Exploring Sanxia

I’m sure you’ve visited Jiufen and Yingge, but what about Sanxia? This is a town southwest of Taipei City which is full of history and the perfect place for a day out. In the 1920s, it was a bustling area due to the river, which was used for transportation and the thriving indigo dye industry. It enjoyed success all through the Japanese occupation. However, in the 1950s with the rise of other modes of transport and the invention of synthetic dyes, the town’s economic importance slowly declined. It remained a culturally significant location, due to Qingshui Zushi Temple, which has a long history. It was restored after World War II by the famous artist, Li Mei Shu, who dedicated his life to rebuilding the temple. The whole complex is truly a work of art.
Sanxia-COT-0224 - 3-vat
Indigo dye vat at Sanxia
Our finished indigo dyed scarves
Our finished indigo dyed scarves

Three Aspects of Exploring Sanxia

Today, you can enjoy a day exploring all these different aspects of Sanxia. There are various places which still sell indigo-dyed products and you can join a workshop to learn all about the process. For me, there is nothing more satisfying than taking a white scarf, wrapping it up in a certain way and plunging it into a huge vat of indigo dye to produce something deep blue with a pattern of your choosing.

After that you can stroll along the old street enjoying the beauty of the historical buildings with intricate carvings. Browse the quirky souvenir stores or shops for leather goods and tea. You can also stop for lunch or try the Taiwanese croissant which is a specialty in this area and comes in all sorts of flavors from brown sugar to green tea.
Sanxia street art
Sanxia street art

Carvings and street art

Be sure to allow time to visit Qingshui Zushi temple and appreciate some of the numerous carvings that cover every surface. On your way there, take a peek down the alleyways as there is also a lot of street art in this zone and you might spot a black bear, an army helicopter or a Taiwanese street scene decorating the walls.

Finally, if you have the chance, keep an eye out for the pickle shop close to the temple. The array of jars is wonderful and the chilli sauce is quite tasty. There is also a very busy street market close by with mountains of fruit and vegetables lining the street, including some that I’ve never seen before.

Sanxia is an easy day’s outing from central Taipei, but if you want some company then I recommend you sign up for the Center tour on February 22.

lucy torres 2
Lucy Torres is a volunteer at The Center but is more often found on a hiking trail. She loves exploring different routes to find beautiful views and relax in the great outdoors.

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