Taiwan's northern coast is an amazing, beautiful area with unique geology and rocks, lots of sandy beaches, amazing mountain views and hikes, old streets, night markets, historical sites, and much more to discover. Don't not come here.
Here is a map of the locations we will cover in this blog:
Also below is our drone footage for some of the locations in this blog:
Let's get started!
Tamsui District of New Taipei is famous for it's delicious food and historical atmosphere. It is one of the most popular and well known areas in all of Taiwan. Some local delicacies here include A-gei, iron eggs, fried squid, and other seafood. Historical places near here include Fort San Domingo, Hobe Fort, Tamsui Old Street, Bali Old Street, and the Shihsanhang archaeological site. There is plenty here to see and do for almost every kind of traveler...(read more)
Baishawan Beach 白沙灣
Baishawan is one of the nicest beaches in northern Taiwan. The sand is white, the water shallow (and warm in the summer), and it is relatively well kept and clean. Due to its proximity to Taipei, it sees lots of visitors especially from foreigners. Swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and kite surfing are all popular activities at this beach...(read more).
Harbor City complex 海灣城市
There are lots of abandoned buildings along the northeast coast, but this one is particularly obvious. For more information about this place, check out this blog by Alexander Synaptic.
Laomei Green Reef 老梅綠石槽
Just a kilmoter or two away up the coast from Baishawan, apst Fugui Cape is another popular tourist destination, Laomei Green Reef 老梅綠石槽. If you catch the reef at a super low tide, the rocks will be covered in green. Obviously I didn't catch low tide. These rocks were formed from the same volcanic activty that formed Baishawan. For more information about this place, check out this blog by Josh Ellis.
Shimen Cave 石門洞
Shimen Cave (aka Shimendong) is a sea cave on the Northwest Coast of Taiwan, in Shimen District of New Taipei. Its name (literally "stone gate") is the namesake for Shimen District in New Taipei. It is one of the major natural attractions along Taiwan's north coast...(read more).
Zhongjiao Bay Beach 中角灣
Zhongjiao Bay (aka Zhongjiaowan 中角灣, or Zhongjiao Shazhu Wan 中角沙珠灣) is a long sandy beach in Jinshan District of New Taipei, known as the most popular surfing location in Northern Taiwan. It is popular for surfing and swimming, and nearby there are also hikes, interesting rock formations, and the nearby Jinshan Old Street and Jinshan Hot Springs. It is definitely a relaxing place to spend an afternoon. Nearby you can also find other sandy beaches such as Jinshan Beach and Xialiao Beach 下寮灣 (Jinshan Ocean Waterpark)...(read more)
Gold Mountain Ranch and Resort (金山驛境)
Gold Mountain Ranch and Resort (aka Jinshan Yijing in Chinese, or simply "Horse Camp") is a campground and horse ranch in Jinshan District of New Taipei. A stay here includes activities such as horseback riding, four-wheeling, archery and bb-gun practice, and also a filling BBQ dinner and western style breakfast. Staying here makes you feel like you are in the rural American West, which is a unique experience in Taiwan. With a shortage of ranches and horse riding opportunities in Taiwan, Gold Mountain is a special place that you should not miss on your trip along Taiwan's northern coast...(read more)
Jinshan Old Street 金山老街
Jinshan Old Street (aka Jinbaoli Old Street 金包里老街 Jīnbāolǐ lǎojiē) is a popular historical street in Jinshan District of New Taipei. The most famous delicacy here is duck, but you can also find other traditional Taiwanese snacks among the numerous shops and restaurants here. It is definitely worth a stop on your trip to Taiwan's Northern Coast...(read more)
Xialiao Beach 下寮灣
Xiaoliao Wan (aka Jinshan Oceanside Waterpark 金山海濱浴場), is a nice stretch of beach near Jinshan Old Street. On the other side of the beach is a rocky shoreline popular for hikers called the "Jinshan Shuiwei Port Mysterious Coast 神秘海岸" which you can also check out.
Yehliu Geopark 野柳地質公園
Yehliu is perhaps the most famous geological park in Taiwan, with its most famous landmark being the Queen's Head rock. These rock formations have been forming for thousands of years through erosion of soft sandstone due to wind and water. Hurry and see these formations soon before they are gone forever...(read more)
Ocean World 海洋世界
Another great attraction in Yehliu if you have time is the Ocena World aquarium that sits in the parking lot next to Yehliu Geopark. It is like the seaworld of Taipei, and is by far the best aquarium in northern Taiwan. The one in Kenting is better though. As you can see above, there is a tank where you can see sea turtles up close...(read more)
Feitsui Bay 翡翠灣
Feitsui bay is another popular beach area in Wanli District of New Taipei. Besides swimming in the ocean, the most popular activity here is paragliding. You can jump from the hills above or be pulled into the air by Jet Ski.
Wanli UFO Houses 翡翠灣飛碟屋
The Wanli UFO Houses (aka Futuros) are a neighborhood of abandoned futuristic houses near Wanli Beach (aka Emerald Bay, Green Bay, or Feicuiwan) in Wanli District of New Taipei, and are some of the most popular urban exploration and Instagram destinations in northern Taiwan...(read more).
Lovers Lake 情人湖
Lovers Lake is a small lake a recreation area in Anle District of Keelung City. It has some easy trails, bridges, and a tower that looks over the area. The lake trails also connect to Dawulun Fort. Overall it is a nice scenic spot for a day trip in Northern Taiwan...(read more).
Dawulun Fort 大武侖砲台
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...(read more)
Keelung Islet 基隆嶼
Keelung Islet is a small rocky island oustide of Keelung Harbor. You can now go on day trips to the island with ferry access from Keelung Harbor. There are a few trails there as well as a lighthouse on top.
Miaokou Night Market 廟口夜市
Keelung's Miaokou Night Market is a large night market in northern Taiwan, full of all kinds of delicious Taiwanese street food considered by some to be the best in Taiwan. The market consists mostly of food stalls in front of the Dianji Temple in Keelung, streching on both sides down the street. It is said to be a must see night market and one of the busiest in Taiwan...(read more).
Ershawan Fort 二沙灣砲臺
Ershawan Fort (aka Ershawan battery or Tenable Gate of the Sea 海門天險), is a Qing Dynasty era fort that once guarded Keelung Harbor among a network of other forts. For a brief time was taken over by the French during the Sino-French War. Now it stands as a wonderfully preserved monument to the past, with great views of Keelung Harbor...(read more).
Heping Island Park 和平島海濱公園
Heping Island Park is a geo-park and water park on Heping Island, just outside of downtown Keelung. Here you can find many interesting rock formations in the sedimentary rock along the seashore. There are also salt water swimming pools, amazing places to go diving, a playground, hiking trails, and historical sights. Some would say this island is the world's best kept secret. It is definitely worth stopping here along Taiwan's northern coast...(read more)
Elephant Trunk Rock 象鼻岩
Elephant Trunk Rock is a rock shaped like its name in the Shenao area of Ruifang District, New Taipei City. There are also many interesting rock formations in the area. It is one of the most recognizable rock formations on the north coast and a popular location for, kayakers, snorkelers, and instagrammers...(read more).
Jiufen Old Street 九份老街
Jiufen is an old mountain village in Ruifang District of New Taipei City, and has perhaps the best old street in all of Taiwan, with authentic Taiwanese food, sloping steps, traditional Chinese architecture, and great views of Su Ao and Keelung Harbors. There are also multiple historical sights within the town. The entire village is built on a mountain slope, so that you can enjoy views of Taiwan's north coast from basically anywhere in the city...(read more)
Gold Mine Museum 黃金館
Jinguashi is a small village in Ruifang District in New Taipei, famous for its now defunct mines. Here you can explore the Gold Mine Musuem, touch a multi-million dollar gold ingot, see golden waterfalls, go on some of the best hikes in Taiwan, check out the old mining town, see Japanese era historic sites, and explore abandoned mining sites...(read more)
Jinshui Highway 金水公路
View of Jinshui Road, the winding road that goes from the ocean up to Jinguashi. Even though it is one lane, buses still come up and down this thing constantly.
Golden Waterfalls 黃金瀑布
Another popular sight here is the golden waterfalls, which are colored gold because of the mine and mineral runoff collected as the water moves through old mines.
13 Levels Ruins十三層遺址
The thirteen levels smelter, also known as "Shuinandong Smelter 水南洞選練厰" or Potala Palace of Mountain Mines. The smelter was built in 1933 by the Japanese to smelt copper and gold harvested from the Jinguashi mines. During WWII, POWs were stationed here to work in the mines. It was then taken over by the ROC after WWII, and shut down after mining activity stopped in the1981. Nowadays it is has one of the most popular abandoned sites in Taiwan.
Yinyang Sea 陰陽海
View of the Yinyang Sea "陰陽海," which looks like an Yinyang symbol due to impurities in the runoff from the old mines that run into the ocean.
Bitou Cape 鼻頭角
Bitou Cape (aka Bitoujiao/Bítóujiǎo) is a scenic area of coastline in Ruifang District of New Taipei, along the northeast coast, with popular hiking trails, interesting geological formations, a refurbished tourist military complex. and steep sea cliffs. It is a beautiful area along the coast that you should be sure to not miss...(read more)
If you go further down the road, you can make it to Longdong (aka Dragon Caves -龍洞 Lóngdòng) which is a popular spot for snorkeling, scuba diving, and rock climbing. There is also a large sea cave there (pictured above) from where the place gets its name. Here is our post from a few years ago visiting the cave: https://www.foreignersintaiwan.com/blog-370963385326684/long-dong
Fulong Beach 福隆海水浴場
Fulong Beach is my favorite beach in greater Taipei. It is easily accessible by public transportation (TRA Gongliao Station) has beautiful golden sand, a large shallow swimming area, and tons of food options within walking distance. The paid part of the beach features sand sculptures and lifeguards, while the free part of the beach is less clean but there are no annoying lifeguards to whistle at you all the time, making it a foreigners paradise...(read more)
Caoling - Fulong Bicycle Loop 草嶺-福隆環狀線
The Fulong-Coaling-Sandiao Cape- bike route is one of the most biker friendly routes in Taiwan, the roughly 2 hour loop is something that the whole family can enjoy. It includes a 2KM ride through the Old Coaling Railroad Tunnel, as well as a ride along the Sandiao Cape coast on an enclosed bike path, where one can enjoy great views of the ocean, Turtle Island, wavy geological features on the coastline, and historical stone villages along the way. This bike route is highly recommended for people of all ages...(read more)
The monastery is pretty impressive, and you can only get there by foot. There are some large golden statues and some great views of the area.
The monastery was started by a former ROC soldier who fought against the PRC in Burma during the 1960s. He then retired near Shuangxi and started this monastery. His religion is now international, has raised tons of money, and also owns the museum of world religions in Taipei to promote mutual understanding among religions.
Sandiao Cape Lighthouse (三貂角燈塔)
The lighthouse is a nice place to relax. Sandiaojiao Lighthouse (三貂角燈塔), also known as the Santiago Cape Lighthouse, built in 1935 by the Japanese. You cannot go inside, but you can enjoy the views from the top o the hill there and the museum inside.
Caoling Old Trail 草嶺古道
The Caoling Old Trail (aka Caoling Historic Trail) is a section of the Danlan Old Trail connecting Gongliao District of New Taipei to Dali District of Toucheng Township in Yilan. In the past it was an important shipping route for goods from Yilan to Tamsui. Now it is a popular and family friendly hiking route due to its convenient public transportation, slow elevation gain, grassy mountain hills, and great views of the surrounding area...(read more)
Taoyuan Valley 桃園谷
The trail to Taoyuan Valley is about 4.8 KM long and follows the ridge. You can see lots of wild cattle here. There is a great blog about this trail here.
Does Yilan count as Taiwan's northern coast? It's debatable. For the purposes of this blog, it does.
Wai'ao Beach 外澳沙灘
Wai'ao Beach (aka Gangao Beach 港澳沙灘, or Wai'ao Ocean Recreation Area 外澳海水浴場) in Toucheng township of Yilan County is one of the most popular surfing destinations in Taiwan. It features a long flat sandy beach and constant waves. It is also a special beach in Taiwan because you have a constant view of another island in the distance, Turtle Island. It is definitely a great beach worth visiting...(read more)
Toucheng Old Street 頭城老街
Toucheng Old Street (officially Heping Street 和平街) is the oldest street in Yilan, dating back to the Qing Dynasty. It was once the economic center of Yilan, but it's importance was later replaced. Now it sits as a monument to the past, with few changes as compared to its former glory. It's definitely worth a stop on your trip through Yilan...(read more)
Turtle Island (Guishan Island) 龜山島
Guishan Island (literally Turtle Mountain Island) is a turtle shaped island off the coast of Yilan in Eastern Taiwan. Once inhabited by fisherman, it is now a coast guard base, but is open for day tours. The island tour includes beautiful sea cliffs, hiking, a lake, abandoned village, military tunnels, and whale watching just offshore...(read more)
Jiaoxi is a beautiful township in Yilan County, known for its waterfalls and hot springs. It is a town with a population of about 35,000 people, and it seems it relies mostly on tourism to survive...(read more)
Wufengqi Waterfall 五峰旗大瀑布
Wufengqi waterfall in Jiaoxi is only a five minute scooter ride from Jiaoxi. and a very popular local attraction...(read more)
Luodong Night Market 羅東夜市
Luodong night market is a great place if you are looking for a snack. There are a decent amount of people, food stands, and variety for a small town night market in Taiwan.
Su'ao Crayon Factory 蜡藝蠟筆城堡
Su'ao's Crayon Castle (officially Luck Arts Crayon Factory) is a crayon factory castle in Su'Ao township in Yilan County, that has been specifically designed as a DIY experience center for kids where they can make their own arts and crafts, as well as their own set of markers, and crayon in the shape of Taiwan! The DIY activities include making markers and crayons, face painting, painting porcelain, making chalk, and water coloring. Basically, it is a paradise for young children...(read more)
Su'Ao Neipi Beach 蘇澳內埤海灘
Su'Ao's Neipi Beach in the Nanfangao area (Yilan County) is perhaps the most beautiful beach in northeast Taiwan. It is known for its romantic atmosphere and large waves, which attract surfers from all around. Popular activities here include surfing, kite surfing, kayaking, scuba diving, hiking, and watching the sunrise...(read more).
Some places we missed:
Go for a ride and discover the east coast for yourself! There are so many amazing places on Taiwan's northeast coast for you to discover.
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.