Lingjiao Old Street is a small street next to Lingjiao Station and the famous Lingjiao Waterfall. The old street has not been commercialized like the other popular old streets on the Piongxi Railway. Now that the Taiwan coal mining boom is over, the old street is a relic of the past that has stayed basically unchanged from those times.
The town of Lingjiao was named because it sits at the foot of a mountain (the name meaning literally "foot of the peak"). Lingjiao was a mining town on the Pingxi Railway, and a station there was completed during the Japanese Era in 1929.
From about 2000, the Taiwan coal mine industry had shut down due to the low cost of importing coal and safety issues involved with coal workers.
As of 2018, only an average of 28 people a day visit the station, probably most of which go to visit Lingjiao Waterfall.
Perhaps the most impressive historical building in the area is the Tsai Residence, which we will cover in the blog below.
How to get there:
By Train: Take the TRA to Ruifang Station, and then switch to the Pingxi Railway line. Get off at Lingjiao Station.
By Car/Scooter: Take provincial highway 2 east toward Pinglin, then get off the main highway once you reach Shifen. Then turn right and go west on county road 106 until you reach the Lingjiao Station turnoff.
Please see below:
Lingjiao station is a quiet station along the Pingxi Railway. It is not the smallest station on the line but also not very big. Most tourists end up passing through. Because I live near the area (30 minute scooter ride from Nangang) I can visit more often then most and that has given me the chance to take a closer look into this small village.
The old street starts next to the train station and goes up a small alleyway. Near the train station you can also cross the tracks and cross a foot bridge.
You can enjoy the scenery next to the Keelung River.
The only shop next to the train station is a small convenience store, which is very traditional. This store has probably not changed much in 40 years.
Further up the street are some older houses, as well as some hostels.
Also there are many signs to some minor historical sights and tourist attractions, such as some temples and old houses.
Old house with traditional wooden doors.
A view down the alley with some construction going on.
Some old streets in Taiwan are commercialized and sell all kinds of food. Some are just old and boring.
I noticed that Christmas lights on the windows here are popular. More on that later.
Another small alleyway off the old street just wide enough for a fat person to fit through.
An old brick home just beyond the old street.
The four major attractions in Lingjiao, Lingyan Temple, Lingjiaoliao Trial, the Tsai Residence, and Lingjiao Station.
The Tsai Residence 蔡家紅磚樓
The Tsai residence is the most famous historical building in Town. It was owned by a wealthy mine owner and was later used as a filming location for many movies and shows. Now it is a ruin.
Apparently there was a cleanup effort in Lingjiao back in 2015, the sign is now faded.
“The Tsai Residence"
"Tsai Residence is a western styled red brick house built by Mr. Tsai Chuan in 1939. Mr. Tsai Chuan established a mining business of Yong Chang coal mine. His oldest son, Mr. Tsai Shi-Yong, was one of the first representatives of Parliament. Mr. Tsai Wan-Zih is the second son. The majority of the Tsai descendants now reside in the Da-an district of Taipei City, although a portion migrated to California and Sydney. This house is currently managed and maintained by Mr. Tsai Chuan's grandson Mr. Tsai Sin-Chien.
The interior design and furniture are of exquisite taste. The short walls lined up on the end of the front row leave a passageway. A huge maple tree swings as the wind blows as if telling an old story. The Tsai Residence has been the location set of several TV shows and movies because of its elegance. If you come to visit Lingjiao, you must stop by the Tsai Residence and enjoy a quiet afternoon with deep tranquility."
Okay peace and tranquility here I come!
Wait, the place is a wrecked and rotting ruin?
As you can see from this blog, the Tsai residence was once well kept and actually a cool place to visit. There was a very nice garden and Christmas lights everywhere.
Now it is closed off, windows are missing, and it looks terrible. I wonder what happened to that grandson that was supposed to look after the place.
I noticed a Christmas light on the second floor, similar to the one on the other house above. As you can tell from this blog, Lingjiao used to be covered in Christmas decor, which I imagine looked pretty cool at night. Taiwan could use some authentic Christmas lighting that is not next to a mall.
A view of the side of the house.
Nearly all the windows are cracked or falling apart. I am not sure if the black stuff over the window on the second story is due to fire or just black material to cover the windows.
Also note the wooden reindeer. This place celebrates Christmas year round.
A junked bicycle and other material around the back.
An old sofa and peeling walls.
View into a storage room.
The back courtyard with more junk.
Second floor balcony with natural gas water heater.
Wooden steps up to the second floor which I was not going to risk my life on.
View out the front door.
So the Tsai family residence has been trashed. I don't know why. It could definitely be a cool cafe or restaurant and place to relax along the Pingxi Railway. All that potential is going to waste now.
One other historical monument in Lingjiao is the old suspension bridge that went across the river, connecting tracks to other coal mines in the area.
Other side of the broken suspension bridge, along with another ruined house.
Lingjiao Waterfall 嶺腳瀑布
Of course, after you have seen Lingjiao Old Street you should go down the train tracks and check out the main attraction in the area, Lingjiao Waterfall. Check out our full blog on the waterfall here.
Thanks for reading! For our full guide to the Pingxi Railway, click here.
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.