"A look at the Shifen Waterfalls, one of the most popular waterfalls in Taiwan."
"The busy streets with astonishing red lanterns of Jiufen."
One of the things I love about Shifen and Jiufen is you get a sense of their history and culture while walking around these areas. These places are symbols of their culture and pride. Flying off a sky lantern in Shifen Town, viewing the vast waters of Shifen waterfalls, and walking around the historical Jiufen old street with beautiful sceneries are one of the reasons why these are popular destinations in Taiwan for locals and tourists alike.
Shifen Waterfalls is a 20-meter tall, 40-meter wide waterfalls located in Pingxi District making it the broadest waterfalls in Taiwan. The Shifen Waterfalls, also known as the Little Niagara, is famous both to the locals and tourists so expect a bunch of people visiting this place even on a weekday.
From Shifen Station, you need to hike for about 20-30 minutes going to the waterfalls. You can also enjoy the views around the area while walking. Before, they used to charge an entrance fee, but now it is ABSOLUTELY FREE! It is open daily from 9:00-16:30 only.
After the hike, you’ll definitely get hungry. But don't worry as along the streets of Shifen Town, there are loads of cafeterias and stalls that sell delicious Taiwan delicacies, foods, drinks, and souvenirs that you could choose from.
There is an array of vendors selling sky lanterns as well where you can write down your dreams and wishes and let them fly to the sky hoping for it to come true. In the ancient days, sky lanterns were flown to signal their families and relatives that they are safe but nowadays, it has already become a tourist activity. You can either choose a one-colored or a four-colored lantern to which each colors have their own meaning. You can fly your sky lantern in the railways as there is only one train that comes every hour. The vendors will also help you take perfect shots and videos while you fly the lantern.
After flying a lantern, we waited for the train back to Ruifang Station. We then took a 20-minute bus ride from Ruifang Station going to Jiufen Old Street.
Jiufen Old Street also houses various restaurants and stalls selling different stuffs from food to souvenirs. If you really love having food trips, then this place is for you! You can try fresh and delicious food that you can only see here in Taiwan. What makes Jiufen Old Street unique is that it is located at the top of the mountain and from there; you can grasp the stunning sights of its nearby mountains, temples, and sea.
Its iconic red lanterns accompanied by the century-old structured buildings are just all over the place. If you have seen Hayao Miyazaki's Academy Award winning anime film, Spirited Away, then you will surely love and relate to this place.
Note: While Jiufen is a must see spot when visiting northern Taiwan, public transport are actually busy because of the number of tourists that visits here every day. Queuing for a long time just to board a bus is just normal.
Below is our itinerary with a brief breakdown of our expenses during our day trip in Shifen and Jiufen:
Leave for Ruifang (TRA) from Taipei Main Station
Arrived at Ruifang and Transferred to Pingxi Line
Arrived at Shifen Station and strolled around Shifen Town
Started walking to Shifen Waterfalls
Started walking back to Shifen Town near Shifen Station
Ate our lunch at Shifen Town
Flew a Sky Lantern
Leave for Ruifang Station
Took a bus going to Jiufen Old Street
Arrived at Jiufen Old Street
Strolled around the Old Street
(Food trips: optional)
Leave for Ruifang Station from Jiufen
Arrived at Ruifang Station
Leave for Taipei
Arrived in Taipei
However, time and costs may vary depending on the number of hours and things you spend in each places. In getting on the TRA from Taipei Main to Ruifang and in the Pingxi Line, you can either use your Easy Card, or buy a ticket at their ticketing counter. Still, I suggest using the Easy Card as it is more convenient and you can save more time if you don’t want to bear those long queues (especially during weekends).
- Trains departing from Ruifang Station daily:
05:19, 06:26, 07:23, 08:06, 09:03, 10:03, 11:08, 12:05, 13:05, 14:05, 15:05, 16:08, 17:05, 18:30, 19:21, 21:12, 23:00
- Trains departing from Shifen Station daily:
05:47, 06:30, 07:50, 08:45, 09:50, 10:50, 11:45, 12:45, 13:45, 14:50, 15:48, 16:50, 17:53, 18:29, 19:57, 20:43, 22:30