Hey, Let's Travel Around Taiwan Day 7: Travel Taiwan Jiufen Old Street, Taipei
January 6, 2020
If you’re taking a trip to East Asia, you need to make a stop in Taipei, Jiufen. Taiwan is becoming one of the most popular travel destinations in East Asia, and for good reasons. Book a flight, and go!
But, if you already know about Taiwan, chances are you already know about the capital Taipei 101, bubble milk tea, and events such as Taiwan’s Lantern Festival. But, if you’re looking for something a little more than a city experience, Jiufen City (yes, the setting of Spirited Away), is a place you need to check out for yourself.
Travel Taiwan Jiufen, A Stop on our Roadtrip
Johan and I had finally made our way up the east coast of Taiwan. Through Kenting National Park, to beaches in Taitung, to Toroko Gorge in Hualian. With a few other stops on the way, we had made it to Taipei to one of the most popular tourist attractions in Taiwan, Jiufen.
Travel Taiwan Jiufen: Some Background About the Town
Long, long ago there were nine families who lived in Taiwan’s city of Jiufen. Before the roads were built, before we had phones or computers or 7-11, everything not made in Jiufen was received by ship. Each time the town of Juifen would get a shipment, nine pieces of each item were brought. As a result, the small town was referred to as Jiufen, or ‘nine pieces’.
Though, the name would stay, the population of the small town would change quite soon. Located within the Northeast Hills of Taipei, Jiufen used to be the center of gold mining boom. In 1890, someone struck gold just west of Jiufen. The village with only nine families attracted prospectors of 4,000 people. It was nicknamed the Gold City of Asia, little Shanghai or little Hong Kong.
Today, since the gold faded away yet the beautiful streets and natural settings remain, Jiufen is a recommended travel destination for those who find themselves here in Taiwan. From sightseeing, to teahouses, to shopping and hiking, Jiufen is a must see if traveling Taiwan.
How to Get There
Since we had some other adventures to go on, we took our Delica to the streets of Jiufen. However, we recommend that you take advantage of the bus systems there, or rent a scooter for the day.
From Taipei Main Station (台北車站), take the train north to Ruifang Station. After exiting the station and facing the Wellcome supermarket, take a left and walk 200 metres down Mingdeng Road. Next to the police station is a bus station (named Local Residents Plaza, 區民廣場) with routes 827 and 788 heading toward Jiufen.
Please note that the bus stop next to the police station heads east toward Jiufen, and the bus stop across from the police station heads west toward Taipei. Route 825 provides weekend service only.
From here, the bus trip takes roughly 15 minutes, and the fare is NT$15. It is recommended to take bus 1062 back to Taipei to have some time to visit the night markets.
By Bus from MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing (忠孝復興), Brown Line BR and Blue Line BL interchange, leave from Exit 2 and from outside Sogo department store take bus route 1062 (Keelung Bus) to Jinguashi, alight at Jiufen. The ride is about 1 hour and the fare is NT$98. Be sure to get a good seat to enjoy scenic views of Northern Taiwan. Bus 788 is also available from Keelung.
A new bus service number 965 is running from Ximen and Beimen (near Taipei Main Station) out to Ruifang, Jiufen, and Jinguashi, fare NT$90.
What to Do at Jiufen
The majority of attractions are concentrated along the cobblestone steps of Shuqi Road (豎崎路) between Jiufen Elementary School and the Jiufen police precinct. The three roads running perpendicular to Shuqi Road (Jishan St., Qiche Rd., and Qingbian Rd.) each boast a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and cafés.
Walk around. Take in the sights. And, like most tourist attractions, try to remember what the town of Jiufen was before it was a tourist attraction, and why it is still here today.