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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Day 6: Taipei - Shifen - Jiufen - Taipei

Today was the only excursion we had outside Taipei. For the last few days I did my research on the internet of places of interest which were not too far from Taipei. In the end, I decided to go Shifen for the waterfalls and then Jiufen, a traditional village on top of the mountain.

Taipei Railway Station
It wasn't very easy to navigate if you didn't know how to read or speak Mandarin. :)

Taipei railway station

The regional train

View from the train

We bought second class tickets which didn't have any seat reservations. The train was packed but luckily I got a seat but he didn't and had to stand for the whole journey. On our train ride, I managed to make a small talk with an uncle sit next to me. I showed him all my Taiwan maps to get more info on the tourist places and he was happily explaining all the places that he had been to. :)

We alighted at Rueifang station and transfer to another train to Shifen. When the train passed through some small waterfalls, we moved towards the door to get better view of them.

At last, we arrived at Shifen station. The most interesting about this village was the rail track that cut through it. So instead of looking out for cars when crossing to the other side, we had to look out for trains. :P

Rail track that cut through the village.

Post box at Shifen

We decided to have a quick lunch at the only Shifen restaurant before going to the waterfalls.

Fishball soup

Fried rice and noodle

There is a local custom of writing some wishes on the lantern and fly it off. We saw a few lanterns that day. An annual flying lantern festival is usually held at Pingxi, not far from here.

It was about 20 minutes walk to reach the waterfalls. We had to go through suspension bridge, some stairs, another bridge, another fleet of stairs, I think it was hard for the old folks to make it there.

A suspension bridge

Another suspension bridge

Nice huh? This was not the main waterfall yet.

Another waterfall

Shifen Waterfall
It is dubbed as the little Niagara. I guess tiny is more appropriate eventhough I haven't been to Niagara. :P

The little Niagara

Rueifang station
We took a train back to Rueifang station, alighted here and took a bus opposite the station to go up the mountain to Jiufen village.

Rueifang station

The view from here was very nice, we were lucky to reach here just in time for sunset.

View from Jiufen

Jiufen is also famous for its local snacks particularly the taro balls. The village isn't that traditional anymore as it has become quite touristy.

A whole stretch of small shops selling local snacks and souvenirs.

This is the shop of the most famous taro balls dessert. It wasn't easy to find the shop as there was no accurate map for this village. We enjoyed the dessert very much plus the place had a nice view to offer.

Love it, don't mind coming back again for more. :)

Taro balls with green and red beans

Later, we took a Taipei bound bus instead of going back to train station at Rueifang. It was late when we reached our hotel so we decided to have an in-room dining. We ordered braised chicken with rice wine again and fried pork rib with fermented rice paste. Ahh... it was still yummy.

Braised chicken with rice wine and fried pork rib with fermented rice paste


Alea said...

hi, im planning to visit taiwan and while i was searching for some itineraries i saw your blog.. i would like to ask, what time in the morning did you leave taipei main station to get to shifen? i plan to follow the same route you made (taipei-shifen-jiufen-taipei). hope to hear from you soon.. thanks much!

Irene said...

Probably 9 or 10 am. It could be nicer if you could go earlier or don't spend so much time in Shifen so that you could reach Jiufen early, around 4-5 pm. It was difficult to find the way when it's dark.

I actually planned to go to Keelung too, but it was already so late when we finished Jiufen.

Anonymous said...

did you went back to taipei at night? or u stay at jiufen? will it be very late?


Irene said...

yes, i went back to taipei at night. probably reached taipei around 9-10 pm.

Catherine said...

HI Irene,

Ur photos r great. Me & my frds plan to cover the same. Wld like 2 know if v can cover the Golden Waterfall as well Nanya Peculiar Rocks at Jiufen. V hv 2 b back Taipei at nite as v r leaving the next morning.

Irene said...

I guess there's no enough time to cover them. I didn't go to golden waterfalls and the rocks but the time was already pretty tight.

Lilian Lee said...

Hi Irene, I enjoy reading your blog, I will be going to Jiufen 24/10/09, this is my 2nd tripe to Jiufen, I was ther 4 yrs ago, guess thats not much changes, I was wondering what time the stores open? I Reremember last time I was ther early n alot of shop r still close. I like your photo alot.

Irene said...

Hi Lilian,
I don't know what is the opening hours of Jiufen shops, I reached there pretty late in the evening.

Hope you enjoy your trip. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Irene, i am planning a trip to taiwan. Can you advise how i can get to jiufen? As i don't see Rueifang station in the Metro Rapid Taipei map.

Irene said...

Rueifang is outside Taipei. You should take the regional train from Taipei Main Station. It can't be reached by MRT.

Anonymous said...

Hi Irene, thank you for your kind reply. By the way, do you still remember how long is the journey or how mant stands to Rueifang station from Taipei main station?

Irene said...

Don't quite remember, probably about 40 min.

Anonymous said...

Hi Irene. We are planning to visit Shifen from Taipei. How long does the train take to go from RueFang to ShiFen? Thank you in advance for your reply.

Anonymous said...

Hi there may I just ask if Jiu fen is open on mondays?

Shyne said...

Hi, would like to know how did you get from Jiufen back to Taipei?
Thanks :)

Audrey said...

Hi, Irene. I came across your blog and found it very detailed and interesting. Do you know any other ways to go from shifen to jiufen other than the method that you have stated? Thanks.

Jane Tan said...

Hi! would like to thank you for the informative blogpost which helped me in my taiwan trip recently! thank you!