Daxi was the earliest area to develop in Taoyuan. In earlier times, flourishing river trade made many local merchants rich. Some of these well-off merchants spent heavily on building ornate and gorgeous houses full of classical beauty to display their social status, leading to the formation of the best-known distinctive streets in Taiwan. Visitors to Daxi can admire the traditional buildings on Daxi Old Street and Xinnan Old Street and savor some well-known local snacks or buy gifts such as wooden tops and dried tofu. Not far from Daxi Old Street stands Li Teng-Fang Historic Mansion, a traditional Hakka residence that is well-worth visiting.
Daxi Old Street
Daxi Old Street refers to the area around today’s Heping Road and Zhongshan Road. As well as the Old Street buildings, other well-known attractions include Daxi Bridge, Li Teng-Fang Historic Mansion, old temples and historic sites, and the Daxi Wood Art Ecomuseum. Of course, Taiwanese snacks and children’s toys are another reason to visit. The Old Street has many snacks that are loved by locals and visitors alike, such as Daxi dried tofu, moonlight cake, peanut candy, tofu pudding, rice cake, and tangyuan rice dumplings. The wood industry once prospered in Daxi and today quite a few long-established wood working tool shops remain. The wooden tops sold by toy stores originated from the children’s toys that carpenters once made in their spare time. The annual Daxi Cultural and Art Festival features a large-scale wooden top performance.
From Taoyuan Bus Co. Station in Taoyuan take bus no. 5096 and get off at Xinjiewei (新街尾) bus stop.
From HSR Taoyuan Station take a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus (501, Daxi Express) and get off at Xinjiewei/Heping Old Street (新街尾/和平老街) bus stop.
Daxi Wood Art Ecomuseum
Turn onto Puji Road from Daxi Old Street; this area was the administrative and police affairs center in the Japanese Colonial Period and quite a few Japanese style buildings remain. In recent years, these buildings have been restored and reopened in succession to form the Daxi Woodart Ecomuseum. The Ecomuseum is not a single building, it spans the entire old center of Daxi, with displays on local culture, industry, and course of development, making the entire town a museum. Entering a historic building such as No. 1 Hall, Budokan Hall, and the Four Joined Houses that have been opened after restoration, visitors can quietly view the exhibitions in each building, experiencing a nostalgic atmosphere and learning in depth about everything from the story of Daxi’s wood art to the culture of the ordinary people.
Add: Puji Rd., Daxi Dist., Taoyuan City
Tel: (03) 388-8600
Hours: 9:30-17:00, closed on Monday
Xinnan Old Street
Xinnan Old Street is also called Zhongshan Old Street. In contrast to the bustle of Daxi Old Street, Xinnan Old Street is a low-key, quiet residential area that was once home to many rich merchants. On Xinnan Old Street visitors can view the ornate carvings on the old arches and enjoy the leisurely atmosphere while strolling along a red brick arcade. Visitors might have a chance to enter an old house to see the layout of old-style luxury building. When tired, spend some afternoon time in a tea shop enjoying fine tea.
This century-old building was originally the residence of Lu Ying-yang, a member of the local gentry during the late Qing dynasty. The front area is used for culture and history displays and the rear for tea drinking and lectures. Visitors can enjoy tea unhurriedly in the atrium or soak up the peaceful old-time feel in a private booth in the old house.
Add: No. 13, Zhongshan Rd., Daxi Dist., Taoyuan City
Tel: (03) 387-3711
Hours: Wed. to Sun. 11:00-18:00
Website: lantia1918.com (Chinese)
Sin Nan 12
This restored almost 100-year-old house is now an integrated space that combines food and drink, cultural and creative products and books. Art events and various kinds of lectures and activities are and periodically held. Every second Saturday there is a small-scale market where various products designed by young creators can be purchased.
Add: No. 12, Zhongshan Rd., Daxi Dist., Taoyuan City
Tel: (03) 388-4466
Hours: Wed. to Sun. 11:00-18:00
Old Residence of Li Teng-fang
Completed in 1864, this was the home of the Li family, a prominent local family; it is now a national historic site that is open to visitors. The Li family were Hakkas who migrated from Zhao’an in Fujian Province. After making their fortune in business, the family built the house in typical Zhao’an style. As Li Teng-fang was an accomplished calligrapher, the interior is decorated with many works of calligraphy. The building is ornate, elegant, and has a distinctive layout and decorations; it is also well preserved. It is worth a visit to learn about old houses and see how people lived long ago.
Add: No. 32, Ln. 198, Yuemei Rd., Daxi Dist., Taoyuan City
Tel: (03) 388-8600
Hours: 9:30-17:00, closed on Monday
Getting There: From Taoyuan Bus Station take bus No. 5096 and get off at Guanyin Temple (觀音寺) bus stop; from there, it’s a15-min. walk.
Daxi Tea Factory
First built in 1926, the factory was later rebuilt after a fire but it retains the architectural style and marks of history of the original building. The factory is still a working tea factory and a 70-year old tea rolling machine can be seen in the tea production area. There is a shop at the factory entrance where local tea products and fine tea ware can be purchased. The cultural relic display area was created by transforming a storehouse and has cultural relics and old photographs on display. The factory’s tea book house with its pu-er tea-decorated wall is a good place to enjoy tea and try some of the distinctive tea dishes served.
Add: No. 80, Ln. 732, Sec. 2, Fuxing Rd., Daxi Dist., Taoyuan City
Tel: (03) 382-5089
Hours: 10:00-17:00 (weekends until 17:30)
Getting There: From Taoyuan Bus Station take bus no. 5104 and get off at Shuiliudong (水流東) bus stop.
From Taoyuan Bus Station in Zhongli take a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus (no. 502; Xiaowulai Route/only operating on Sunday) and get off at Daxi Tea Factory (大溪老茶廠) bus stop.
Xi You Yuan Delicacies Restaurant
Add: No. 9, Ren’ai Rd., Daxi Dist., Taoyuan City
Tel: (03) 387-7769
Hours: 11:30-14:00, 17:00-21:00 (closed on Tuesday)
Longtan is one of the main Hakka settlements of Taoyuan. Many visitors are familiar with Sankeng Old Street. It isn’t very long and doesn’t have many businesses; in fact, time seems to have stood still and there is no sense of much commercial activity, but, for these very reasons, visitors can see traditional houses and how people used to live here. As well as wandering down the Old Street and buying some traditional Hakka foods, visitors can go to nearby Shimen Reservoir to eat tasty fresh fish dishes or admire the scenery from a café on the banks of the reservoir. Lingtan Street is a new attraction in Longtan that is worth visiting; quite a few young people have opened a business here, bringing new vitality to an old community.
Sankeng Old Street
At just over 100 meters long, Sankeng Old Street is known as the shortest old street in Taiwan. On one end of the street stands Yongfu Temple; 100 years old it’s the local belief center. Most of the people in the Longtan area are Hakka. The stores on the Old Street mainly sell local products and most of the restaurants serve authentic Hakka food. On weekdays, the street has few people and only a few stores open, allowing visitors to see its quiet side. On weekends and holidays, crowds of people pour in, small farmers from nearby set up stalls, and the scenes are bustling, just like in its heyday. There is an area of farmland at the rear of the Old Street where relaxing countryside scenery can be viewed. Visitors can also take a walk on the trails through the woods that border the farmland and discover the Cherry Blossom Trail, Tung Blossom Path, Formosan Sweet Gum Sacred Tree, and other minor local attractions. You can also rent a bicycle (only available on weekends) and explore places such as Sankeng Natural Ecological Park and Daping Red Bridge.
From Taoyuan Bus Station take bus no. 5055 and get off at Sankeng (三坑) bus stop.
From Taoyuan Bus Station in Zhongli take a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus (no. 503; Xiaowulai Route/only operating on Sunday) and get off at Sankeng Old Street (三坑老街) bus stop.
Lingtan Street Creative Hub
Lingtan Street is in downtown Longtan not far from Longtan Lake. High hanging lanterns and colorfully painted walls here are the backdrop for many people to take photos and check in. Businesses include cafés, small restaurants, dry-flower shops, antique general goods stores, performance spaces, and studios. Stalls run by vendors offering sketching and street art performance can often be seen on the side of the road, giving Lingtan Street an air of creativity. As not many visitors go to Lingtan Street on weekdays, visiting at weekend or holiday time is recommended.
From Taoyuan Bus Station in Zhongli take bus no. 5055 and get off at Longtan (龍潭) bus stop.
From Taoyuan Bus Station in Zhongli take a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus (no. 503; Shimen Reservoir Route/only operating on Sunday) and get off at Longtan (三坑老街) bus stop.
Yi Ren Sit Down
Natural foods made without preservatives and artificial additives are sold, including jam, fruit vinegar, grains, fermented glutinous rice and sauces, and vegetables grown by small farmers. The aim is to let people grow to like zero-burden, healthy and toxin-free foods.
Add: No. 29, Lingtan St., Longtan Dist., Taoyuan City
Cao Mu Jian
Various styles of Taiwan high-mountain and distinctive teas are available. As for tea snacks, gua bao (Taiwanese hot pockets) are sold; they are more creative and diverse than the usual ones, with flavors that can’t be found anywhere else such as Three-cup Chicken, and peanut butter and cheese.
Add: No. 44, Nanlong Rd., Longtan Dist., Taoyuan City
A famous scenic spot in northern Taiwan, Shimen Reservoir is surrounded by a beautiful natural environment. As well as viewing the imposing dam and spillway, visitors can take a leisurely boat trip on the reservoir. This is also a good place for flower viewing, with peach blossom, cherry blossom, and chrysanthemum in spring and a sea of maple leaves turning from green to red and snow-white plum blossom in winter. When the dam discharges excess water during the rainy season, people flock from all around to view the magnificent sight. The good water quality and plentiful food supply allow the freshwater fish here to grow plump and tasty. There are many restaurants that specialize in fresh fish dishes on Wenhua Road and around the reservoir. There are also scenic cafés on the banks of the reservoir where visitors can have a coffee while enjoying the fine view.
From Taoyuan Bus Station in Zhongli take bus no. 5055 and get off at Shimen Reservoir (石門水庫) bus stop.
From Taoyuan Bus Station in Zhongli take a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus (no. 503; Shimen Reservoir Route/only operating on Sunday) and get off at Shimen Reservoir (石門水庫) bus stop.
Dayang Plum Goose Village (大楊梅鵝莊)
Add: No. 2, Ln. 96, Shenlong Rd., Longtan Dist., Taoyuan City
Tel: (03) 480-6330
Hours: 11:30-14:00, 17:00-21:00
Da Jiang Wu Hakka Restaurant (大江屋客家料理)
Add: No. 65, Ln. 1998, Dabeikeng St., Longtan Dist., Taoyuan City
Tel: (03) 479-4547
Hours: 11:30-14:30, 17:00-21:00
Heng Wei Restaurant (亨味食堂)
Add: No. 25, Ln. 87, Minzhi 16th St., Longtan Dist., Taoyuan City
Tel: (03) 411-1000
Hours: 11:00-20:00, closed on Tuesday
Josh Ellis Photography:
Zhongli Police Dorms (壢景町)
Xianguang Second Village (憲光二村)