As great as Taipei can be, sometimes it’s just nice to get out of the city. One of the most popular northbound destinations is Jiufen. Most people already know about or have been to Jiufen. For those that don’t know, Jiufen is a little town about an hour and change outside of Taipei. This old mining-town-turned-tourist-spot attracts lots of locals and tourists equally. What is there to do inJiufen? Find out after the break.
Jiufen was just a simple village until 1890 when someone struck gold in the mountains surrounding the area. Suddenly, people from all over Taiwan moved there in hopes of becoming filthy stinkin’ rich.
By the time the gold rush had come and gone, Jiufen was left with quite a few residents and a traditional market street that runs through the center of the town. That street, now known as Jiufen Old Street, has become the biggest attraction in Jiufen today. In fact, because of the traditional look and feel of the area, many movies have been filmed in Jiufen, including the international award winner A City of Sadness.
Jiufen Old Street
The main market street in Jiufen runs up the mountain, right through the middle of town. It is lined with some of the most unique and best-tasting food you can find in Taiwan. Some of the famous foods you can find here include Jiufen 肉圓 (Rou Yuan) with its distinctive red coloring, brown sugar cake, and various mountain teas.
While in Jiufen, we also recommend that you check out 阿柑姨芋圓 (A Gan Yi Yu Yuan/Taro Balls). This YuYuan shop sits close to the end of the Old Street and up a flight of stairs. Not only does it offer a delicious, cold snack, but it also has two levels with plenty of seating, as well as one of the best views in Jiufen.
As mentioned, Jiufen is popular…like really, really popular. We would avoid going on the weekends and holidays if possible. The Old Street gets packed quickly, and it can get really uncomfortable, especially on a hot summer day…
And we mean hot! To get an idea of what it’s like walking through the Old Street, check out the video below:
Besides the tourist trap of the Old Street, Jiufen also offers many other sites to see, such as the gold mining museum, a number of parks, hiking trails, tea houses and cafes.
For more info follow these links:
You can get to Jiufen by train, bus, and driving, making it a really convenient place to get to. The only problem with road-transportation is you have to pass through a small road in Jilong (Keelung) which can be extremely busy some days, creating a 1-2 hour bottleneck.
If you are leaving from Taipei, you should get a train to Ruifang station. From there, you will need to line up across the street to catch the transit bus from Ruifang station to Jiufen/Jinguashi. It will normally take about 15-20 minutes to get to Jiufen, but it could be a lot longer depending on the traffic.
To catch a bus directly to Jiufen, you can hop on the Keelung Bus #1062 at two stops in Taipei. The bus usually takes 1 and a half to 2 hours to get to Jiufen, but be prepared for traffic jams.
The most accessible stop is probably by ZhongXiao/Fuxing MRT station exit #1.
The other stop is on Bade Road, east of Fuxing Road.
*Be sure to check for changes in schedules and fares before you leave!