I don’t really have any specific activities or things to look out for in Jiufen and Shifen…it’s mostly about soaking in the atmosphere when you’re there so be warned that this post is going to be more pictorial than anything.
Breakfast at Fuhang Doujiang
To start off, here’s a special mention for breakfast before you head out to Jiufen and Shifen from Taipei: the popular soy milk from Fuhang Doujiang (阜杭豆漿), just one stop away from Taipei Main station.
Alight at Shandao Temple (善導寺) and exit to Huashan market.
Get there early to beat the crowd!
Other than the soy milk, you should try their shaobing with youtiao (think crispy flour fritters inside a fluffy and buttery flatbread). Well worth the calories.
Getting to Jiufen from Ruifang Station
I opted to take the TRA from Taipei main station to Rui Fang and transfer to a bus. The journey takes almost an hour and a half.
The bus stop was no longer outside the convenience store opposite Rui Fang station as most travel posts shared. You got to walk down the streets for a while, past the police station to get to the bus stop.
Alight at Shengping Theatre (昇平戲院). Admission to the theatre is free and if you’ve got the time to spare, you might want to take a quick look around the place.
Some of the several nostalgic exhibits they have there.
I don’t have a guide or list of must-dos at Jiufen, unfortunately. I simply walked wherever the paths led me. Wasn’t really the leisure walking I preferred, due to the crowd in the area brought by the last day of sky lantern festival.
The stalls at Jiufen old streets mostly either sold souvenirs or snacks.
Special mention for snack – this PORK sausage which was BARBECUED PERFECTLY AND overflowing with juices.
You can get them from this unassuming stall:
Sipping a cup of hot tea at the tea houses overlooking most of Jiufen may be on most of your itineraries but make sure to check the weather beforehand. Because with the visibility like this, you might want to consider:
Walked around a little more, hunting down the spots reminiscent of the setting in Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.
And passed by Sculptor Wu’s ghost masks museum…
I found my way to the information centre and was told that there were no direct buses from Jiufen to Shifen. Might have been due to the festival that day that they stopped the buses plying between Jiufen and Shifen.
Regardless, I took a bus back to Ruifang and managed to catch the shuttle bus to Shifen for NT30 (covers the return trip). Please try to get a seat because the road up to Shifen is just way too bumpy. Swear I was going to lose my balance and crash into the windows anytime.
Annnnnd the shuttle bus dropped us in the middle of nowhere. 😰
The only sign of civilisation was the signage pointing us to Shifen waterfall.
I overheard some locals advising other tourists to a shortcut to Shifen waterfall. Even though it was opposite from where the sign was pointing, I followed them anyway.
If you take the same route, you will enter through this park and view the waterfall from behind:
And the waterfall:
Nothing impressive, really. You’ll need less than an hour to take in the sights in the vicinity.
I headed back in the opposite direction and spotted the colourful Pinghsi line on the way.
You could also take the train on the Pinghsi line up to Shifen that day but it would have been really crowded.
Walk down a little further for the old street.
The tracks were flanked by numerous shops touting their sky lanterns which often came with photo taking services. You will be surprised at how professional and thorough their services are.
They will make sure to capture all faces of your lanterns before you release it into the sky. All of these takes place on the railway tracks so during the process, you got to look out for the incoming train so you could step back up to the platform for the train to pass.
- Travel.Snap.Stories on their ride on the Pinghsi line
- If you are looking to visit Yeliu and Keelung as well, check out this itinerary by J Babies