Shuangxi Old Street is a small old street in Shuangxi Village of Shuangxi District. The old street dates back to the Danlan Old Trail, one of the first Qing settlements in the area, and a church established by George Mackay. The street itself is mainly historical and does not attract many tourists. Now Shuangxi is a quiet town with some snacks and restaurants, lots of nature sights, mountain roads, camp sites, and hiking trails nearby.
The name Shuangxi comes from the name of the two rivers that converge inside the town, the Mudan River (牡丹溪) and the Pinglin River (平林溪).
During the Qing Dynasty, Shuangxi 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 Shuangxi was on the Northern Path. The Northern Path winded from Mengjia Old Street to Nuannuan, then to Ruifang, and onto Jiufen and Houtong. From Houtong, the road then went to Mudan and then Shuangxi, then went along the coast to Yilan. During this time, most of the things traded were tea leaves and agricultural goods.
There was once a ferry dock in Shuangxi to help ship goods out to sea along the Shuang River.
Historically Shuangxi and the areas nearby have been rural, and in the 1900s relied on coal, gold, and mercury mining to drive the economy. The mining industry died down in the late 1900s and is now defunct.
Currently Shuangxi District has a population of only about 10,000 people, and is dropping every year.
The Shuangxi Train Station is a second tier station, with Tze-Chiang class trains stopping here. There are about 1600 people coming and leaving the station every day.
Now it is a quiet town with a fair amount of tourists, especially cyclists, and lots of nature sights, mountain roads, and hiking trails nearby.
How to get there:
By Train: Take the TRA to Shuangxi Station, the old street is a short walk south.
By Car/Scooter: From Taipei, on provincial highway 5 until you reach Keelung, then take provincial highway 2B to Shuangxi. You then need to take county raod 102 to Mudan. The old street is only one lane, so you can get stuck if driving a car.
Please see below:
I have been to Shaungxi a few times, usually on my way to my favorite beach in north Taiwan, Fulong. It has a surprising amount of food options near the train station, that are really cheap for northern Taiwan. The old street is purely historical and not really touristy, but it is marked clearly and is enjoyable for those interested in Taiwan's history.
Check out our video of Shuangxi shown above for an overview of the area.
Many of you may want to come to Shuangxi by train, which is a great choice. The train station is right in the middle of town, and you can rent a bike to get around.
Maps of Shuangxi shown above.
There are a few shops in front of the train station that you can check out, and some pretty good restaurants.
There is a bike rental place right next to the train station.
Some random shops near the train station.
Shuangxi Presbyterian Church 雙溪長老教會
One of the main historical sights in Shuangzi is Shuangxi Presbyterian Church, which was established by George Mackay and completed in 1887.
Reverend Mackay, the first Presbyterian Missionary to Taiwan and one of the best known westerners ever in Taiwan, resided in Tamsui, but also set up churches in Shuangxi and Yilan. He died here in 1901, and left behind a hospital and university that still stand to this day. He was one of the most influential westerners ever to come to Taiwan.
For a full biography on Reverend Mackay's life, check out this article.
Clsoe up on the plaque of the church. The church has recently been remodeled and expanded.
Original stone plaque near the parking lot.
Shuangxi Old Street 雙溪老街
The main temple in Shuangxi sits at the head of the old street, called Shuangxi Sanzhong Temple (雙溪三忠廟). The temple was established in 1868, and is the only temple in Taiwan dedicated to Wen Tianxing, who resisted the Yuan invasion at the end of the Song Dynasty, and is an example to loyalty and patriotism.
View down the old street on an overcast day.
Another view looking the other way.
The only shop on the street that somewhat resembles a tourist attraction is the Linyi Hetang (林益和堂) residence pictured here, a Chinese medicine shop.
View of the shop inside with more local history and Chinese medicine for sale.
An arch left over from an abandoned house.
Stone architecture dating back to the 1800s Qing Dynasty.
View further down the old street.
Shaungxi Ferry Dock (雙溪渡船碼頭)
View of the old ferry dock (雙溪渡船碼頭) at the end of the old street.
A faded sign explaining that during the Qing Dynasty the Shuangxi Ferry dock was a very important juncture along the Danlan Old Trail.
Another view looking down the Shuang River.
View looking up the Shuang River.
Abandoned house near the old street.
View of the rivers converging.
View of Shuangxi Village from the air.
An older house near the old street that is still habited.
Remnants of Qing Era Opium Den 清朝鴉片屋遺址
Along the old street near the convergence of the two rivers you can find the remnants of a Qing Dynasty era opium den.
Closeup on the old stone wall.
Stone doorway into an empty house.
Another view of the empty house.
Stone wall with marks of an old roof that once stood here.
More views of the old house.
Kitchen area of the old house.
Old stove now in the opne air.
What I assume is a former Earth God shrine now in disuse.
Near the abandoned house and intersection of rivers there is actually a visitors center for Shaungxi Old Streeet, in a tin roofed house. Here they have a chalk map of the Danlan Old Trail.
Important historical buildings in Shuangxi Village.
More historical monuments in Shuangxi.
Paintings of Qing Dynasty era Shuangxi.
Another painting of the area.
I think this is a poem about a girl in Shuangxi.
Local arts and crafts.
More old buildings along the old street.
Old doorway on a house still in use.
Looking down another alleyway on the old street.
Shuangxi Donghe Theater 雙溪東和戲院
Just across the river from the ferry dock, you can find Shuangxi Donghe Theater, which is marked on Google Maps.
The theater was in use during the mid 1900s when the coal mining industry was booming. Most of the patrons here were coal miners.
After the coal industry died down in the 1980s, the theater then likely fell into decay. It used to be three stories tall, but due to flooding and typhoons basically the whole building was knocked down.
For another great blog on this building in English, check outthis blog by Spectral Codex.
The theater can easily be accessed and visitors are welcome.
View into the alley to the side wall of the theater.
View of the old entrance to the theater.
Another entrance later filled in?
Looking at the side wall from outside.
Here there is an exhibition on TR bricks.
TR bricks were Japanese era bricks made by the TR brick company, known for their strength.
Looking back toward the ferry dock and opium house.
This would have been the inside of the theater about 50 years ago.
As for food in Shuangxi, there is a central market in the middle of town that usually has lots of food stalls, but are not open too late at night.
There are also other random coffee shops and restaurants in town that are not expensive.
View down the main street in Shuangxi.
View up the Pinglin River.
Another view of the market with people selling intestine noodles.
Another view looking straight back at the historic ferry dock.
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