New Taipei City | Exploring the Suburbs of Northern Taiwan
NEW TAIPEI CITY TRAVEL GUIDE
New Taipei City, Taiwan – The northern coast of Taiwan is also a sight to behold. Particularly in New Taipei City just outside Taipei, I have personally experienced the sights and sounds of Jiufen and Shifen on a do-it-yourself tour. Here are some of the things I did in these two towns outside the hustle-and-bustle of Taipei City.
Read also: Taiwan Travel Guide
Go Time Travel in Jiufen Old Street
From Taipei Main Station, there is an indirect train going to Jiufen Old Street, via Ruifang Station. When reaching Taipei Main Station, Look for the TRA Taipei Station Signs and look for the trains going to the Eastern Line (Keelung, Ruifang, Yilan, Hualien, Yuli, and Taitung). Trains to Ruifang Station are usually stationed in Platform 4A. Travel time from Taipei Main Station to Ruifang Train Station is around 45 minutes, and the train fare costs NT$ 44 (PH₱ 80).
Upon reaching Ruifang Train Station, there are signs leading you to the bus stop going to Jiufen Old Street. In the bus stop along the Ruifang Community Square (around 300 meters from the Ruifang Train Station), look for the buses 788 / 825 / 827 / 856 / 965 / 1062 as these buses will drop you off at Jiufen Old Street. Travel time from Ruifang Community Square to Jiufen Old Street is around 15 minutes and the bus fare costs NT$ 15 – 20 (PH₱ 27 – 36).
Upon reaching the bus stop at Jiufen Old Street, just walk a few meters and you will see the Jiufen Old Street entrance, just beside 7-11. From there, you get to go inside the maze inside Jiufen Old Street. Luckily enough for me, I went there early in the morning, around 9 am, and there were still a few people roaming around Jiufen. I had the chance to get some snaps of the famous Amei Tea House and the lantern-adorned alleyways of Jiufen Old Street.
Jiufen Old Street was an old mining village that is why its alleyways are narrow and zigzagging all over the area. I also tried some of their famous food here:
Grandma Lai’s Sweet Taro Balls
Surprisingly, the taro balls in Jiufen are sweeter and their colors are interesting. I tried their hot variant (you can also try it cold) and the dessert was so filling. Grandma Lai’s Sweet Taro Balls only costs NT$ 50 (PH₱ 90).
Here are also some of the food stalls you must try:
- Lai Ah Po Taro Balls
- Ah Gan Taro Balls
- A-Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll
- Jin Zhu Red Yeast Meatballs
- You Cong Guo
Souvenirs in Jiufen Old Street are also cheaper than those found in the metro. I bought several milk tea keychains and pouches for my sister and mom. I also bought some interesting taro pudding sold per box.
Walk your way into Shifen Old Street
From Jiufen Old Street, you can go immediately to Shifen Old Street via the Ruifang Train Station again. From Jiufen, ride a bus going back to Ruifang Station (15 minutes, NT$ 15 – 20 (PH₱ 27 – 36)). From Ruifang Train Station, take the local train going to Jingtong / Badouzi (via the Pingxi Line), Platform 3. Alight at the Shifen Train Station. The travel time from Ruifang Train Station to Shifen Train Station is around 30 minutes and the train fare costs NT$ 15 (PH₱ 27).
Shifen Lantern Release
One of the main activities in Shifen Old Street is the Lantern Release. Here, you get to choose how many colors your lantern may be. It can be from 4 to 8 colors in a single lantern. For me, I booked my Shifen Lantern Release Experience on Klook and it only costs NT$ 247 – 250 (PH₱ 441 – 445).
A guide will then lead you to the main train track for you to release the lantern. They will take photos and videos of you releasing the lantern. I suggest that you go early in the morning or do the activity in the late afternoon as the sun is very warm midday and there are a lot of people releasing and painting the lanterns.
Explore the wonder of the Shifen Waterfalls
After releasing your wishes and your lanterns at the Shifen Old Street, have a good 20-30 minute hike going to the Shifen Waterfalls. Along the way, you will get to see the natural wonders surrounding Shifen. If you are lucky enough, there is also a live train rail along the way and see trains pass by. Upon reaching the Shifen Waterfalls area, there are also souvenir shops in the area and there are also food stalls whenever you need to eat and rest.
From there, when going back to Ruifang Train Station, you get to catch one of the last train trips. Train fare from TRA Shifen to TRA Ruifang, then transfer to MRT Ruifang to MRT Taipei is around NT$ 61 (PH₱ 110) and travel time from Shifen to Taipei is around 1 hour. You get to alight from Taipei Main Station or to wherever destination you would like to go next. 🙂
Sample Itinerary when Exploring New Taipei City and the rest of Taiwan
This itinerary is based on a 3D2N stay in Taiwan. It is up to you to squeeze in a few more days so that you can explore the other provinces of the island nation.
|Taichung International Airport
|Check in at KGold Hotel
|Taichung Literature Museum
|Chun Shui Tang Siwei Original Store
|Miyahara Ice Cream
|Taichung Central Train Station
|Zhongshe Flower Market
|Caihongjuan Rainbow Village
|Taichung HSR (bound for Taipei – Nangang)
|Ximending District / Ximending Night Market
|Shilin Night Market
|Taipei Main Station to Ximen Station (Blue Line)
|Check in at Backpackers Hostel Ximen
|Taipei Rainbow Road
|Mengjia (Bangka) Longshan Temple
|Liberty Square Arch + Liberty Square + Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
|Taipei City Hall Rainbow Lane
|Elephant Mountain Peak
|Raohe Night Market
|Taipei to Ruifang
|Train from Ruifang to Jiufen Old Street
|Jiufen Old Street
|Train from Ruifang to Shifen Old Street
|Shifen Old Street
|Train from Ruifang to Taipei Main Station
|Train from Taipei Main Station to Taoyuan International Airport (Terminal 1)
|Taoyuan International Airport (Terminal 1)
*Note that the places, prices, and information written as of publication date and time are true and are given best during my visit. Changes may occur without prior notice. If you notice any changes to the information given above, you can e-mail me here so we can dish things up!*
We’re born to travel!