Why go to Taipei (Keelung)?
Although the city center is a distance away, the mass transit system makes it easy to access
Ships struggle to navigate the narrow channel into Keelung Port in inclement weather
See temples and shrines among skyscrapers and shopping malls in Taiwan's busy capital
Taipei (Keelung) Cruise Port Facilities?
You'll find very little directly at the Keelung port because it is a relatively industrial area. However, there are a few shops a short walk away near the bus station. A large night market selling food and goods is about a 20-minute walk away.
If you're not interested in taking the hour-long bus or train ride to Taipei, there are a handful of sites to see in Keelung within walking distance of the port, including the Dianji Temple, Miaokou Night Market and Zhongzheng Park, where you'll find a nearly 74-foot tall statue of Guanyin.
Good to Know?
If you're visiting Taiwan in late spring or any time during the summer, the weather will be hot and humid. Temperatures range from mid-80s to mid-90s with high humidity. Make sure you've got enough water with you at all times, and carry a hat or umbrella to protect you from the sun.
Getting to Taipei from the port of Keelung is easy. The train station is a five-minute walk away, and trains take about an hour to get to the Taiwan Central Railway Station. From there, you can take an MRT subway or metro train or grab a taxi.
The MRT system pretty much covers the beaten path (most places within city center are within a 20-minute walk of a station). In each station, you'll find bilingual wall maps pointing out that neighborhood's main attractions.
Taxis also wait outside the ship and can be hired for an entire day to take you from site to site. Keep in mind, most drivers speak limited to no English, so you should have a map of points of interest with Chinese characters to refer to.
Taxi drivers in and around Taipei have a reputation for honesty, but double-check that any taxi you get into has the meter going. Within Taipei, look for the "English Taipei Tourist" logo on taxis, which guarantees the driver will know some English.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The Taiwan New Dollar, also called NTD, is the official currency of Taiwan; coins are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10 and 50, while bank notes come in 100, 500 and 1,000 NTDs. For up-to-the-minute conversions, visit www.xe.com or www.oanda.com.
Cash is king in Taipei, though large department stores, museums and some souvenir shops accept Visa or MasterCard. You can exchange money at an exchange desk at the terminal near where ships dock at the Keelung port or use your ATM card at the 7-Eleven located right across the street from where ships dock.
Most people in Taipei speak Mandarin Chinese. English is new to the country but compulsory in school, so children are more likely than their parents to know some English. Most people younger than 30 should have a basic understanding of English, as do most shopkeepers.