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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Taiwan Day 7 Part 1: Jiu Fen (九份) and Shi Fen (十份)

Hello everyone, back with another post on Taipei! It's so time-consuming to blog about travelling! Haha. 

So here we are at the first official day in Taipei and our plan was to do 九份, 十份 before heading to 五分埔 and 饒河街觀光夜市. (this post will only be on Jiu Fen and Shi Fen, will write about Raohe Night Market on a separate one.)

I know my schedule was super packed! Haha. But I always believe in making full use of time when I'm travelling. :) 

So here's the warning, only follow my footsteps if your legs are strong enough to carry you the entire day. It's going to be filled with endless walking! Heh. 

Right. Now we are good to start with the amazing race. First stop, Jiu Fen (九份). 


Jiufen is about an hour away (via train and bus) from Taipei Main Station. 


Direction:
1. Take a train from Taipei Main Station to Ruifang Station 瑞芳火车站
2. Alight at Ruifang Station 瑞芳火车站 and get onto the main street (picture above)
3. Hop onto a bus to 九份

Tips:
1. It will be good if you can buy the train ticket a day before, at least. You will be surprised by how fast the tickets are selling! Because we have a lot of places to go, so we bought a 10am ticket to Ruifang Station.
2. Do not be late for your train. The train is super on time and waits for no one. 
3. There are a lot of food at Ruifang street! You may want to come here for breakfast! 
4. The bus stop to 份 is next to Welcome Mart (顶好), which is just opposite the train station. Hop on bus number 1062, 788, 856, 825
5. If all things fail, just ask the driver or the locals! One thing about Taiwanese is that they are super friendly and approachable! :)


九份老街 

A mandatory tourist moment. Heh. 

Felt like we were both back in the early days when street stalls can be seen almost everywhere! Old street indeed. 


It's a good place to get your gifts and souvenirs too! Things sold are very similar and prices are really competitive so don't bother checking on every shops. :) 

Focus more on the more important thing. Food of course! :P


This is definitely one of the must try here! Just look at the crowd! In fact, I think nobody comes to Jiu Fen without trying the famous ice cream roll!  


Similar to the concept of popiah, except it is wrapped with just peanut and taro ice cream. 


They were even kind enough to provide displays for tourists like us! So you know we are not the only ones who like to take photo with our food. :P 



This is really super good!!! T.T Why don't we have this in Singapore as well? Our humid weather needs something like this! 

Anyway, you will come across many shops selling this as well. But do try from this particular shop as it is the 'authentic' one. :) 


賴阿婆芋圓

Towards the end of the old street, you will see this particular shop. Almost impossible to miss as it will be flooded with human. 


Taro balls, another must eat when you're at Jiu Fen. It looks really simple and maybe plain? But trust me, the taro balls are super Q! Very chewy and you won't feel like you're just chewing on some flour. 


I miss you so much, taro balls. <3 


Jiu Fen Old Street is a really small. I think it took us about 1.5 hours to cover the entire street.  This is what you'll see at the peak, a breathtaking view.



Basically I think Jiu Fen Old Street is all about food and souvenirs. So do come in an empty stomach if possible. Did I mention that almost every stall provides free samplings? Yup, so you can just eat your way through. That's if you're thick skin enough. :P 

I bought most of my local delicacies here as they are much cheaper than the ones at Taipei. So you might want to bring more money with you when you travel to Jiu Fen. :) 


Got a taro puff before we left Jiu Fen.

It's really famous as well! Just somewhere near the entrance of the old street. MUST TRY! 

I really miss how easily I could get anything sweet potato or taro related food in Taiwan. :( 

Alright, moving on to amazing race station 2, 十份.


Direction:
1. Take a bus down from 九份 back to Ruifang Station
2. At Ruifang Station, purchase the tickets for rides on the Pinghsi railway line, 平溪 
3. Board the Pinghsi line and alight at Shifen

Tips:
1. Pinghsi line operates on a fixed schedule and missing a ride would mean that you'll have to wait an hour for the next one! I suggest you check the schedule the day before and plan your time wisely! One hour of wait is no joke. Train schedule can be found at Taipei Main Station! It was really helpful for me, so hope that it will help you to maximise time too! :) 
2. Buy the whole day ticket on Pinghsi line as it will provide you with unlimited rides! Do remember not to throw away the ticket though! 
3. There are a lot of different lines in Taipei. Confusing eh? I was at first. But I've learnt to ASK. Haha. Taiwanese are really friendly la, so don't be afraid to seek help if you're really lost!


Look at the amount of people coming for 十份. 

0.o''


All for the same reason, to 放天灯. 

Thanks to the movie "You are the apple of my eyes" <<那些年,我们一起追的女孩>>, everyone now wants to come here to 放天灯. LOL! 

The entire street is occupied by vendors who sell 天灯, so we just randomly chose a shop to go to. 


There are 4 sides to the lantern and each of them has a different meaning (the person will explain to you). All you have to do is pen your wishes on the lantern and send them up into the sky.


The good thing about the service here is that the staff will help you take photos FROM EVERY ANGLES! They even helped us to record a video of us releasing the lantern! Truly impressed. Haha!


 May all our wishes come true! :D


Perfect place for some photos too! :P

Note that the rail track is actually still on operation! It's quite funny to see everyone moving off the track when a train is approaching! Haha! But no worries, as mentioned, the train frequency is really low. 


Fried ice cream. Just have to try it! :D


It was actually quite good! I thought I would get a stomach upset since it's like a hot and cold combination. But nope, I didn't. *phew*



Besides 放天灯, another attraction at Shifen is the Shifen Waterfall. 

We have thought that it was going to be a short walk from Shifen railway station. But no.. it was a torturous 1 or 2 hours (can't remember clearly) walk,under the scorching sun. 

A very much needed workout for all the food that we have consumed along the way. Haha! 

We walked about 15minutes to Shifen Tourists Center, naturally we thought we were real to the waterfall as there were a lot of signs and information about the attraction. 

But nah.. 

After walking up a UPSLOPE HILL, which was freaking long to us. I think because we were tired. :P 
Then we merged into a boardwalk within a small forest. It was much cooling to walk  under the shelters of the trees, air was fresher too! ^^

Finally.. after a long long walk..


We managed to arrive at Shifen Waterfall, in one piece. 

LOL!

A bit dramatic, but it was one serious good walk for us. We were beat tired from not just the  walk, but the sun as well. The poor boy has to cover all the loot from Jiufen and refused to let me help. :( 

Anyway, to get in you have to pay an entrance fee of NT100 per adult. They will give you some vouchers for you to purchase food and beverages inside though. So it's like forcing you to spend. So smart right?


Immediately we came to our 'checkpoint', the waterfall. 


Honestly, can I say I'm a bit disappointed? Well, I had expected more given the amount of time we have spent walking. 


It was beautifu nonetheless. 



Taken with my personal 'selfie stick', his long arm. Not bad ya?


That's about it. Really small area just for the waterfall. But our trip was made more worthy when we tried the coffee at a cafe here. We had the  caramel coffee,焦糖玛莉奇朵, and it was really good! We could feel that the barista took a lot of pride in his coffee. Like he will insist that you drink it without stirring the caramelised sugar. So remember to try this when you're here, to get yourself recharged for the journey back too! :P
 

One last shot before we go.

I think Shifen waterfall is definitely worth coming for that experience. But I don't think I love it enough to come back again, there are many other places to explore!:) 



Although the walk was long and tiring, we both had fun and enjoyed ourselves! :) Glad that we have each other's company as we joked and laughed along the way. :) 

Managed to walk back in time for our train too! Like how we came, we took a train on the Pinghsi Line to Ruifang Train Station. Then we transferred to the TRA line back to Taipei Main Station before we proceed to Wufenpu and Raohe Night Market. That will be on a next post! :) 

Btw, there are many other places of interest on Pinghsi Line that you might want to explore, don't waste the unlimited ride ya? We had other plans so we didn't continue on. But next time definitely! :) 

In case you missed out on my previous posts on Taiwan. :)

Love,
Lirong. 

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