Must See Taiwan – Shiding and Shenkeng

Shiding (石碇) and Shenkeng (深坑) are two small towns found just to the east of Taipei, Taiwan.  They’re both withing 3o minutes of Taipei’s  convenient MRT system and together, they make for a great day trip out of the city.

Shiding (石碇)

Shiding is a simple mountain village located at the convergence of two small mountain streams.  It’s got an old-time Taiwan feel to it, and in fact has many stores that are over a century old.  It also has two very clean, fish-filled streams that come from virgin forests high above, in the nearby mountains.

Tree roots overgrowing an old doorway in Taiwan

Doorways don't get much cooler than this.

Developed in the Qing Dynasty, the local climate is slightly cooler than the basin below and is perfect for growing tea.  Although not one of northern Taiwan’s more famous tea growing areas, many tea farms can be found nearby.

During the Japanese occupation era, coal was found in the surrounding mountains and the “Taipei Coal Mining Co.” was started.  During this time Shiding was a bit of a boom town, and many stores, hotels and foreigners could be found there.

Today, Shiding has become a sleepy town, with just a few visitors from Taipei stopping by to taste the famous tofu.  Nearby is an excellent hike called “The Emperor’s Hall” or Huang Di Dian (皇帝殿), that I can personally highly recommend.  (Another good day trip would be to get up early, do the hike, then relax in Shiding afterwords.)

It’s also got a nice arts center that’s worth a visit and some local handy crafts available in the center and in various shops around the village.

Shiding, Taiwan

Shiding, Taiwan

Very tall highway overpass

Two bridges. One old, one new.

Old Asian Taiwanese House

This shop is over 100 years old. It's a pharmacy where they used to make the medicine by hand. Note the awesome Qing era stonework.

Ancient Taiwanese Medicine Making Tools

Tools used by the old medicine makers in the 100 pharmacy.

Old Hideaway

We found this nice hideaway balcony behind the old pharmacy.

Shiding, Taiwan Blacksmith Shop

This blacksmith shop is one of Taiwan's last remaining traditional metal shops.

Traditionally Made Taiwanese Knives

This blacksmith shop is one of Taiwan's last remaining traditional metal shops.

Shiding Tamlan Arts Center

Inside Shiding Tamlan Arts Center

Shiding Stream

The stream cuts through the sandstone bedrock like butter in Shiding, Taiwan and leaves some interesting rock formations.

Taiwanese Black-Crowned Night-Heron

A Black-Crowned Night-Heron fishes in the clean waters of Shiding, Taiwan.

Shiding Town Square, Taiwan

The main square of Shiding has a nice square to sit and relax, or dip your toes in the cool water from the river.

Very high highway overpass above a small vilage in Taiwan

The new National Route 3 runs over Shiding, Taiwan. It rises over 70m from the valley floor.

Shenkeng Old Street (深坑老街)

On the way back to Taipei from Shiding, hop of the 666 bus at the entrance to Shenkeng Old Street (深坑老街) in Shenkeng.  You’ll easy know you’re there by the horrible smell of sticky tofu that the market is known for.

While I’m no fan of the infamous concoction, Taiwanese people love it and pack into this quaint market to buy it from the famous stores.  I will admit that the stinky tofu found here seemed a little less stinky than from the other places that I’ve tried it, and isn’t completely unpalatable, but it’s just not a dish for me, you know?

The Old Street is still half under construction (old street?), but interesting nonetheless.  It doesn’t have any of the clothing and chain stores that you see in Taipei City night markets.

The market is geared more towards tourists, but not at the expense of selling a bunch of useless junk.  We found some beautiful handicrafts and antiques in a few of the stores, and some unique Taiwanese dishes in the restaurants.  Being famous for tofu, Shenkeng has many different tofu dishes available, but, not being a big tofu fan, I can only personally recommend the tofu ice cream…  light flavored and delicious on those hot, humid Taiwan afternoons.

Shenkeng Old Street Night Market, Taiwan

The Shenkeng Old Street near Taipei, Taiwan.

A Famous Stinky Tofu Vendor Sells Tofu

This famous stinky tofu stall in Shenkeng, Taiwan, had a long line of people waiting to buy the odd food.

A Famous Stinky Tofu Stall

This famous stinky tofu stall in Shenkeng, Taiwan, had a long line of people waiting to buy the odd food.

Taiwanese Confectionery

Besides stinky tofu, Shenkeng Old Street has many traditional Taiwanese foods for sale. This vendor has many kinds of confectionery deserts.

Traditional Taiwanese Restaurant

A woman stirs several types of tofu dishes on Shenkeng Old Street, near Taipei, Taiwan.

Fresh Produce on Shenkeng Old Street

Many local fruits, vegetables and spices can also be bought on Shenkeng's Old Street.

Hand Made Wickerwork for Sale on Shenkeng Old Street in Taipei, Taiwan

A vendor sells hand made wicker work on Shenkeng, Taiwan's Old Street.

Girls' Chinese Style Slippers

Hand made, wooden sandals for sale on the Shenkeng Old Street.

Practicalities:

You can get to both Shiding and Shenkeng on the 666 bus from Jingmei MRT and the Muzha MRT stop.

There’s also a great hike called Huang Di Dian (皇帝殿) that starts from Shiding that you can read about on my site and on Hiking Taiwan.

You can find even more information on traveling to Shiding and Shenkeng on Taiwan Adventures Online Travel Guide.

Cheers,
-Neil

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Categories: Must See Taiwan, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN, TRAVEL | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Must See Taiwan – Shiding and Shenkeng

  1. Gorgeous photos, love that area.

  2. I used to cycle out that way when I lived in Muzha but never actually stopped to explore the area. Shiding looks especially interesting.

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  4. Neil,

    Interesting reading and great images. Wish I’d known about your photos when putting together my guidebook – I’d have invited to submit pictures to the publisher. Rich Matheson (do you know him?) ended up doing the cover shot.

    Best wishes,

    Steven Crook

    • Hi Steven,

      No I don’t know Rich. It is too bad we haven’t “met” before. What guide book did you work on? I’m sure I would have been able to contribute something!

      -Neil

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  7. greenglobaltravel2

    That food looks delicious (but funky) in its own way. Great photos!

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