On my second day in Taipei, I decided to make a day trip out to Shifen and Jiufen. The weather was a perfect 79 degrees and sunny! I used the Klook service to book my transportation for this trip because I just didn’t want to deal with the hassle and it was SO worth it. Check out the short video to see additional footage of my trip below the blog post.
Shifen is a small town nestled between gorgeous green mountains. The main attraction in this town is Shifen Old Street, which is famous for releasing sky lanterns on the train tracks. BUT WATCH OUT! The trains that run along the tracks are active so you have to be sure to move out of the way when they come chugging along! It’s a little exciting to see people scurry off the tracks and it’s fun to wave at the train passengers as they go by.
We were given 1 hour to explore Shifen and while the town center is small, there are some nature parks and waterfalls I would have loved to see. If you’re visiting Shifen, be sure to stay for longer than one hour to really take your time and explore the town.
Before I met back up with the bus, I strolled past a few barely open shops and ran across this man who told me his name was Ron Johnson (shout out to A Different World fans). He was a nice man who worked at the restaurant that sold Mexican food and I was tempted to try it, but the shop wasn’t open yet! I did stop by a cafe and picked up a delicious tea.
Jiufen is a small mining town in the mountains that inspired Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (which I just saw yesterday and absolutely love)! It was such a beautiful day and I especially enjoyed walking along the path and passing by shops. At the bus stop we were given around 3 hours to explore Jiufen and I thought that would be more than enough time to see what the town had to offer. Boy, was I wrong. After over an hour of walking through the market, I decided to get something to eat at this little mom & pop shop that overlooked the mountains. Knowing I had maybe half an hour to eat something before I headed back to the bus, I mistakenly ordered two meals
like a derp and proceeded to fret over wasting my food. Thankfully, the older man at the shop hooked me up with a double plastic bag and I was able to pop my soup into the bag to go!
I ordered sweet and sour chicken with rice and the pan fried seafood noodles and pineapple tea. This was the most expensive meal I had in Taiwan it was (over 4$NT) and despite me rushing through it, I can say both dishes were good and I would absolutely recommend the place (it’s near the Siidcha cafe on Jishan St.).
After lunch, I took the short cut down to the bus stop and passed so many shops on this route. Since Jiufen is located in a very mountainous region, there are many steps, so I wouldn’t say this area is wheelchair accessible. Anyway, as I walked down the steps, I passed so many shops and landmarks that I had no idea existed and wish I would’ve had extended my time to check it out. Although I’m glad to have spent the day out there, it’s recommended to spend a few days there to really explore the town and I can see why.
I will spare you the long story, and simply say I was stranded in Jiufen for about 20 minutes. After waiting over 30 minutes to take the transfer bus back to the Klook minibus, I took the wrong bus and ended up at the main station in a different town. After realizing the main station was just off of the main road the Klook minibus took to head into Jiufen, I decided to wait and see if the minibus would take the main road back. and it did! I was able to wave the minibus down and as the bus slowed to a crawl, he opened the door and I jumped in and just like that we were off and heading back to Taipei!
Everyone was so shocked that I found a way to meet up with the bus after they assumed I was left in Juifen. They even clapped! I was shocked too, but was so grateful that I didn’t panic too much, was observant, and used some logic.
If you’re ever in Taipei, a day trip to Shifen and Jiufen should be on your list! The ability to interact with local townspeople, learn about the town’s history and support local artisans will be an experience that will stay with you forever.
Thanks for reading and if you like this post, be sure to check out my first recap of my Taipei trip here and share it with your friends!