Weekend Getaway: The Closest Beach to Taipei
Thursday, February 1, 2018
It’s the WEEKEND!! What am I still doing in Taipei?! Of course, I cannot just sulk around or force myself to spend money in the city just to be entertained. I feel like recently my life has been covered by a giant rain-cloud and it has been thunder storming this whole time. Being in a new country is pretty difficult when no one I work with likes to hang out. Also, along with the apartment rental fees, sim card activation fees etc, I need to try to make it until payday on Monday, (cause I’m trying to only spend my NTD paycheck instead of exchanging more than I need) so I decided to go to Fulong Beach.
Departing from Taipei Main Station
I actually didn’t leave Taipei until 1 pm haha. I didn’t know if it was going to be a day trip or a weekend trip. I thought of bringing a tent at first to camp out on the beach, but then I didn’t want to carry it with me throughout the day – not knowing what I’ll be doing during the day yet. I was thinking of just sleeping outside with my quick-dry towel. Haha (Canadian attitude). So, I headed to Taipei Main Station and took the local (slow) train, and arrived at around 3 pm. It was a slow 2 hour journey.
Purchasing Local Train Tickets
To purchase local train tickets, there are two methods – either at the machine or at the counter. If you purchase it at the machine, you’ll need coins as they only accept coins and not bills! There should be a bill changing machine nearby. You will also need to know where exactly you want to go in Taiwan (North, East, West, South) because they divide their destinations according to each of the four directions. This Fulong beach is in the East part of Taiwan.
When I arrived in Fulong, the air was HOT and HUMID! It was so different from the city! But being away from the things I need to think about had me genuinely smiling already – something I also haven’t felt in so long.
When you walk right outside of the station, you will see two rows of bike rental shops. There are solo city bikes and tandem bikes – although the solo city bikes are more common. They are all 100 NTD for a day. You can rent these bikes to ride around town as the traffic is very light so it shouldn’t be a problem even for the less experienced biker.
Food in Fulong
Even with the beautiful environment, my stomach was growling for my attention. I followed Lonely Planet’s recommendation and went to the food place that is literally to the left of the station (if you are exiting the station it is to your left and if you are entering the station, it is on your right.) It’s a lunch box place! Apparently, this is the popular thing around here. There are 3 choices – the Fulong lunch box (with tofu, preserved veggies, a tea egg, slices of pork, and half a sausage), the Chicken leg box, and the Ribs box. They are all between 60 – 80 NTD (That’s approx. $2.50 – $3.50 CAD!). Sweet deal! Okay fine, it wasn’t the best meal ever, but it was definitely interesting to eat something local.
Two Beach Options
And so after lunch, I followed the signs to the beach. However, I’ve already read that there’s two parts of this beach – one where you need to pay 100 NTD and one where it is free. I’ll explain the difference between the two.
1. Fulong Beach / Fulong Bathing Beach (福隆海水浴場)
The difference is that the paid beach is cleaner (because there are maintenance staff cleaning it), has lifeguards, and also has water equipment rentals. You will know when you are entering the paid-for beach when you see walk through a parking lot and see a white ticket booth on the left side. Since this area is maintained, there are opening hours. They are opened from 8 am – 6 pm daily.
2. Fulong Costal /Seaside Park (福隆海濱公園)
I was not able to find the free beach at first and so that’s why I found my way to the paid-for beach first. The woman inside the booth of the paid-for-beach directed me to the free beach, which was literally a 2-minute walk away. If you want to check out the free beach, you’ll have to look for signs that say Fulong Coastal Park instead of Fulong Beach. The town is pretty small so you’ll have no problem getting around. I have included a map below to show you where the two are in accordance to the train station. I ended up going to the free beach and staying there so the next few paragraphs will be about the free beach.
Beach Life at the Free Beach
I spent the rest of the day lying in the sun, getting salt water in my eyes, watching people surf, and reading my book. I recently started the book Wild: From Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed I’ve been wanting to read it for a while. The start is quite depressing, but I’m waiting for her to go through her journey on the PC Trail cause honestly, even though it’s my 4th year living overseas there are still so many things that make me go like, ‘So what is life really about?’ – just from meeting all these people with so many different opinions and religions and culture and attitudes and everything.
The beach was filled with young couples and young families. There were a surprisingly large amount of foreigners! I guess they are all expats. The water was shallow enough to wade really far in. There were ‘big’ waves though. I thought they were big because I’m used to lakes, so if you are used to the ocean these waves will properly very normal for you. The part with the nice soft sand isn’t particularly long but it is quite wide.
I actually went back to this beach a second time the weekend after and there were a lot of volunteers picking up garbage. I mean, it’s a really good thing, and it definitely made me really self-conscious as to whether I have anything that doesn’t belong to the beach on the ground, but these garbage-picking crews will definitely invade your personal bubble to get that piece of garbage they see.
Well, unfortunately, I did not stay the night. I thought it was too risky for a single female to sleep on the beach with no shelter (sad, but true).
LongMen Campsite (龍門營區)
If you are interested, there is a campground that is just a 5-minute walk from the beach. It is quite expensive though. They will charge you for your car and scooter if you’re driving and the camping fee per tent is 1000 NTD. Okay, I mean that’s enough for a hostel bed. The campgrounds here are also not really my cup of tea as they are just a flat piece of grassland where your neighbours could be 50 centimeters away from you! That doesn’t sound so bad when there are a few tents, but imagine 100 tents all on the same field! This site also claim themselves to be very well equipped. I didn’t go into find out!
Well, I’m going to leave you with a picture of the beautiful sunset! Have fun at the beach!
Ps. Trains going back to Taipei Main Station runs until 10:45 pm on Saturday nights. On the way back to Taipei, you can actually use coins, bills OR the Taipei Metro card to pay for your train tickets!!