Explore Dihua Street 迪化街 and the Dadaocheng 大稻埕, one of the historic neighborhoods filled with vibes from mid 19th century Taipei and the most popular market area for Chinese New Year!
Great Sightseeing Near Homey
The Dihua Street connects Nanjing West Road and Minquan West Road and is the heart of the old Dadaocheng neighborhood (a guide to the Dadaocheng Wharf here). The street is lined with shops and vendors selling everything from traditional Chinese medicine ingredients to snacks, fabrics and there are also tailor shops, dotted with great restaurants, art galleries and craft shops selling contemporary handy craft items, such as a paper folding shop.
Sometimes it seems like almost every shop is selling the same thing, namely dried fruits, nuts, ginseng and dried wood-ear mushrooms (and a lot of other traditional remedies, mostly unknown to western tongues). A lot of the shops will offer you samples to try first, so you can decide easier what to purchase and bring tasty (or at least interesting) souvenirs back home. A must – try are also the local street food stalls, as always in Taipei, reasonable priced an not as foreigner accustomed as the night markets, letting you in to a more authentic experience.
Also located on that street is the Taiyuan Asian Puppet Theatre Museum 台原亞洲偶戲博物館 and the Nadou Theatre 納豆劇場, turning it into a local hub for traditional culture. The entrance fee is less than 100 NTD, as well as other museums that are accessible for free.
The buildings on Dihua Street are a heritage as well, some in the traditional Fujian style, some western style mixed with the local one or even Baroque buildings. On some of the buildings you can spot a high class family crest on the upper floor windows. Some of the buildings were built during the Dutch colonial rule back in 1600!
An absolute must-visit is also the Taipei Xiahai City God Temple located right on the main street of the neighborhood. The deity is a popular one to ask in love matters, being a favorable match making god. On the front side of the Temple you can get a cup of traditional Chinese medicine tea (sweet!) for free, to cleanse your body and soul before seeking your true love ;D
Dihua Street During New Year
The traditional Chinese New Year Market in Dihua street is said to be the most popular in Taipei during this season. The usually open for traffic middle of the road is taken over by street food stands and shoppers, with an government estimate of 1 million people visiting the market every season. The vendors sell street food like dried meat and new year decorations.
Transport to Dihua Street
Dihua Street and the surrounding area is best discovered by foot, since the walking distance from Homey Hostel is not far. However, if you already have a bit of walking under you belt for the day, you can take the Taipei Metro to get closer to your destination. However, only the public bus will take you directly to the location.
You have the option to take the Green Line to Shuanglian Station and then walk or take the Minsheng Metro Bus to Nanjing West Road Entrance. Or you take the Green Line in the other direction to Beimen Station and take Bus 250, 304 Chongqing Line, 639, or 660 to Yanping 1 (Nanjing).
Another option is to take a You Bike from the station near Homey Hostel (around the corner, really) and ride to Dihua Street, as there are several You Bike stations available. Most of the shops are open from around 10:00 to 22:30 every day.
If you set off by foot, there is a lot on the way that’s worth to discover too. Read over at Nick’s blog Spiritual Travels more detailed information about that! 🙂