Shiding Old Street (aka Shiding East Street) is a small street in the busiest part of the mountainous Shiding District in New Taipei. There are some great restaurants here, an old mining town feel, great views of old multi story houses towering over the rivers, and beautiful surrounding mountains. Also, there are some great hiking trails and scenery nearby.
The name Shiding comes from boats transporting goods from the area that used to use large rocks (shi 石) in the river as anchors (ding 碇). The Shiding administrative area (石碇堡) was created during the Qing Dynasty and extended from Keelung to Wenshan District.
The area around Shiding Old Street was the first area to be developed by Han Chinese in Shiding. In the early days during the Qing Dynasty, the Han Chinese settlers here mainly grew tea and leeks.
During the Qing Dynasty, Shiding was an important stop along the Danlan Old Trail (淡蘭古道 which means the road between Tamsui and Yilan), which was split into three paths, and Shiding was on the Southern Path. The Southern Path winded from Mengjia Old Street to Liuzhangli, then to Shengkeng, and onto Shiding which was a major tea producer at the time. From Shiding, the road then went to Pinglin and then Yilan. The Southern path was the quickest way to Yilan.
During the Japanese Era until the 1980s, the major industry in the area was coal mining, As the coal mining industry winded down in the 1980s and 90s in Taiwan due to lower worldwide coal prices, the economy in Shiding suffered and many people left.
The multi story buildings near Shiding Old street are a testament to the economic prosperity of the coal mining era.
Currently the Old Street is a popular stop near National Highway 5. Besides the local food and history, there is also some great hiking trails and scenery nearby.
About 8 AM to 5 PM.
How to get there:
By Car: Go east on National Freeway 5, then get off at the Shiding interchange. Continue east until you reach Shiding Old Street.
By Scooter: From Taipei, take highway 106 east from Shenkeng toward Shiding, pass through Shiding Bao Tunnel, and soon you will come to Shiding Old Street.
By Bus: From Taipei City Call MRT station, you can take bus 912 to Shiding High School, after that you will have to switch to bus 666 which will take you all the way to the old street (total about 40 minutes).
Please see below.
I have been to Shiding Old Street many times (it's only a 20 minute scooter ride from my home in Nangang) and I like it because of the lack of crowds and beautiful scenery. It is truly a unique area with its own character. The best part of it is the river that runs literally through the middle of the town and under the buildings.
Drone Footage of Shiding Old Street:
See above for an overview of the old street via drone.
Jingmei River Old Ferry Dock 景美溪舊碼頭
The western edge of Shiding begins along the Jingmei River. This river was an important means of transport along the Danlan Old Trail, to bring tea and other goods from Yilan, Pinglin, and Shiding to Tamsui. In the olden times, there was a ferry dock here which is long gone, but there are some steps that lead down to the river, which has become a popular fishing spot.
You can see more photos of the area above.
Danlan Old Trail 淡蘭古道
If you go to Shiding Old Street from Taipei, you will most likely pass the Danlan Old Trail and Suspension Bridge.
As explained above, the Danlan Old Trail (淡蘭古道 which means the road between Tamsui and Yilan), which was split into three paths, and Shiding was on the Southern Path. The Southern Path winded from Mengjia Old Street to Liuzhangli, then to Shengkeng, and onto Shiding which was a major tea producer at the time. From Shiding, the road then went to Pinglin and then Yilan. The Southern path was the quickest way to Yilan.
View from above the Danlan Old Trail via drone:
Before you come to the Shiding Tunnel, there is a small riverside park with the Danlan Suspension bridge, which starts off the Danlan Old Trail.
There are also some restaurants, bathrooms, and free parking nearby. It is a nice place to stop and enjoy the scenery.
All throughout the entrances to Shiding you can find this giant teapot statue, which represents the tea industry that the area is still reliant on.
The Danlan Suspension Bridge (淡蘭吊橋) goes over the Shiding River and has some amazing views of the small cascades and pools below.
View from the other side of Danlan Suspension Bridge.
After the bridge, the Danlan Trail goes along a paved path under National Freeway 5, and leads all the way the Shiding Old Street.
Xingde Cihui Temple 行徳慈惠堂
If you take a slight detour up the hill before you reach Shiding Old Street, you can reach Xingde Cihui Temple, which is dedicated to Huye (虎爺) the tiger God. From here you can see great views of the area and National Freeway 5. There are also some excellent hiking trails in the area.
If you keep following along National Freeway 5, you will eventually reach Shiding Old Street, the economic center of Shiding.
Characteristic of this place is the many rivers that run through the town, and the multi storey houses built right next to the river.
Near the old street is a historical bridge that once was used to carry carts laden with coal to the main road.
Closeup of the coal miner statue. For more information about Taiwan's coal mining industry, check out our blog here.
"The Black Gold (Coal) Bonanza"
Coal seams in Shiding lie under the rock bed. Coal mining began in Shiding during the Japanese Era. At the time, workers could make 80 Yen per day, which attracted many people to work here. In 1934, there were over 1,700 mining workers in Shiding. Mining stopped during the American bomb raids, but restarted in 1949, bringing in 1,600,000 tons of coal per year, which were used domestically and also shipped to Shanghai and Hong Kong. After the ROC retreated to Taiwan, demand for coal increased and capacity came to an all time high of 5 million tons per year in 1964, and the population of Shiding rose to 13,000. As petroleum was imported in 1969 and coal began to be imported in 1978, the price of coal dropped significantly. In 1978 after multiple mining accidents, coal mining in the area effectively stopped.
Looking down the river toward the old street.
The entrance to Shiding Old Street, which is officially named Shiding East Street.
Explaination of how Shiding got its name, and some local tourist sites.
Map of tourist sites in Shiding.
Yili Zong 一粒粽
A popular restaurant not far from the mouth of the old street is Yili Zong 一粒粽, which sells Zongzi, or steamed sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves. They are said to be the best Zongzi in Taiwan!
At the center of the old street is a fountain and a coffee shop to relax next to.
Wang Shi Tofu 王氏豆腐
Probably the best restaurant in the area that we tried was Wangshi Tofu. We had some fried tofu, Douhua, and turkey rice that was all delicious.
Delicious fried stinky tofu.
If you walk to the left of the street, you will come to a covered walkway with shops on both sides, next to the river. This is the most unique and characteristic place on Shiding Old Street.
There is a rustic feel here that makes it seem you have gone back in time.
View of some pots on a balcony outside.
A Mochi shop that was not open when we were there.
Tea accessories shop.
People Enjoying cherry blossoms in front of the old street.
View of the river below. You can walk along the river the whole way, if you want to. There is a small stone path to the side, but be careful because it is slippery.
Tons of fish in the river.
Another view of the river.
View of the houses built right over the river. I imagine this is so that the house dwellers could have easy access to water.
100 Year Old Stone House 百年石頭厝
One of the houses along the pathway is a museum that you can walk into. Here all the original housework and furniture has been kept intact. This house was once a dormitory for miners.
You can also read the biographies of people that have lived in the house, if you can read Chinese.
View of people enjoying the river below.
Another view of the winding river along the bedrock.
You can see this scenery all over Shiding as most houses are built right on the river.
A herron waiting for some fish.
An introduction to the fish in the Shiding River.
A sad looking house along the river.
View of the old street and the river as it passes right underneath the town.
Getting back to the main square at Shiding Old Street.
There is also an arts center in the middle of town (Danlan Arts Center 石碇淡蘭藝文舘), but it was closed when we were there.
Drone shot of Shiding looking west toward Freeway 5.
View of Shiding looking south, with the old mining bridge on the bottom left.
View of Shiding Old Street looking east.
View of the main square of Shiding Old Street.
Another view of the old Street, giving you a view of all the rivers and bridges here.
More photos of the old street can be found in the gallery above.
Other Cool Places to See in Shiding:
Shiding is a hidden paradise in Taiwan. There are tons of places to see and explore in the mountainous wonderland. Here are a few that I have found (we will create full blogs for these places soon):
Hungdidian Hiking Trail 皇帝殿步道
The Huangdidian hike is one of the best hikes in Shiding, giving a 360 view of the whole area. There are some rock climbs here, so it is a bit technical. For our full blog on this trail click here.
Road to Pinglin 到坪林之路
Highway 106 from Shiding to Pinglin through the mountains is gorgeous and should not be missed.
Huafan University 華梵大學
Huafan University is the University in the middle of nowhere (yes, Shiding has a university）。 There is not much to see here, but there are some nice views.
A view from near the university.
Pinglin Old Street 坪林老街
Just a little further up the road is Pinglin Old Street, another old street specializing in tea. I will write a full blog about this place soon.
Thousand Island Lake 千島湖
Thousand Island Lake is a reservoir that straddles Shiding District, proving amazing views that make it look like there are a thousand islands.
Rock Walls 石墻
There are a few rock walls in Shiding that look great for rock climbing, but I'm sure no one has ever used them for it. This one is just up the road from the old street.
A much larger rock wall lies deeper in the mountains.
Pudu Changsheng Bridge 普渡長生橋
Pudu Changsheng Bridge is an old stone arched bridge popular with photographers. I will blog about this bridge soon also.
Erge Park 二格公園
Erge Park lies on highway 9 near thousand island lake, and has some great views of the surrounding area.
View of the sunset near Erge Park.
There are so many new places to discover in Shiding. We will be posting more about this place soon, culminating with our guide to Shiding.
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.