Back in the day, Jiufen was a gold mining town and I’ve been here 4 times in the last 4 years (to look for the gold :P). Nowadays, Jiufen became one of the most special places in Taiwan where the tourists can get lost in the beautiful old town to enjoy the delicious street foods and to have the best view from a mountain.
Take a bus from Taipei to Jiufen
I’ve tried different ways to go to Jiufen old street and I’ve found that taking a bus is the easiest way to get to this magical town.
First, you go to the MRT station Zhongxiao Fuxing in Taipei. After getting out of exit 2 of the MRT station, you turn right and then walk about 50 meters to the bus stop. The bus to Jiufen is bus number 1062 (Keelung bus).
The bus ticket costs about 100NT$ (~US$3), which you can pay by cash or an MRT card. After around 1 hour on the bus, you’ll be there to explore the old town on the mountain.
When the bus arrives Jiufen, most of the tourists will get off and the driver will also announce that you’re in Jiufen, so you don’t have to worry about missing this stop.
From the bus stop, you will go straight to this 7 Eleven and then the old streets start from here in the small alleyway next to the convenient store.
What to do in Jiufen
Choose some ideal spots to make the perfect photos
Possessing a nostalgic scenery, Jiufen has become a source of inspiration for many film directors to produce the beautiful movie scenes, for example, A City of Sadness by Hou Hiao-hien, Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki. The stunning view of the mountain, red lanterns, old stone streets, tea houses together bring a unique look to Jiufen that attracts millions of tourists every year. Obviously, you can’t visit this old town without making some great photos to save the best memories of your trip in Taiwan.
Eat the most delicious street foods
Wandering in Jiufen you’ll see thousands of food stands and small restaurants that sell typical Taiwanese foods. Don’t hesitate to try some and then decide which food you like the best. My favorite one is the Taiwanese grilled sausages:). It’s so yummy!!!!
Shop the most special souvenirs
Not only foods, the souvenir shops in Jiufen are also more fascinating than anywhere in Taiwan. You’ll see a lot of postcards, magnets, notebooks and decoration stuff which are really distinctive compared to those in the other markets. So don’t miss your chance to collect some cute things here on the old streets.
I randomly stepped into a souvenir shop and had a great conversation with the owner of this place. He was so friendly and he continuously talked about his wife that she created many hand-made items in this store. Without saying I could understand how much he loves his wife. Really appreciate it!!! Our talk went even more excited when he shared that he traveled to Vietnam, the Netherlands, and many more countries. It’s always so great to talk with the travelers and share our valuable experiences on different destinations. I hope that you’ll also have a memorable experience like this in Jiufen!
Relax in a teahouse and admire the breathtaking view
After walking through the busy streets in Jiufen, you may be tired and sitting in a teahouse will be an ideal way to recover and to enjoy the beautiful mountain view of this place.
There are many famous teahouses in Jiufen but I didn’t want to get “packed like sardines in a can” in the well-known shops, so I chose a quiet teahouse on the edge of the mountain. Silently enjoying the tea and the breathtaking sight, I gave myself a perfect moment when I forgot all the hustle and bustle of the big cities.
This teahouse doesn’t have an English name but hopefully, you can find with it the photos above or you can do your search about the teahouses before going to Jiufen. It costs me about 200NT$ (~US$6.5) for a pot of tea. In my opinion, this price is quite expensive but its location deserves a high charge.
In order to avoid the crowd, you should arrive at Jiufen from 9 to 10 o’clock in the morning. Another option if you don’t mind walking on the busy streets, you can go there in the late afternoon and stay until the evening to see the old town with hundreds of glowing lanterns.
How to get back to Taipei with the bus? To get to the right bus stop to go back, you should go up to the hill from the 7 Eleven I mentioned at the beginning of the post. Walking about 100 meters, you will see the bus stop on the left of the street and you should quickly line up to have a seat in the bus.
Jiufen is a perfect place for a day trip from Taipei. So if you are planning to visit Taipei, don’t forget to put Jiufen in your itinerary.
You may also need this: What to do in Taipei – A complete guide for the first-time travelers