The ship actually docks in Keelung, Taiwan, which is 45 minutes by train from Taipei. Even on (our) Sunday, the trains were often as frequent as 4 per hour, and cheap. We got small paper tickets that were to be inserted into the turnstiles ... Read More
The ship actually docks in Keelung, Taiwan, which is 45 minutes by train from Taipei. Even on (our) Sunday, the trains were often as frequent as 4 per hour, and cheap. We got small paper tickets that were to be inserted into the turnstiles (entry and also exit) and were returned to you both times. We docked at 7:00 AM; The immigration officers had rubber-stamped color copies of our (held by the ship) passports, which we carried off the ship. Our ship had the spot farthest from the Keelung rail station, about 1/4 mile around the rectangular port basin. The first station-like building you come to is the bus station, which has a long passage to the almost new South Rail station. (Returning to the ship, you may prefer to exit the train station platform at the "-> Bus Station" end.) Getting off at the Main Taipei Train Station (there are two other downtown stops), we bought one-day Metro passes.
Our main interest was the Jianguo Holiday (i.e. weekend) Flower Market, under the elevated highway one block from the Daan Park (R06) Metro station. It was huge, about 500 meters long, with two aisles. We were particularly interested in their abundant and incrediby cheap orchids, even though they can't be imported individually by Americans. While scoping out the adjacent Jade Market (also very large, but hard to judge quality), we found a rather Western competitor of Starbucks (Lu.Coffee, ) where we had coffee and fresh panini for lunch. More daring diners can get NT$80 hot noodles with the additions of your choice, right inside the Flower Market. We later had tea at the lavish, theatrical Grand Hotel, because I stayed there on business in 1990. It's surrounded by a large, steeply forested park, with paved stairways and hiking, with a few shrines (and squatter's shacks.) The two subway stops nearest to the hotel (Red line) go to the main train station without needing to change. Read Less