Jioufen, Taipei, Taiwan, April 2016. Just an hour away by train and bus, Jioufen lies on the side of a mountain boasting panoramic scenery and oozes historic charm – that’s the claim of tourist media makes. Well, as the sun has made a rare appearance over Taipei time to venture out and see if the tourist blurb lives up to the claims.
So the plan – Ximen to Taipei main station on the metro, change to the railways for a local train to Ruifang Station and finally a bus up to Jioufen.
The easiest way to get a ticket at Taipei Main Station is go straight to the ticket counter. The automated system looks pretty complicated with up to 3 different types of trains plying the route with plenty of Chinese and not too much English. T$66 single ticket for the 1216 from platform 2A to Ruifang.
In actual fact I can hop on to an earlier train, but if the seats are taken I will need to stand – well, its mostly empty on this rather nice Inter-city train so a seat is no problem. A nice train journey, quite picturesque trundling through the Northeastern suburbs in-between hills and only 35 minutes to Ruifang. At Ruifang I must walk to the high street turn left and look for a bus stand on the right – 1061 or 788 bus’s go to Jioufen according to the tourist information desk. Sure enough there is a bus stand, and even the said bus!
Jioufen has 2 roads – the highway skirting the edge of the town and Old Street, a cobbled pedestrianized way running through the middle of town and its absolutely heaving with tourists. The only way to tackle this is join the flow and shuffle along. Its hard to see whats old about it since views are somewhat obscured with canopies and with the place full on tourist pretty much all the buildings here are in use as shops, food outlets etc. The variety is interesting though. Tea shops, noodle stops, fancy good- well, you get the idea. No need to bring lunch or pay for food, just eat and drink all the samples on offer!
here’s a few snaps to get an idea of the Old Street, Jioufen.