Free and easy Jiu Fen, Taiwan

Jes , 9 Comments

Note to everyone: Please pack thick layers if you head to Jiu Fen (九份) during January and February. This place is really freaking cold, unlike Taipei or other Taiwan cities because it is up in the mountains. If you are unlucky like us and encounter abnormally cold temperatures, then you will shiver like mad.

It takes 40minutes from Taipei Main station to Ruifen station. There is a free shuttle pick up from the station at 2pm as we stayed in Windsor B&B Minsu, which costs around S$100 a night. However, we were there early and everyone is lugging their luggages to take the bus. It's pretty easy. After exiting the station, go to the bus stop  next to the Welcome Supermarket and board the Keelung Transit bus. The bus trip takes roughly 15 minutes and most people get down at the Old Street.

Not a very nice lobby compared to the rooms
I really like the room's designs and decorations, totally different from the reception area. Everything is so cute and homely, with fantastic view and pretty furniture. Think it's better to let the pictures do the talking.

It was around 10C and we did not expect such a cold weather! Taipei was just around 20C. Unfortunately, this hotel does not have a warming bed and the shower heater is quite erratic. Other than that, the location is great. Right in the middle of the walking streets so there is no fear of starvation.

Some must-eat food include:
Grandma Lai's taro balls (賴阿婆芋圓, 143 Jishan Street). At NT40 a bowl, I can happily eat this for the whole day. It's really that chewy, not too sweet and delicious. I would recommend you to buy the dry taro as snacks because it is just so yummy!
Simple looking signboard
Awesome hot snacks to warm my cold body
Chang’s Traditional Fishballs (九份张记传统鱼丸, 25 Jishan Street). I am not a fan of fishballs but even I have to agree that they are really nice. Bouncy at the right degree with great soup!
More hot food please...
Black pig sausage (黑猪香肠 NT30). You will see such stalls everywhere and it tastes better than the traditional Taiwan pork sausage. Fragrant and sinful, exactly what everyone needs on a holiday.

Ah Lan Hakka Glutinous Rice (阿蘭草仔粿) - At NT15, indeed it doesn't look spectacular but the mouthful of goodness is what you will get! We grabbed quite a lot to save it for snacks. We are definitely a bunch of hungry people.

For the attractions of the places, you will need a transport to get by. Any taxi driver could bring you to these places and our driver charged us NT600 for 1 hour. I have no way of knowing if we were being extorted but it seemed a reasonable price especially if you have more than 2 people in the group.

Some places we went:

The famous Jinguashi Golden Waterfall (金瓜石瀑布). It gets its name from the rocks which is gold in colour and with water flowing, a perfect fengshui place I guess. Just don't come with high expectations of the view.

Kalalea King Kong mountain (黑金刚大山). I don't think the mountain looks like king kong from this view...
Erm... quite forgettable I think
Somewhere nearby
'Remains of the 13 levels' (十三層) which used to be a copper refinery place. Really 13 levels? Try counting :)

Nanya Rock formations (南雅奇岩). Just to see a few piece of rock formations created by nature. Good for picture taking, but not a famous attraction.

Nanya rock formation
Somewhere nearby
Yin Yang Sea (阴阳海). You can see 2 different colour tones of the sea and my stupid camera don't seem to be able to capture it well. The light is too bright in most pictures.

As you can see, we are not really that nature loving or just that there is really nothing special about the attractions! I forgot most of these places while I was blogging about them. I would honestly go back for the food only. Well, no time to go Shi fen (十分) which is nearby! Really must go back Taiwan next time.

Next stop: Taroko gorge!


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  1. Hi Jes

    I went here twice. It is challenging to travel by public transport due to limited time constraints. Better to take taxi. The fare is regulated and it is as safe as Singapore, so you are not being hammered.

    1. Hi FD,

      Yeah the taxis are pretty cheap that's why I also took taxi for the private tour. I do like to take the public transport for the feel of it as a local and actually it is quite convenient since we can speak and read Chinese. I agree to take taxi if you are going with a big group, less hassle and more convenient! Happy new year to you!

  2. Hi Jes,

    Timely post as I'm headed there next year! It was the opposite for me, I went Shifen but left out Jiufen in my trip last yr. All the mouth-watering food!

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Hahaha, it's great food everywhere in Taiwan so wherever you go, just keep eating. Eat more and watch your weight only when you are back :P

  3. Hi Jes,

    i was also just in Jiufen in Nov. Nice weather during that time. Taxi is also easy and not so ex. Din't know that it can be that cold only 1-2 months later.

    Enjoy urself and HNY2016!

    1. Hi Rolf,

      Eek... nice but cold leh... need to wrap like dumpling but great temperature to eat the taro balls. Everything is cheap there not just taxi!

      Wishing you a joyous year ahead :)

  4. Temperature seems to have dropped drastically in recent weeks. I was there in mid-December and it was still at the ~20 degrees region.

    Didn't do the release of lantern at the Railway (Shifen)?

    Have fun at Taroko. I was advised that there is a need to be especially careful after rain. Rock slide seems to be a common concern.

    1. Hi Lizardo,

      Oh it will continue to drop.. especially just nice when I encounter the strong winds.... brrrr. Didn't head to Shifen due to lack of time but I did released the lantern at Hualien.

      Yeah, lots of land and rockslides at Taroko, some attractions were closed. No choice, not fated but more time for other places! Seems like you have finished exploring Taiwan?

  5. No way that I've finished exploring Taiwan. It was a short holiday. Guess that leaves more for future.