, an office for officers, barracks, water reservoir, and toilets. The fortification was equipped with 9mm cannons and Type 31 Mountain Guns to monitor the sea area and the land path of Wanli and Jinshan. The fortress used to guard the west coast of Keelung. Many trenches were dug around the fortress to protect the military equipment inside it."
Path up to the fort.
A much better and clearer map of the fort.
Some forbidden things you should not do here. Just use common sense.
View of the main barracks area.
Brickwork of one of the barracks, which looks like it was partially restored.
Closer look inside.
Inside looking out at the ruined barracks.
Better view of the ruined barracks building, with an entire side wall missing.
Another side view.
View looing inside one of the rooms.
View inside the bathroom.
"The small sink on the left is for hand washing, the wall on the right is the septic tank.
"Situated at the center of the military camp with the front door facing the west. A stone-brick building for storage and military personnel's living quarters."
View of Keelung Islet and the Pacific Ocean from the east side of the fort.
Another view with Dawulun Bay in the distance.
You can also see Yeliu from here.
A closer look at Keelung Islet.
There is a trail the goes all the way around the fort, with a stone wall to the side.
Giant Orb Spider.
"Long stripe with 1.8 in depth. Stone stairways at both ends leading to the bottom of the trench for cover.
"North Ridge Fort"
"About 6m in width for infantryman to shoot from behind."
View inside the trench.
From the west side of the fort, you can also make you way down to Lover's Tower and Lover's Lake.
There is a nice platform where you can see views like this.
View of Lovers Lake via drone.
View of Lovers Tower via drone.
Another view of the tower from the viewing platform near the fort. Yehliu in the distance.
You can see a small bit of Dawulun Bay from here.
The wide open ocean with Hua Islet in the background.
Another view toward Keelung Islet.
Sunbeams over the mountains in Wanli.
Another view of the sunbeams.
More toilets on the backside of the fort.
Trench on the south side of the fort.
Water storage area.
View of the middle part of the fort.
9mm cannons once rested here. Now there is just a view of overgrowth.
View inside on of the rooms near the cannons.
View from the middle part of the fort.
View above the fort via drone.
View above the fort with Keelung in the background.
View straight above the fort.
Now that the tour of the fort is over, I will share some views from the parking lot.
View of a power plant and Heping Island in the background.
View of Bitou Cape from the parking lot.
Closeup on Keelung Islet.
View of mountains toward Xizhi.
View of Jiufen on the mountain from the parking lot.
View of the Taipei 101 from the fort.
A neighborhood in Keelung.
More sunbeams as seen from the parking lot.
Also be sure to check out our blog on Lovers Lake here (mentioned above).
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.