From Taipei to Jiufen
Latest! Updated on 1 Feb 2018.
The day had finally come for us to go from Taipei to Jiufen and Shifen. Travelling from Taipei to Jiufen Old Street was much easier than what we had in mind.
The main reason for us to go Taipei was a visit to Jiufen and Shifen, any other attractions were secondary.
So what’s so interesting about Shifen? The famous Jiufen Old Street:
And what about Shifen? The Sky Lantern:
The 3 Types Of Train In Taipei
How to go Jiufen from Taipei?
To Travel from Taipei to Jiufen, first we need to be at Taipei Main Station, catch the TRA to Ruifang Station, and from there take a taxi or bus to Jiufen.
It sounds complicated, but all it takes is just 50 mins to be at Ruifang Station and then another 15 minutes by bus or taxi to Jiufen.
First get to Taipei Main Station :
Proceed to the TRA.
Purchase your TRA ticket at the counter or use your Easycard if you already got one. EasyCard is a store-value card which allows commuter to travel between some buses, TRA and HSR just by tapping the card, instead of looking for coins and dollars. It can be purchases through the ticketing machine at any Metro Station or at convenience stores such as Family Mart and 7-11.
Go to the basement of Taipei Main Station, and be shocked by the large crowd over there. We were told that Ruifang, Jiufen and Shifen were favourite weekend getaway for the locals.
The station has very informative directives, so you would not lost your way. On Our train to Ruifang was at 10.05am.
Reading from the train schedule, noticed that trains to Ruifang comes every 50 minutes, so do not panic to get into one.
In Taipei, most signages are in both English and Chinese, so do not worry about that. Even though I understand both languages, still, I frequently consult the station staff to confirm my decision.
The congested area was made worse when the train arrived. The alighting comuters were eager to head for their destination, while those on the platform were eager to board. We followed the crowd and then did we knew why was there a need to rush into the train: to get a good seat. Yes, it’s free seating.
Note that seats are not allocated, it is based on first-come-first-served basis, it’s better to be seated, as the journey to Ruifang station takes about 50 mins.
The seats arrangement is very much like the Taipei Metro, but instead of getting hard plastic seats, you get a comfy sofa-like seat, good for a long train ride.
There is even washrooms on the train.
The train would pass through 9 stations before arriving at Ruifang. Just in case you have no idea where is Ruifang, here’s a map for you. Ruifang is at the top right hand corner on the above image.
As Jiufen is located at the outskirts of Taipei, the train will pass by many seemingly deserted areas to me. There were few stops along the way, and I noticed that most of the train stations were either very small or poorly maintained.
Ruifang Train Station
Finally after a 50 minutes journey, we arrived at Ruifang station, now closer to our dreamlands- Jiufen and Shifen.
Remember to picture yourself with the train.
Signages at the train station clearly indicates the direction of Jiufen and Jin Guo Shi.
Take Note : Visitors who are proceeding to Shifen or Qingtong or Pinxi, need to alight at this Ruifang Station and proceed to the other platform to change train. By the way, the travelling time to Shifen is about 50 minutes. Or you may exit here and take a taxi to those places. Kindly read my other post on From Taipei To Shifen.
Picture below: Directions towards Ruifang Old Street, as that’s the place we wanted to go, so we exit from here.
Upon exiting the station we were rather surprised that the holding area was so small.
Steps away on the exit is a Tourist Service Booth with lots of informative brochures on Jiufen. We were told that the last train to go back from here (Ruifang) to Taipei was 11.30pm and the last bus to go from here to Shifen was 9.30pm. The counter staffs are very helpful, so go to get whatever information you need. In whatever case, the priority is always to find out the timing of the last bus and train, unless you intend to stay for a night, otherwise you could end up staying overnight here.
Ruifang Old Street 瑞芳火车站
Finally I saw this famous Ruifang Train Station.
Looking at Ruifang from the entrance/exit of Ruifang Train Station.
Ruifang is a very small town. We decided to take a walk to feel the pulse of this ‘cute cute’ town.
Markets and eateries were all over the place.
Jiufen and Shifen tour packages
Just outside Ruifang train station is a taxi stand where you could book your tour to your dreamland of Jiufen Old Street or Shifeng and its surrounding attractions.
Do not worry about being cheated, as tour packages on itinerary and prices are clearly indicated on the big signage.
As a DIY tourist, or tourists without a tour guide, I love all these clearly indicated tour package charges, they are very useful in guiding me if I’m paying the right price for the right service. The Taiwan Tourist Promotion Board did a great job in that!
Above are tour packages for Jiufen, Shifen and Yeliu. For the benefits of those who do not understand Chinese, I had literary made a translation on it :
Package A( NT$1,200): Ruifang Train Station/Nanya Rock Formations/ YinYang Sea/ Remains Of The Thirteen Levels/ Golden Waterfall/ Jiufen Old Street.
Package B ( NT$1,800): Ruifang Train Station/ Shifen Waterfall/ Shifen Old Street/ Jiufen Old Street.
Package C ( NT$2,500): Ruifang Train Station/ Jiufen Old Street/ Yeliu/ Back to Taipei
Package D ( NT$2,800): Ruifang Train Station/ Jiufen Old Street/ Shifen Waterfall/ Shifen Old Street/ Back to Taipei
Package E (NT$3,600): Ruifang Train Station/ Nanya Rock Formations/ YinYang Sea/ Remains Of The Thirteen Levels/ Golden Waterfall/ Jiufen Old Street/ Shifen Waterfall/ Shifen Old Street/ Back to Taipei.
Currently NTD$1,000 converts to USD$29.80
Take note of the following:
1. YinYang Sea is also known as Bay of Two Colors.
2. Shifen Old Street, is the location where Sky Lantern are found.
3. Jiufen is also known as Chiufen.
Most of the tour package has a duration of 3 hours, for any customisation, do negotiate with the taxi operator before boarding to avoid any dispute.
Visitors could go to Jiufen or Shifen by taxi or public bus. In actual fact, bus fare to Jiufen cost NT$150 or USD$4.50, it makes economical sense to hire a taxi if more than one person is travelling.
The above table on taxi fares clearly indicate the charges to Jiufen, Shifen, Jinhuashi, Shifenliao and Shuangxi. With these tour packages as a guide, do not be scared of being con, just negotiate with the taxi driver and go for your happy holiday.
Bus to Jiufen
Nevertheless, as we disliked being locked in a tour package and having a stranger tailing you and always seems to hurry you from one attraction to another, we decided to go on our own. My first stop was Jiufen Old Street. To be there I need to hire a taxi or take a public bus, we chose the latter.
As the bus stop right at the front of Ruifang Station had already moved to another site, we just followed the instructions and head towards the new bus stop.
The signage is located just infront of the bus stop outside Ruifang Train Station.
Had straight on the left of the road, after a 5 mins walk, the bus stop should be visible. Easily identify by the green colour building.
The bus stop is actually located just beside the Ruifang Police Department.
Following picture ( indicated by the red coloured arrow ) is the new bus stop to Jiufen, it is just 5 minutes walk from Ruifang Train Station.
That’s the bus to Jiufen and Jinguoshi. I have been taking this bus thrice, once in July 2016, Nov 2016 and the latest is Jan 2018. So the bus stop is certainly there to stay.
We were told that it comes every 20 mins. The destination of the bus was clearly indicated in big word on the front of the bus ( the green card) and on its LED panel. The bus fare was inexpensive, we paid NT$150 each using Easycard. But experience told me that it’s better to get a few coins and small notes in NT$100 ready in case the Easycard for whatever reason cannot be detected and the bus captain demands the commuter to pay in cash.
After a 15 minutes journey going up the mountain, we finally arrived at the legendary Jiufen!
You won’t miss this bus stop, firstly the bus captain shouted the name ‘Jiufen’ loudly. Secondly, 80% of the passengers alighted here, just follow the crowd or ask the bus captain if you are unsure. Should you missed this stop, the next one is 200 metres away and thereafter is Jinguashi, cross the road and take the bus back then.
We followed the crowd and walked up the hill and there we were, the entrance of Jiufen Old Street. See that iconic colourful 7-Eleven roof? Beside it is the entrance of Jiufen Old Street.
That’s how easy it is to travel from Taipei to Jiufen.
Check-it-out on the upcoming post on Jiufen Old Street!