Wednesday, May 31, 2017

[TRAVEL] 2D1N Itinerary in Jiufen - Shifen - Pingxi Lantern Towns, Taiwan


台湾自由行 · 九分2日1夜游  ; 您准备好了吗?

Greetings from Shifen! ❤ On Day 5/6 of our 9D8N Taiwan trip, it is the day we immerse ourselves into the rich culture of Taiwan’s famed historical town. While Vietnam has Hoi An, Korea has Gamcheon Village and Greece has Santorini, then Taiwan has the very unique Jiu Fen as well!

What’s so special about this place? It is the traditional setting of the place with naturally beautiful landscape that captivates my heart. Personally I am really excited to explore this ancient town in Taipei, which is located high up the mountain, far from the hustles and bustles of the city.


Jiufen Custom Shared Tour
Just to share something easy, affordable and convenient for you guys...

To save the hassle and time from planning, taking public transport etc, Tripool offers customizable shared tour where you can enjoy:

❤ Customizing your own itinerary where you want to go
❤ Making new friends by carpooling with other travellers
❤ Cheaper rates than any private driver 

For example, in Jiufen, you can select up to 6 awesome tourist spots out of the 15 scenic areas into your customized tour. Then Tripool will have a 9-seater van that fetches you and other travellers to the respective places.

Jiufen Custom Shared Tour
❤ 1 day trip (9 hours)
❤ Pick-up and drop-off at Taipei City
❤ Available everyday

Price
❤ US $30 per pax without English tour guide
❤ US $70 per pax with English tour guide
 Include hotel pickup, transportation, passenger insurance and tax

Specially for Ohfishiee.com's Readers!
Enjoy 5% Discount for any booking made at www.rtaiwanr.com

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More info about Jiufen Tripool Tour:
Website: https://www.rtaiwanr.com/jiufen/jiufen-custom-shared-tour
Email: service@roundTAIWANround.com.
Call: +886-4-24361910


So...which of the attraction points that you must visit in Jiufen, Shifen and Pingxi? Continue reading...

9D8N Itinerary in Taiwan
Day 1: KL - Taoyuan - Taichung
Day 2: Taichung - Sun Moon Lake (Blog)
Day 3: Sun Moon Lake - Qingjing - Taipei City (Blog)
Day 4: Ximending, Taipei
Day 5: Jiufen - Shifen - Pingxi - Ruifang, Taipei (Blog)
Day 6: Jiufen - Danshui, Taipei (Blog)
Day 7: Danshui - Daan District, Taipei (Blog)
Day 8: Yang Ming Shan National Park - Shilin, Taipei (Blog)
Day 9: Taipei 101 - KL

Continuing from my last post about the first 3 days in Taichung, Sun Moon Lake and Cingjing,
we are done exploring the centre area of Taiwan...and now we have arrived at TAIPEI!

Let's zoom into the 5th and 6th day of my trip to Taiwan...
DAY 5: Shifen (十) - Pingxi (平) -
Rui Fang (瑞芳), Taipei (台北)
How To Get To Jiufen:
❤ From MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing (忠孝復興), Taipei MRT Brown Line and Blue Line interchange
❤ Take Exit 1 and board the Bus No. 1062 (Keelung Bus) (基隆客运) to Jinguashi
❤ Then alight at Jiufen.

Note: The sign on the bus may say “Jinguashi”, but don’t worry, it will take you to Jiufen.

$$$
NTD100 (=RM15) per way

Once we reach Jiufen, we make a mistake by spending too much time during the day there, because we could have departed to Shifen earlier in order to be able to visit Shifen, Pingxi and Jingtong all in one day. The best option is, spending one full day at those historical train stations and you wouldn't regret!


Pingxi Railway Line (平溪线) has seven stations: Santiaoling (三貂岭), Dahua (大华),
Shifen (十分), Wanggu (望古), Lingjiao (岭脚趾), Pingxi (平溪)Jing-tong (菁桐)

Travelling Tips: Although there are 7 stations in total for the Ruifang-Jingtong line, there are only 3 stations worth stopping by at. Highly recommended to begin your journey after lunch and start exploring the places in this order:

Ruifang – Jingtong – Pingxi – Shifen (when the sky gets dark)

How To Get To Shifen, Pingxi and Jingtong:
❤ Board a bus from Jiufen (15 minutes ride) to Ruifang Train Station, and
❤ Buy the one-day train pass (NTD64 for unlimited rides during the day of purchase)
❤ Get down at the respective stations (Shifen, Pingxi, etc)

$$$
NTD64 (=RM9) for one-day unlimited ride train pass


Travelling Tips: Remember to follow the train schedule closely, otherwise you may need to wait for another hour for the next train.


Ruifang Train Station (picture taken at night, when we head back to Jiufen)

You can have lunch at either Ruifang or Shifen; there are plenty of local food available there. Ruifang even has a large food court near the train station, but we didn’t manage to check it out due to time constraint.


Shifen Train Station (十分幸福火车站)

I’d recommend visiting Shifen, both during the day and after the sky turns dark. This place is very packed in the late afternoon (around 3pm onwards) as people start flocking along the railway for some beautiful pictures while snacking on the street food available along the Shifen Old Street (十老街).





The sky is still bright but I already see lots of paper lanterns floating in the sky!

Shifen Old Street (十分老街)

What can we do at Shifen Old Street (十分平溪天燈老街廣場)? EAT! Street food stalls are lining along the railway. And it is not surprising to see that almost every stall is packed with customers. 

Our lunch at one of the random stalls there. A decent bowl of noodles is just nice to fill our hungry tummy!

And Taiwanese popiah snack which we finish within minutes because it's too good!

My clock literally stops ticking as soon as the train arrives;
how I wish this beautiful moment pauses for a little longer!

Shifen Waterfall (十分大瀑布)

Another must-visit place in Shifen is the Shifen Waterfall, a 20 meter tall waterfall that creates a rainbow as it splashes into the lake. Perfectly tranquil place for nature lovers!

How To Get To Shifen Waterfall:
Take Bus No. #795 from Shifen Tourist Center. It is closer to the waterfall.

There is this long hanging bridge at Shifen Waterfall which is definitely a must-visit for that Instagram-worthy shot! Unfortunately, it closes at 5pm and we don't have sufficient time to explore the rest of this attraction :(

#OOTD on Day 5

Travelling Tips: Continue on the train towards the terminal station, Jingtong (菁桐), to visit the town and its historical attractions. Enjoy the tranquility of being surrounded by the woods, railway and plenty of ancient paraphernalia near the station. Trust me, the photos you'll get are more than amazing! 

Kai Ko (柯震东) and Michelle Chen (陈妍希) in the movie

Jing Tong train station is where one of the romantic scenes in the movie “You Are the Apple of My Eye” (那些年,我們一起追的女孩) was filmed, which makes it a place that I really want to go! But time is not allowing us to do so :( I have to leave this station out disappointingly.

Pingxi Train Station (平溪火车站)

Finally, we take a train ride to Pingxi, hoping to enjoy some hot snacks
and watch the beautiful lantern-filled sky on a starry evening. 

Pingxi (平溪) is equivalent to a smaller-scaled Shifen. It has the beautiful railway track which everyone can sit on and take pictures at. It also has some narrow lanes with food stalls but there are not many choices available. If you are expecting to see a lot of lanterns in the sky here, you may be disappointed.

On the bright side, as the crowd is much lesser here, you’d probably get a very beautiful shot of you releasing the paper lantern without having too many people at the background.

Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice (卤肉饭), our simple dinner at Pingxi
because there are not many choices left in the evening.

Travelling Tips: I don’t recommend setting a paper lantern at Pingxi (unless during the lantern festival in September) because of the lack of vibrancy in this area.

As soon as the sky turns dark, be sure you are already at Shifen to enjoy the rest of the night. I don’t mind the immense crowd here, because the weather is super cold in the evening and we just wouldn’t get “stuffy” or “sweaty” like how we do in the night markets.



Disappointingly, there is nothing much at Pingxi hence we leave for the main train station, Ruifang
by taking the second last train ride (Last trains from Shifen to Ruifang: 8.45pm and 10.30pm).

Supper at Yong He Dou Jiang (永和豆漿)

Before heading back to our minsu B&B at Jiufen, we manage to grab something light from this famous Taiwanese soya milk chain, Yong He Dou Jiang (永和豆漿). It is empty at that hour, probably because they just start preparing to cook new batch of soy milk and fried dough for the next day's business.

Travelling Tips: Book early if you plan to stay overnight at Jiufen because the accommodations are extremely popular and slightly high on the price (Minimum RM200 for a decent room for two)

Our crisp Chinese Cruller is extremely good -- so airy and crisp yet less oily as compared to those in KL!
My warm bowl of ultra smooth, rich soy milk makes the chilly weather more bearable too.

Travelling Tips: Yong He Dou Jiang (永和豆漿) is a franchise store, available across the whole Taipei. Be sure to try it out ya, highly recommended for breakfast and supper!

They have other freshly-baked goodies for takeaways too.

DAY 6: Jiu Fen (九分), Taipei (台北)
After supper, we take a bus back to Jiufen and drop by at Jiufen Old Street (九份老街). In the evening, all the shops are closed except for A-Mei Tea House (阿妹茶樓) (which I understand it's quite pricey yet the queue can be pretty long).

The venue is perfectly geared to the natural surroundings it is situated in with brightly-lit red lanterns, natural wood, and polished bricks. I am totally in love with the traditional flairs here!
         
Going down the staircase, there are plenty of Instagrammable spots for night photography too.
All thanks to the beautiful lanterns that add lovely touches onto my photos.

...on the next morning...
Our breakfast: Sandwiches and Sweet Rice Peanut Milk (米漿)

Map of Jiufen Old Street

After having a light breakfast, we are all ready to explore the rest of Jiufen Old Street (which we manage to visit some of the stalls on the day before). Again, it's a food haven, but what makes it different is the beautiful lanterns adorning every street, stairway, backyard etc. 
  
And the architecture reminds me of Gamcheon Village in Korea, so colorful and warm in the heart.

The same A-Mei Tea House looks totally different during the day!

Food that you must eat here: 赖阿婆芋圆 Taiwanese Authentic Taro Balls/
I swear this is the best bowl of taro balls I've ever had in my life; The taro balls are so Q!


 Other items such as Kurobuta Sausages (黑山猪香肠), Ah Zhu Peanut Ice-cream (阿珠花生卷 + 冰淇淋) and Red Vinasse Meatballs (九分红糟肉圆) are highly recommended too. 


Found a postcard vending machine here! Looks good but most of the designs are sold out for the day.

If you love art and craft, Jiufen is probably the best place to get handcrafted teapots as souvenirs.



Overall, Jiufen's unique old street and scenic view at 588 meters above sea level make it a lovely place where I don't mind revisiting during my next trip here. Where rich culture meets beautiful landscape, I promise I'll be there too. 



Thanks Jiufen for the beautiful memories! 

By 3pm, we leave Jiufen to Taipei MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing station and take the Red Line MRT straight to the terminal, Dan Shui (淡水). Yes, we spend our next 2D1N in Dan Shui, another lovely town by the sea which I enjoy very much. Gotta tell you more in a separate post!

That's the end of my Day 5 and 6 in Taiwan!

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