When you want to get away from Taipei for a day, there are two possibilities: escaping to the hills, or escaping to the waterside. After having done the former last year, we tried the latter this time. Danshui, located near the mouth of the river with the same name, is connected to Taipei by the MRT. While the town itself climbs up the hill and contains some temples and historical sights, as well as a bustling morning market, the part intended for the tourist is definitely the waterfront. The promenade is crammed with shops and food stands. Busy ferries shuttle between the ferry pier and the town of Bali on the other side of the river, and Fisherman’s Wharf at the river mouth proper. Since apart from strolling along the waterfront, a boat ride is one of the things to do in a place like this, we hopped on a small ferry to Fisherman’s Wharf.With a roar that could make a helicopter blush with shame, it plied the smooth waters of the Danshui river towards the sea. Fisherman’s Wharf essentially consists of a Marina lined by more food stands and cafes. Its special attraction is the Lovers’ Bridge (or Valentine Bridge), which slopes across the harbor, imitating the shape of a mast and sail.
Since for once, the milky clouds had opened up for the sun, we had so seek some shelter from its brain-frying qualities. Back in Danshui, we discovered the wonderful Banyan Embankment, which lies beyond the busiest part of the promenade: under the wide cooling branches of a number of banyan trees which reach down towards the river, you can either chill on one of the benches or sit directly at the water’s edge to contemplate the lazy waves of the Danshui river.