February 1, 2017 (Day 2 Part 3) – From Shifen, we moved towards Riufang Station via the Old Pingxi Train for NTD15/person, the whole trip takes about 20 minutes more or less. When using this Old Pingxi Train, you’ve got to be mindful of its schedule due to its low train frequency. We boarded the 6:28 PM train to Riufang Station (if we miss this slot then we need to wait for the 8 PM train) and the train was very congested to the brim. You can notice from the photo below the number of people alighting at Riufang Station.
From Riufang Station, we walk for about 2 minutes and headed to a bus stop just right outside the Police Station, I don’t have the time to take photo because people were already filling the Bus 788 to Jiufen and it’s starting to drizzle and so we made our way into the bus and find a comfy seat. Like most local buses here in Taiwan, its clean and you can use/tap your easy card. A one-way ticket cost NTD15 and it’ll take you around 15-20 minutes before you reach Jiufen. Drivers here are quite skilled as they drive safely into the windy, curvy and steep hilly road.
The bus will definitely stop at Jiufen though you need to walk further to reach the entry as indicated in the photo below. Commonly, travelers are coming here on a regular basis so just follow the crowd and you’re on it, but in our case since its past 7 PM and raining, there are few tourist and so we need to find this place on our own. Good thing, I did my homework hence the place kinda looks familiar so finding Jiufen popular street is easy and of course asking a local isn’t that hard.
Jiufen is located in the mountainous area of North Eastern Taiwan and was built by the Japanese during its colonization way back in 1895. Jiufen is popular way back then due to its Gold abundance and that’s the main reason why the place became the Japanese-era gold mining hub, you can trace this history in the nearby gold mine museum in Jinguashi. Now, it’s known for its narrow alleyways loaded with souvenir shops, teahouses, and street foods. And after the 2001 anime movie, this became even more popular with anime geeks like me and even with regular tourist.
I admit that aside from being a Kdrama/Kpop addict, I’m also an Anime Geek and with that being said, I love visiting shooting locations and since I am already in Taiwan a visit to the real life spirited away is a must. If you’re not familiar with this, Spirited Away is an anime fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. Let’s proceed with the film setting and Jiufen profound similarities.
Red Lights/Chinese Lanterns
The Red Chinese Lanterns are the most prominent similarities between the movie and Jiufen along with the bath building tructures. You can find these red lights in almost all alleys and shops here.
Chihiro’s family entered a tunnel which led them to the enchanted land while in Jiufen, you need to enter narrow alleyway to get into shops and teahouses. Also, you’ll find a cave like tunnel where you can enter but this tunnel led you to nowhere. You can take snaps and vandal on the wall.
Odd Faces & Mask.
Actually more than this mask, there’s an actual shop here that sells unique and odd mask but unfortunately, since it’s raining and almost 8 PM most shops were closed that time.
No Face is an interesting and fascinating character in the film and it became an iconic figure/character not only in Taiwan but in Japan as well. You can easily spot No Face figurines and souvenirs all over the place.
Yep, the drizzling rain here and there in Jiufen seems to resemble with the film. And I’ve gotta tell you that you really need a raincoat to keep you dry. Raincoats here cost from NTD20 to as much NTD100, we get ours for NTD50 each.
Just like in the film where Chihiro’s parent devoured heaping amount of foods, you can find plenty of Taiwanese delicacies here. But regrettably, we missed the food feast as most shops closes earlier than expected.
9PM Riufang Station
After taking a few photo, we stop at Family Mart to get some food and headed back to Riufang Station via Keelung Bus at Jiufen for NTD15/person. We’re not sure if we have enough money loaded in our easycard so we bought a single journey ticket to Taipei for NTD49/person. We walked to Platform 2A to wait for our train and while waiting we enjoyed Gimbap and Cafe Milk to keep the fleeting energy in our body.
How to Get Here?
Since this post is all about our experience, I will be having a detailed day trip guide for Yehliu, Shifen, and Jiufen itinerary for you coming in a few days! Just don’t forget to subscribe here on my blog for more updates.
By TRA (Taipei Railway) at Taipei Main Station. Ride the train to Ruifang (瑞芳). A return ticket cost NT120 including seat reservation.
By Bus Take Keelung Bus 788 or 1062 at Riufang Police Station for NTD15 per way. Usually, there will be other traveler alighting at Jiufen.
By Taxi For those with extra money to spare, you might want to check out cabs that offering packages at Riufang Station and you can check the regulated price posted in the station. You can haggle nicely for discounts.
- Conversion as per exchange we had at NAIA. NTD1 to Php1.75.
- You can swipe/scroll the table to see Note if you have a small screen.
|BUS 788 RT Riufang to Jiufen & Jiufen to Riufang
Riufang to Taipei via TRA
TMS to Heybear via Metro
|Food & Drinks 7/11 & Family Mart||FOOD||NT$247||₱432.25||123.50/Person|
|Total Expenses for 2||NT$537||₱940||Per Couple|
|Per Person Expenses||NT$269||₱470||Per Person|
Note: Since we’re pressed for time we didn’t have the time to dine properly but the convenience store foods are not bad either so it really doesn’t matter.
Again, watch out for more Taiwan entries in a few days and since we traveled DIY, I will be posting Taiwan Free and Easy guide after my travelogues. Feel free to use the comment area below for questions and or share your experience with me by sharing it here. Also, I’m prepping my Youtube Channel so please do support by subscribing at RunawayMariaTV Don’t forget to follow my journey through my INSTAGRAM @runawaymaria and Facebook by tapping LIKE! See you in my next post.