2016 Nov 21st
- Visited: Weekday evening
- How to get there: Train to Ruifang then bus to Jiufen
- Attractions: Red lanterns, Teahouses
- Crowded. If you don’t want to risk standing up during long rides in public transportation then more organized tours might be a way to go.
- Lots of stairs.
After my trip to Shifen from Taipei I went back to Ruifang and then to Jiufen. The bus was much smaller than regular public buses and I had to stand. The road to Jiufen was quite windy so I got some balancing exercise in on the way. You get a very nice view of the Northern coast of Taiwan when you get arrive.
Jiufen’s old streets definitely feel like a labyrinth. I walked around for a while looking for the teahouse with lots of red lanterns that inspired the movie Spirited Away. The streets were filled with souvenir shops, food stalls, and teahouses. It was very crowded so most people walked at around the same pace.
There was a place with a lot of people, and it turned out to be one of the most popular food places in Jiufen, Grandmother Lai’s Sweet Taro Balls. I bought a bowl of taro, sweet potato, and green tea balls in cold syrup (NTD 22 ~ USD 1). There was also an area with table and chairs next to the stall to eat it, which was great. The dessert was very refreshing with interesting texture.
After an unsuccessful attempt at finding that popular photo spot, I went into a teahouse nearby called Siid Cha. They had multiple floors and I sat in the roof patio with a view to the ocean. I had black soybean grain tea (NTD 160 ~ USD 5), which I enjoyed.
View from the patio
On the way out I asked for directions to the famous teahouse. I was told it was at the South end of Shuqi road, so I walked down the steep stairs along red lanterns and finally found it. As I saw from other reviews the teahouse wasn’t that large and VERY crowded. There was a lot of people in a very small area trying to take pictures (well, mostly selfies) with the teahouse in the background. The teahouse looked very pretty at night though. I could definitely tell the similarity of this to Spirited Away.
I walked further south and found a bus station. However, the bus never came for a very long time. There were taxi drivers offering shared rides, so I decided to hop on one of those instead to head directly to the Taipei main station. The cost was NTD 300 (~USD 10) for one person for a 1-hour ride with a bunch of strangers, which I thought was fairly reasonable given how tired I was at that point.
I was a big fan of the movie Spirited Away so I really enjoyed my visit. Jiufen is also a very popular day-tour spot. However, I really wish public transportation to Jiufen was better. My experience with the buses (the one I had to stand in and the other that never came) wasn’t that great.
If you’d like to see more posts from this trip, please visit here!