Juifen Town is a MUST see while visiting Taiwan and is an easy day trip from Taipei (allow 8-12 hours roundtrip). The whole town is nestled in the middle of the mountain….it really is such a beautiful city. Jiufen was our second favorite city in Taiwan, next to Taroko Gorge.
When To Go…
Best time to visit is during the fall (Sept-Nov), as you’ll have cooler weather and less rainfall.
How To Get Around…
Luckily, Taiwan has affordable buses, taxis and an impressive railway system, which allows for easy travel in the cities and around the entire island nation. Getting to Juifen is a whole lot easier than we anticipated, although you’ll need to jump through a few hoops.
- Take the LSR train 50minutes to Ruifang-trains leave hourly (purchase tickets at Taipei Main Station, $3USD one way, no need to purchase in advance)
- Taxi from Ruifang to Jiufen Old Street ($8USD) or Public Bus ($1USD)-for the bus, exit the Ruifang train station, turn left and walk 5 minutes until you see the Police Station on the right, with a bus stop next to it. You can take bus 788, 856, or 1062. It’s quite an awesome experience to ride the bus up the mountain on some of the most twisting roads I’ve ever been on!
Do note there is a visitors center at Ruifang Station with great english speaking front desk staff that can help.
For more information on the train system in Taiwan…there are 3 types of trains in Taipei (all of which are located at Taipei Main Station):
HSR (High Speed Rail): incredibly fast bullet trains, fastest and most costly
LSR (Low Speed Rail): The ‘Amtrak’ of Taiwan, slower moving, more affordable
MRT (Mass Rapid Transit): The standard subway used in Taipei
Where To Stay…
Photo Credit: https://www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/7464541
We stayed at an Airbnb just 2 blocks from Taipei 101, which I would highly suggest doing, as a prime location will save you time and money on transport. Most hotels in that area are quite pricey, so we opted for a very basic Airbnb (basically a small room and a bathroom). Our host, Dolly was very kind and helpful. If you’re new to Airbnb and would like to save some cash, you can get $36 off your first Airbnb booking by clicking HERE:
What To Do…
Jiufen Old Street:
This street is so so so cool! It’s a winding, narrow street with lots of food, souvenirs, vendors and boutiques. It’s visally stimulating for sure. Do allow about 1.5-2 hours to walk the whole street and check out the streets just below, which are more quiet and quaint. The food on Old Street is totally safe to eat. We ate an ice cream sandwich made out of two pancakes with a scoop of mint chocolate chip in the middle, it was so unique and delicious! Of course, since it’s a tourist trap, sit down dining is overpriced and mediocre, so I suggest just eating street food!
Mt. Keelung Hiking Trail:
The entrance is just up the hill from the entrance of Juifen Old Street (maybe a 5-10 minute walk). The hike is about 800 meters, straight up a LOT of steps to the top. Although strenuous, it was quite short. We reached the top in about 40 minutes, and hiked down in about 20 minutes. The views from the top are BREATHTAKING because you can see the moutains, sea and town all in your view. It’s definitely a MUST SEE if you’re looking for a shorter, scenic hike, although I wouldn’t recommend it for those with knee or mobility problems.
Teapot Mountain Hike:
Photo Credit: https://taiwaneverything.cc/2016/10/13/jiufen-hiking/
We had originally intended to hike Teapot Mountain, but the weather was dismal and we didn’t have 4 hours to invest in a hike after exploring Old Town for so long. For more info on hiking, check out this blog post by Earth Trekkers
How To Get Back To Taipei…
If you don’t feel like taking the bus after a long day, you can take a taxi from Juifen back to Ruifang Train Station for $6.50USD ($200TWD) and purchase LSR tickets back to Taipei on the spot.