Dihua Street is Taipei City's biggest and oldest Old Street. Here you can find a large area with historical buildings and unique old style shops. Also there are many art spaces, museums, and restaurants to explore in the area. You should definitely make a stop to this historically rich area on your trip to Taipei.
The land that Dadaocheng (aka Twatutia in Taiwanese 大稻埕) 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.
Sections of Dadaocheng indicate that there was settlements here during the Dutch rule in the 1600s.
The first Chinese settlers came to the area in the mid-1800's during the Qing Dynasty. They created a public area for drying rice and grain, called Dadaocheng (大稻埕) from which the place gets its name, which also became the central market in the area.
The earliest trading shops were built in 1851, mainly selling rice, sugar, camphor, and tea. Dihua Street (迪化街), or center street (中街) was created around this time, making it the oldest street in Taipei.
In 1859 the City God Temple was completed, the religious center of the area, and many streets sprouted out of the area. Most of the buildings were one story and made of red brick in Fujian style, and later western style houses were built.
In 1891, the first train connecting Keelung and Taipei was completed. In 1902, Dadaocheng station was completed on the Tamsui Railway line. Tea and rice were the major exports from Dadaocheng during the Japanese era.
After WWII, the main street, known as Center Street (中街) was changed to Dihua Street, to remember Dihua City in Xinjiang.
Dihua Street is an important place to buy traditional food supplies and ingredients. It is particularly popular during Chinese festivals.
About 9 AM to 7 PM.
How to get there:
By MRT: From Beimen MRT station, walk north to Tacheng Street. Keep going until the street becomes Dihua Street (about 500 meters).
By Car/Scooter: Take Shimin Blvd. west to Tacheng Street. Keep going until the street becomes Dihua Street (about 500 meters). There is paid car parking on Shimin Blvd.
Where can I find a tour guide?
Check out MyTaiwan Tour.
Please see below:
I have been to Dadaocheng and Dihua Street a few times. It is kind of far from where I live in East Taipei so I do not go there that often. Before I went I thought it was a hipster side of town full of fancy tea shops. While that is true, there are also many historical and cultural sights to explore.
The blog below describes just one walk through Dadaocheng. There is much more to explore.
Map of the area with walking times.
Another map of the area with a list of attractions to see. I'm not going to get into that, because basically every building on the street has something special to see.
This is the first Watson's, and also the first western pharmacy in Taiwan, built in 1917.
Shop selling cloths and do it yourself fabrics.
The Dadaocheng theater can be seen clearly from the street, which still has traditional Chinese theatrical performances.
The Xiahai City God Temple (霞海城隍廟), which dates back to the 1850s and is one of the oldest temples in Taiwan. It is split into two parts and is the religious center of the area; it is extremely popular despite its size. Because the temple also houses the City God's Wife, it is also a popular spot for couples for those wishing to find love. For more about this temple, check out this blog by Josh Ellis.
Intersection along Dihua Street.
Traditional Chinese medicine and dried herbs along the street.
Another Chinese medicine shop.
Umbrellas being sold in front of a Chinese medicine shop.
Traditional bags and tools for sale.
Dragon fruit juice sold at a local tea shop.
Rooftop view on top of the Museum 207.
Original oven on top of Museum 207.
Panorama from the same rooftop.
View of the street below.
Flyer for museum 207.
Period photos from near Dadaocheng.
More period photos of the area.
More exhibits in the museum.
Chinese braided artifacts.
More period photos.
Delicious lunch at a local restaraunt?
Famous mural of Dihua Street.
Western style red brick buildings.
Sofa inside a Chinese medicine pharmacy.
Chinese medicine cabinet.
Mural on the counter.
Marble and wood chairs.
Old shaft for air flow, or for heating.
Old wooden door and sign post.
View of the original wooden roof.
A TV show was shot in this same building. I couldn't tell you where it was because I have forgotten. You have to go find it for yourself.
Traditional Chinese Medicine manikin showing the different parts of the body that let out Chi.
Ginseng roots, used heavily in Chinese medicine.
After you check out Dihua Street, you can also check out the Daodaocheng Wharf along the Tamsui River. Here are some more food stalls, a nice bike path, and great views the sunset.
Dadaocheng and Dihua Street are fun. There is lots more to explore here.
For other blogs on this place, check out Nick Kembel's blog here and Josh Ellis' post here.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more old streets in Taipei!
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.