Things to do in Northern Taiwan
Keelung, a 40-minute drive northeast of Taipei, is one of Taiwan's main international seaports. Keelung is an old city; it was once a base for Japanese pirates and was later invaded by the Spanish, Dutch, and French. Little remains from this era. Seagate Fortress (aka Ershawan Fort), built in the 1840s, lies on a hill overlooking the harbor's eastern side.
A hilltop on the western side features the remnants of a Dutch Fortress. Overlooking the city is Chungcheng Park, home to the 23-meter statue of Kuan Yin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy (pictured above right).
The Northeast Coast National Scenic Area offers amazing scenery (via the Blue Highway), from the foothills of the Central Mountain Range to the East China Sea and Pacific Ocean. There are some remarkable rock formations as well as places to swim, dive, surf, go water-skiing and camping, fishing and rock climbing.
Keelung's most popular dining spot for local food is the Temple Street Nightmarket (pictured bottom right), a large cluster of food-stands selling fruit, seafood, chicken rolls, and other Taiwanese snacks and desserts. Nearby is the Cave of the Immortals, a sea-eroded cave containing Buddhist shrines and sculptures. Keelung's 200-year-old Pingan Temple contains images of the Earth God and his wife, their faces blackened by centuries of incense smoke.