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Sunday, January 31, 2016

CarmenXTW: 趣台北 第四天 十分 & 九份 Fun Taipei Day 4: Shifen and Jiufen

This post has been a draft for more than 2 months, finally had the time to post this:

Final day of the trip to North! 
Visited New Taipei City's pretty towns of Shifen 十分 and Jiufen 九份. 

From Taipei to Shifen: Took a train to RuiFang from Taipei station and change to the Pingxi Line, which is kinda like the railway traveling route, every station has its charm. This line includes RuiFang, where you can go to Jiufen; Shifen, where you have shops lined along the train tracks and Pingxi, the place where they shot You are the Apple of my Eye. 

Loads of people, this place is popular for both locals and tourist

some bamboo forest that we pass by while on our way to Shifen Waterfalls
Gotta love the nature here
lush greens and emerald waters

Shifen Waterfalls 十分瀑布
The waterfalls is around 20 minutes walk from the station. Can't really tell you the directions coz we took a rather weird but somehow faster route, taught by Mr. GoogleMap. But we still reach anyway, thanks to the directions from kind locals.
Heard the gushing sound of water when we were at the entrance and realize the waterfall is actually much wider than i imagined. Water rushing down at high speed, I can even feel the mist on my face.    

Back to the main street of Shifen
it was very crowded, loads of people releasing their paper lanterns on the train tracks.
I was really looking forward to writing wishes on paper lanterns but the moment I saw the amount of people lining on the train tracks, I just lost the urge to do so LOL. almost every shop over there was offering this paper lantern service, where they let u write, help u take photo and even videograph the whole process LOL But I doubt my photos will look nice, not with so many people doing the same thing in the background. One thing I really don't like about traveling to tourist hotspot, too many people and they kinda ruin photos. I rather not take any and just enjoy the atmosphere haha

at one of the shops

From Shifen to Jiufen: Took the Pingxi Line Train to Ruifang station. From there, you can take a bus but we ended up taking a cab instead coz it was kinda late already, the sky was turning dark. 

Jiufen Old Street 九份老街
Unique town built along the slopes of the hills, best known for its narrow streets that wind up the hill, with shops selling local delicacies and red lanterns that decorate the shops. It is also popular among Spirited Away fans as one of the tea shops was the source of inspiration of the bathhouse in the movie.  
On the hills, overlooking the coast 

Most of the shops in the streets sells snacks, local products, craft products and souvenirs. 
Catered for tourists. 

Red lanterns hanging along the shops

Icecream spring roll -- 2 scoops of icecream sprinkled with grounded peanut, wrapped in spring roll wrap.  

One of the must-eats in Jiufen
the legendary Taiwanese Taroballs!

Taroballs in Greenbean and Redbean Soup 芋圆汤 -- TWD45
super delicious especially in this chilly weather. 
The taroballs are chewy and the more you chew, the delicious aroma of starts to build up. 
The natural sweet taste of the soup really warms the soul seriously

and best part is you can enjoy this view while sipping the hot soup. 

when night falls, Jiufen turns into a mysterious and romantic town
with bright red lanterns in contrast with the brown wooden shoplots. Totally unique.  

My photos don't look really nice though, there's just too many people. And I had a difficult time finding a spot to take photos of the street. I even missed out taking a nice photo of the teashop that was the inspiration of the Spirited Away bathhouse.

But I guess Jiufen really is a charming piece of Taiwan. The red lanterns really are mesmerizing. It would have been great to have one whole day to spend over there. Enjoying the local snacks and maybe chillax at one of the teashops, taking in the seaview while sipping tea.

From Jiufen to Taipei City, we took bus no. 1062 that goes back to ZhongXiao FuXing MRT Station in Taipei . Allocate more time if you are going on a weekend coz there will be lots of people queuing up.
and that concludes our Taipei 4 day trip. Super Packed schedule but I really did enjoy.

Just to list out some of the places that you definitely should go (listed according to preference):
1. Danshui 淡水 -- you can spend one whole day over there, cycling to 渔人码头 (Fisherman's wharf) and shop at the main street (yep things are cheap over there!) Go explore the red bricked buildings like Fort San Domingo and Aletheia University.
2. Jiufen 九份 -- If you fancy chillax time like me, Jiufen would be nice where you can just stroll around, eat some snacks every now and then and enjoy the seaview.
3. Shifen 十分 -- The waterfalls is a MUST GO coz i think it looks beautiful.
4. Taipei Zoo 台北市立动物园 -- Great Value for money. Well maintained zoo with great facilities.
5. Maokong 猫空 -- If i'm living in Taiwan, I would prefer a to spend a nice Saturday afternoon here, sipping coffee and chatting with friends.

More Taipei diaries coming up by the way.... stay tuned.

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