Shezi Island – The forgotten backyard in Taipei

“Jilong River and Danshui River are by my side. The Shezi Island is as shiny as gold at the nightfall. My lover is calling my name, hoping it’s our future and our voice. Guanyin Mountain is across from me and blessing me. It blesses us for the day when we will success. Even the migrant birds bless me. The diamond Shezi Island in my heart.”

You might haven’t heard this song, which is specially made for Shezi Island by the citizen. There is no single community, or district to have such a strong sense of belonging. This name sometimes can be strange to the residents in Taipei, not even mention the tourists. Normally, there are two paths for people in Taipei to get to know the place, first is known during the rainy season or the typhoon season where the rainfall level has reached the new record; second is whether to develop Shezi Island.

In fact:

Shezi Island is not an island, which is basically a sandbank that has been shaped by the river. Since the Qing Dynasty, this has been the settle down place for the immigrants from the mainland China. Because of the fertile soil and convenient transportation, it used to be quite prosperous in history. During the reclamation era, growing a lot of big families, such as the Wang Residence in Xidi, Li Residence in Yan Building, or the Residence of Li Zhongji. The settle down and prosperous of these families has strong relation to the development of the agriculture. Because of this, Shezi Island has become the agricultural production base in the early age of Taipei. During the peak time, it even supplied 30% of the demand in Taipei City.

The Shezi Island now is more like a forgotten world in Taipei. By the sides of the narrowed roads, there are still many red brick houses. The streets, where you rarely see people, are filled with the atmosphere of the countryside in south Taiwan. When you walk along the road and get deeper inside, the small scaled factories suddenly appeared, which makes you feel like in the Shengang area in Taizhong. The declining agricultural industry can still be seen anywhere. The intertwine of culture and natural scene here makes it hard to believe this is also part of Taipei City.

Attractions

The attractions in Shezi Island are mainly cultural relics, which is basically old houses. The main street is from the section 7 to 9 on North Yanping Road. The major residences are concentrated in these sections, such as the Li Residence of Yanlou (63 North Yanping Road, Sec. 7, No. 12 Alley, No. 2), Wang Residence of Xidi (No. 200, Alley 2, North Yanping Road, Sec. 8) and Residence of Li Hexing (No. 15, Alley 133, North Yanping Road, Sec. 8). They have all been preserved well. The Residence of Li Zhongji (No. 86 North Yanping Road, Sec. 9) is the rare three-section compound, which is quite featured among others.

Dining

This is no decent restaurant on the island. There are many old snack stores on the Section 9 of North Yanping Street, which has some history. Also, you can find some “Juzai store” (traditional grocery store) here, which are almost extinct in Taipei City. The most famous restaurant is indeed a food stall on the street. It is called the “No. spicy in Shezi Island”. It mainly sells Tempura, Oyster vermicelli and other Taiwan snacks, which has nothing to do with spicy. However, the street food style and the simple atmosphere have made it the most popular stores.

Transportation

The only public transportation takes you to the Shezi Island is the bus, you can take Red line 7, red line 10 at the Jiantan Metro Station, then getting off at the Fu’an Fire Station of Shezi Island. There are UBike available at the Fu’an Middle School in Shezi Island, provided by the Taipei City Government. The cycling lanes and walking lanes are quite convenient in the island. Along the bicycle lanes, you can enjoy the view of the island, you can even see the view of the farmland, which can rarely be seen in Taipei.

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