Old Taipei – Still alive Today!
If you are into photography, history, or are wanting to buy traditional gifts, Dihua Street must be on your list of places to visit in Taipei.
The Dadaocheng neighborhood and Dihua Street is where you can peak into Taipei’s colorful past. This part of Datong District 大同區 is rich in history like no other parts of Taipei. Here, you can see ancient buildings, shops that sell traditional products such as Chinese medicine and pottery, as well as quaint tea houses and restaurants.
Facts about Dihua Street and Dadaocheng
- Dadaocheng 大稻埕 is also called Twatutia, which is a transliteration of the Taiwanese Hokkien Tōa-tiū-tiâ .
- Dadaocheng was an important trading port in the 19th century – especially for tea. The wharf area is still there today, by the Tamsui River, and it’s one of the most popular places in Taipei to watch the sunset.
- Dihua Street 迪化街 has a few buildings that are more than 100 years old.
- Dihua Jie (jie means street in Chinese) was constructed in the 1850s.
- It is Taipei’s most historically diverse street in terms of architecture due to Mainland Chinese, European, and Japanese influences.
Ruby and I spent an entire afternoon in the Dadaocheng neighborhood in the fall of 2020, and most of the pictures in this article are from that day. We started our day in the northern part, at 迪化街十連棟 which translates as “ten consecutive buildings” and walked all the way to Beimen, Taipei City Wall North Gate.
How much time should you plan to visit Dihua Street?
We walked around for about 4 hours and we only saw the main sights along the road. You could very easily spend 2-3 days exploring the entire area of Dadaocheng, as there are so many little art shops, stores, temples, parks, cafes, street food. It’s a good idea I think to start in the north and make you way south. This way, you will arrive near Taipei Main Station, from where you can catch an MRT train to your next destination.
What are the main attractions in Dadaocheng?
In my opinion, Dihua Street and the back alleys are the main attractions in themselves. Even if you were to not walk into any store, you would feel like you’ve crossed a massive open air museum. Still, there are so many specific attractions and sights. Here are the main ones:
- Taipei Xiahai City God Temple
- Yongle Fabric Market
- Dadaocheng Wharf
- Ten Consecutive Buildings
- Dadaocheng Cisheng Temple
- Taipei City Wall – North Gate
- Dadaocheng Theater (above Yongle Market)
Popular things / gifts to buy in Dadaocheng
- Chinese medicine
- traditional Chinese cake
- Chinese lanterns
- Buddhist items
Places to eat on Dihua Street
While here, make sure to try Tong An Le restaurant! It’s a nice little teahouse which serves set meals with pork balls soup. Pork in broth is the local specialty here, and Tong An Le’s take on it is exceptional. The set meal comes with veggies, rice, fruit, and tea.
Ruby had the set meal and as usual I stole half her food. I had black coffee and it was on the light side, but flavorful. We also got some traditional Chinese cakes and they were honestly the best I’ve ever had! I’m not a fan of those cute little things, I’m more of a dirty brownie kinda guy, but they were good!
Name in Chinese: 同安樂
Address: 242, Section 1, Dihua St, Datong District
Phone: 02 2557 6939
How to get to Dadaocheng and Dihua Street?
If you wish to walk Dihua Street from north to south, which I recommend, then you can take the MRT and get off at Daqiaotou Station 大橋頭站. From there, it’s a quick 200m on foot to the “entrance” and the first sight you’ll see on your right are the ten consecutive buildings, which are some of the most photogenic in the area.