Jiufen's Old Street
Also known as Jioufen, Jiu Fen and JiuFen.
Address: Ruifang District, New Taipei City 224, Taiwan (ROC)
How to get there: Shifen to Jiufen
Take the train back to Riufang station, infront of the station cross the road , walk until you see the police station or a children's playground and board the Keelung Transit Bus towards Jiufen, Bus 788 or Bus 825.
Travel time: 15-20 minutes
Bus Fare: NT 20- NT 30.
If you're in Taipei Main Station, take the same direction and buy an RTA ticket to Riufang station, when you get there cross the street from the station and board the Keelung Transit Bus towards Jiufen.
1. Food Trip
This place is a food heaven! If you're not a foodie then you will become one just on this very day. There are many to choose from: from taro balls to beef noddles, sugar candies, grilled squid, grilled snails, mochi's and freshly squeeze fruit juices.
I personally love to tickle my taste buds. Trying out exotic foods is one thing that makes traveling interesting. We passed by this open store selling grilled snails, immediately without consenting my friend I just bought the snails. Good thing it tasted great.
Walking along another street we found this store selling malt sugar. The owner gave us the frozen malt sugar so we can eat it right away. We pretended to be kids for a short while as we slowly licked our malt sugar lollipops. They have different kinds of flavors, if you want it soft you can just cut a hole on top of it and suck it out or just like what we had lick all you want with refrigerated or frozen one's.
2. Souvenir Shopping
A fabolous place to go on a souvenir shopping spree. There are plenty of things and goodies to choose from and all in an affordable price. Delicious goodies were the first thing I bought the moment we went in. One lady kept on feeding me different kinds of treats, then it turns out I didn't have the guts to go away without buying anything. Good thing, the black roasted peanuts is a must-try in Jiufen, a perfect giveaways for my brothers.
The souvenirs stores never stops, its literally all over the place from goodies to keychains, even phone accessories and home decors. Some of the stores offers 3 packs of assorted mochi's for only NT 120 and 3 keychains for NT 100 . I bought some assorted mochi's, rice cakes and lucky charm keychains.
3. Try local foods
We found this small Chinese Restaurant down below a staircase and took our chances of having a great meal. The place looks authentic Chinese, even sells traditional noodles and handmade dumplings. I've always been a big fan of those wanton noodles and fried dumplings so I ordered a bowl and a plate for it. It was worth it. A good meal at an affordable price. Check out the delicious taro rice cakes too but then you have to queue to get it. Other popular snacks includes: Taro rice ball, bean curd, preserved egg and yam products.
After going to different directions and corners in Jiufen's Old Street have a tea break. This is something you should do before going back to the city. My friend and I didn't really planned it out but we came upon this pretty house-like place along the street and decided to take a picture. Later we realize its a tea house it was a perfect coincidence and so we made our way inside to have some tea. They're quiet strict when it comes to orders, we've never been a big fan of tea initially we just wanted to have one pot and share it with each other. However, according to the service attendant each customer needs to order one tea pot. It turns out to be that one tea pot was trully and appropriately for one person. We almost managed to finish the whole thing, if only we didn't buy a watermelon shake before heading to the tea house. We enjoyed the tea session, most especially the beautiful view of the mountains and the chilly late afternoon wind blowing outside the window.
5. Enjoy the overlooking scenery
The end corner of Jiufen's Old Street leads to a beautiful overlooking scenery of the Pacific Ocean. People flock here to have a glimpse of the marvelous mountains and the wide expanse of the ocean.
6. See Old Lantern Decorations
Jiufen's Old Street brings back memories of old days. The red lanterns represent those years of pure simplicity and laid back life of the Chinese People. I love the nostalgic feelings it brings.
7. Appreciate the Unique Architecture
Jiufen's downtown architecture inspired the Japanese animated film "Spirited Away." For Anime Fans out there this is must-see for you guys. I actually remembered this movie it was quite interesting and better to seen at night to spice up the movie feel.
Be entertained with its uphill stairs and winding roads with red lanterns lighting up the street.
8. See the Northern side of Taiwan
Taking a bus to Jiufen lets your eyes explore the beautiful northern part of the country. Take a break from the city and let your eyes feast on the wonderful mountains of Taiwan.
9. Nearby Shifen to Release Sky Lanterns
Take any bus on the opposite side of road from where you alighted in Jiufen.
In Ruifang Station, Purchase a One Day Ticket for the Pingxi Line train alight at Shifen Station.
Ticket fare: NT 50
10. Go back to the city hassle free
There's a direct bus outside of Jiufen's Old Street which goes straight back to Taipei Main Station.
How to Return back to Taipei Main Station from Shifen:
In Ruifang Station purchase a ticket bound to Taipei Main Station.
Travel time: 45 minutes - 1 hour