The Magical Old Streets of Ruifang District 瑞芳區: Jiufen 九份 (2/2)

On our first day in Taipei, we headed straight to Ruifang District 瑞芳區 in New Taipei from the airport. We rode the Pingxi Railway Line 平溪線 to Pingxi Old Street 平溪老街, then hopped on a bus to Jiufen 九份, which was a short ten-minute ride away from Ruifang 瑞芳.

Jiufen

Jiufen Old Street 九份老街

For many months, I’ve waited to see Jiufen 九份. Many say that this decommissioned mining town inspired Miyazaki Hayao in creating his spectacular film, Spirited Away, and it was obvious: at the entrance of the street, the strong aroma of various mouthwatering dishes and snacks assaulted my senses. There were red lanterns and beautiful stores selling trinkets along the way. Wbe  we visited, there were hundreds of Japanese and Korean tourists, and everywhere I looked, crowds thronged and waited for their turn to take photos of each corner of this beautiful street.

I hope I could say I tried everything I could get my hands on, but I didn’t. There were many local delicacies I should have tried, such as taro balls, grilled snails, and grilled mushrooms. Here are some of the stuff that we saw at Jiufen.

Jiufen 九份

Wu Di
Wu Di ‘Flower Lady’ selling kurobuta sausages
Jiufen tunnel
Jiufen tunnel

Jiufen store

I’ve never liked cats (mostly because I have a terrible allergy to cat hair), but I loved the many cat ornaments in Jiufen. They even had a store devoted to pet cats!

Jiufen tea house
Jiufen tea house. Photo by Jep del Socorro

Before we headed back to our hostel, we wanted to take a picture of the famous tea house that we see in postcards. However, we couldn’t find a space where we could take a good shot. I was close to giving up, but then my friends found a spot from across the street. The owner of the cafe across the street chatted them up and asked where we’re from. When he learned we were from the Philippines, he gave us the seats with the best view! He talked a bit about politics, then left us to admire the view of the tea house, the mountains, and the sea.

Where We Stayed

We stayed at Sunday Inn along Shuqi Road. If you’re going to visit anytime soon, make sure you book Sunday Inn. Kellen, our host, has been very gracious and generous. Our room has AC, a shower with heater, cable TV, and fast Wi-Fi connection. I can’t recommend it enough. However, if you want to find more hostels in the area, visit Booking.com today. (Please note that if you make a booking using my link, I may receive a small amount as commission.)

Needless to say, it was an unforgettable experience. Given the chance, I will go back to Ruifang in a heartbeat. I want to visit the other stations along the Pingxi Line, and I hope to stay longer in Jiufen to learn more about the town’s history and culture.

This post is part of a series on my Taiwan trip. I visited Jiufen in October 2016; if there are any outdated pieces of information, let me know.

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