Life in Taipei: 10 weeks in Sanchong

For the last 10 weeks since getting back to Taipei I’ve been staying in Sanchong, a rough & ready district of New Taipei across the Tamsui River to the west of Taipei proper. It’s actually on a large island, with a small distributary of the river bifurcating around it and a series of bridges connecting it to Taipei by road (the train lines go under the Tamsui).

In this pic looking southeast from the top of Guanyinshan (a 600m high mountain in the northwestern corner of the Taipei area, and a nice hike) you can see Taipei 101 in the distance to the left, and the big island in the middle of the photo is Sanchong gangland.

View of Taipei from the top of Guanyinshan

Gangland? Well, that’s how all my Taiwanese friends react – omg you’re staying in Sanchong, but it’s so dangerous! It’s definitely a bit rough around the edges, but it’s hardly dangerous and while I’m repeatedly told that gangs do operate there we’re not exactly talking Mexican cartels.

I haven’t seen anything remotely dodgy going on; what I have seen is loads of interesting little neighbourhood temples tucked into the ground floors of residential buildings, street art along some of the alleyways, and plenty of friendly locals who’ll smile & say ni hao as you pass. Oh yeah and loads of cheap, awesome food sold on all the main roads and street corners during the evening rush hour.

It’s a part of Taipei most short term visitors are unlikely to see, and it’s got some real old school Taiwanese character to it; there are downsides, namely the super high density of people (most of whom seem to smoke, everywhere), buildings, alleys, and especially bikes blasting fumes in your face everywhere you walk. There isn’t much greenery around, so I wouldn’t really want to live there long-term. But it’s been a cool place to stay for 10 weeks, and it’s pretty photogenic.

I failed to get any decent food pics as usual, but here are a few snaps of the hood:

Red temple lanterns suspended above the street in Sanchong, Taipei
Temple in Sanchong, Taipei
“…and the people bowed and prayed, to the neon god they made”
4-faced Buddha statue in Sanchong, Taipei
The Many-Faced God

This amazing little narrow temple is squeezed on to an alley corner near my friends’ place:

Temple in Sanchong, Taipei
Temple in Sanchong, Taipei

Those same friends recently adopted this little scamp, Bobo. He’s an ace little dude:

A lot of bikes in Sanchong:

Temple in Sanchong, Taipei

And street art:

Street art in Sanchong, Taipei
Street art in Sanchong, Taipei
Street art in Sanchong, Taipei
Street art in Sanchong, Taipei
Street art in Sanchong, Taipei
Alley in Sanchong, Taipei
Alley in Sanchong, Taipei
Amusing sign in an alley in Sanchong, Taipei

That last one cracks me up… answers on a postcard!

Staying in Sanchong’s also been convenient for hiking up Guanyinshan and a day trip to Tamsui via the Bali ferry.

For more Taiwan posts see here, also check out my Taiwan travel guide here and Taipei hiking guide here

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