Shifen 十分

Shifen is famous for the old streets, lantern and the 20-metre high waterfall. It is located in the Pingxi area (平溪).  Shifen Old Street refers to a collection of lanes and alleys around the railway station area.  The town was originally built for transporting coal during the Japanese era.  
Shifen railway station is an opened one.   People can cross the rails freely.  I have the feeling of going back to the very old time.  I remember, even in the eighties, it was forbidden to cross the railways in Hong Kong.  But Shifen still freezes in the past. it brings folks of tourists and they filled up the tiny station.

A lot of people from Asia travelled there with one sole aim: flying Chinese lantern marked full with good wishes. From time to time, friends upload photos of flying the lanterns.  We went there for the waterfall.   Once we stepped out the area of the railway stations, crowds of people were flying the lanterns.  Along the way to the waterfall, we saw lanterns falling in the mid of the air or lying on the ground to become rubbish.
The walk to the waterfall took about half an hour.  The way is dotted with a few nice buildings and beautiful nature. 

Soon we were in the area for the waterfall.  It is connected with red wooden pavement.  Walking is comfortable.  As the majority of the tourists were flying lanterns, we enjoyed the waterfall in a leisure way.  We saw a small rainbow at the bottom of the waterfall.  Not sure if it is always there.

We spent only very short time in the old streets as we had to rush for the train (very infrequent) to the town at the end of the station, Jingtong 菁桐, which is famous as a coal town.  The white building at the railway station is often seen at travel sites.

It began to rain and we still aimed for reaching and enjoying Jiufen in the afternoon.  Therefore we did not stay at Jingtong but hop on the train back to Ruifang and from there took a bus to Jiufen.
Ah, way to Shifen.   We took a train from Taipei in the morning.  The journey lasted about 40 minutes.  But the journey length depends on the kinds of train.  Then we purchased a Pingxi Line train ticket for NT52, each of us.  Here is a link for travel information.  Hope you will enjoy the places.


Jiufen 九份

We went back from Shifen to Ruifang and to go further to Jiufen. Get out of the station, cross the big street and turn left to walk perhaps 200 metre, you will reach a bus station with buses running to Jiufen.

When we arrived at Jiufen, it was cloudy and began to rain. Darkness covered the surrounding mountains and sea. It's like a spell over the earth. We went into the main street. Crowds were a characteristic of this small hill town. It was like that many years ago and remain so, even not on public holiday.

To get shelter against the rain and refill energy, we had snacks and drinks on the main streets, just like all tourists. We first passed by 魚丸伯仔 which has been standing for over 60 years.  Two out of the three renowned dishes (豆干包, 魚丸湯,乾冬粉) were on our table.  Yummy!

Weather remained bad. We sat down again for a drink and sweet. Then the wandering began and the sun came out. When we reached almost the edge of the main street, more modern tea houses showed up and so were shops with character.

Nice scenes and landscapes were seen the further we were from the main street and its intricate alleys. Stunning views of the Pacific Ocean were gorgeous.  We kept on pressing the shutter.


We enjoyed this little hill town with the rain and sun. Decades ago it became from a barren place to popular due to the mining development.  It was called Jiufen because at the beginning there were only 9 families. When one went shopping, one would buy 9 portions of stuff and shared with all families.  But this helping culture and close neighbourhood vanished with the arrival of the mining fever. Nowadays, though the mining industry is gone, the old houses and architecture remain.  It draws tourists from different parts of Taiwan and the world.  We returned to the alleys, tasted some snacks, experienced the unique atmosphere and it's time to leave.  We went back to the bus station where we got off.  Go up the street a bit to wait for a bus direct back to Taipei.  

The bus journey took less than an hour to arrive at Songshan. From there we visited the night market at Raohe Street,  The famous beef buns were really tasty.  Long queue but worthwhile. The buns were baked like tandoori. Piping hot and we could not wait it to be cool.

At the end of the day, we went back to Xinyi where a big store eslite stands. I got a book about Yilan. And have another look of the Xinyi district and Taipei 101 in the night.