Last Saturday I had a terrible sleep and I decided to treat myself to a day of exploration. I’m so glad I did!
I managed to catch a train around 11am and with it being Sunday, it was SO BUSY! Everyone was squashed together on the train. Couples, grandparents, babies, business men and a few tourists too!
The train runs directly from Hsinchu to Yingge (Keelung bound) and takes around 1h5 minutes. Not too bad.
It was boiling hot, I had to sweep my hair off of my face and ponytail it – I was sporting a proper touristy/hiking look. There are maps everywhere. Outside the ticket gates, at both station exits and various points along the way. The roads are paved with beautiful Chinese style plaques and ceramic pieces. You exit on Wenhua road and take a right down the hill. You can reach the Old Ceramics Street from about 5 different ways. So either get a map / google maps and take your pick, or follow the brown tourist signs – up to you!
Even if you’re not on the Main Street you can see temples, ceramic stores, coffee stops and market stalls, so you won’t feel like there’s nothing to do.
The old ceramics street is lovely. It’s unique, historical, calming and fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed walking around and just looking at all the pieces. As it’s one of my mum’s favourite towns, I felt like I should have bought her something yet nothing jumped out at me as being special, so I didn’t.
You can walk through an old firing tunnel into the pottery classroom where people of all ages are making their own creations. For NT$150 you can make a simple, take away today, pot or you can paint and glaze something, and come back in 21 days to pick it up.
They also sell old creations that nobody came back to collect. Personally I can see why they didn’t, and don’t understand why any one else would want them but hey-ho!
Naturally, some of the shops are extremely expensive, some are cheap copies and others are lovely, mid-ranged places to shop.
One place I’d recommend is Shu’s Pottery – Jianshanpu Road – because it has a mixture of ceramics, art work, a cafe and a pottery class section too.
I stopped at the cafe / bar for an espresso and amazing peanut butter cookie for just NT$70 and the barista was just so lovely! He was really friendly and recommended lots of local places too.
I walked over to the Ceramic artist park, just a 15 minute walk from the train station and it was a huge open space that overlooked the river and mountains, and also had some enormous ceramic pieces – great for photo shoots!
I hopped on a bus to Sanxia, and despite all the travel guides saying ‘just take a taxi’ – why? Just take the bus!!! It’s NT$15 and only takes 20 minutes. It stops a 5 minute walk from Sanxia old street.
You’ll find two temples, a beautiful bridge and loads of the famous bull horns bread.
Just a note here guys – I was excited to find out what this bread was, but it turns out they’re croissants. Okay they come in loads of flavours, but they’re croissants!
I was so disappointed- haha!
Anyway, I bought myself some postcards, a fresh watermelon juice, gave a few coins to various street artists and looped back around to the bus stop.
It was a boiling hot day but worth every minute in the sun. I absolutely loved it and would recommend both places to anyone visiting Taipei.