Charming old towns in Keelung, Jiufen (九份) and Shifen (十分) are popular spots to visit on a day trip from Taipei. 

Grandma Lai Taro Balls Shop front - Day Trip to Jiufen and Shifen

Before the 1950s, Jiufen and Shifen were gold and coal mining towns respectively. Today,  its rustic vintage vibes, great local Taiwanese delectables, and iconically Taiwanese activities such as releasing sky lanterns make this a popular to visit on a day trip from Taipei.

However, these places aren’t the most accessible to visit despite the proximity. Public transportation involves too many transfers across various means, while cab drivers are known to mark up fares for unsuspecting tourists. No one wants to spend additional time and money when those can be spent on better things, such as food. Oh yes, all the great food to be discovered in Taiwan~

How to get to Jiufen & Shifen from Taipei

Most visitors will head to Shifen and continue to Jiufen, as Shifen is nearer to Taipei. Although both towns share similar sounding names, they aren’t actually very near to each other.

(1) By Public Transport

From Taipei To Shifen: Take a rail train from Taipei Main Stn. (台北車站) to Ruifang Stn. (瑞芳站) > Transfer to the Pingxi Small Railway (平溪支線) to Shifen Stn. (十分站)

From Shifen to Jiufen: Take the Pingxi Small Railway to Ruifang Stn. (瑞芳站), and transfer to bus #788, #827, or #1062 to Jiufen Old Street (九份老街)

*There’s no public transportation between Jiufen and Shifen, you’ll have to get back to Ruifang Stn. (瑞芳站) to transfer.

From Jiufen To Taipei: Take bus #1062 from Jiufen Old Streets (九份老街) to Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Stn. (忠孝復興站) in Taipei.

Cost: ~S$16 (Round-trip)
Total Travel Time: ~4 hours (Round Trip)

 

(2) Shuttle Bus (Highly recommended)

Probably the most cost-effective and convenient way to get from Taipei to Jiufen & Shifen is to pre-book this direct shuttle service. It picks you up from Ximending and reaches Shifen within an hour. There will be a 1-hour stopover in Shifen before continuing to Jiufen.
The entire day-trip will take 7 hours (round trip from Taipei) and you can choose between the morning (8:45AM) or afternoon slot (1:15PM).

Cost: ~S$20.70
Total Travel Time: 2hr 30mins

Must-dos in Shifen (十分)

Shifen is somewhat like the less popular sibling of Jiufen, kinda forgotten but yet attractive in her own ways. Shifen’s alluring old-school charms and the Shifen waterfall has made this an equally worthy stop. With 1 hour to spare, here are our top 3 things to do in Shifen.

1) 放天燈 Release Sky Lanterns

Shifen Sky Lantern - Taipei Itinerary

Releasing sky lanterns on the old rail track in Shifen (which still functions btw!) is almost ritualistic. Like everyone, we bought a lantern from one of the many lantern shops along the old rail track, wrote our wishes in unintelligible Chinese, and released it to the heavens. Let’s hope the gods above can read our handwriting 😛

Cost: NT$100-200
Address:
 226, Taiwan, New Taipei City, Pingxi District, 十分老街

2) 十分大瀑布 Ride an electric scooter to Shifen Waterfalls

Shifen Waterfall - Taipei Itinerary

The second most famous sight in Shifen is this natural beauty, the Shifen Waterfalls 十分大瀑布. You can rent an electric scooter bike along Shifen Old Street to get here.

Price of scooter rental: NT$200/hr
Location:
 No.10, Gankeng Road, Nanshan Village, Pingxi DistrictXinbei 226, Taiwan [新北市平溪區乾坑10號]

3) 平溪線小火車 Get Onboard an Old Choo-choo Train

Pingxi Small Railway Train Shifen - Day Trip to Jiufen and Shifen-1
Credit: @traveltalks28

A fun way to get to Shifen is via the Pingxi Small Railway Train 平溪線小火車. This Japanese-era train used to transport coal when the mining industry was thriving but has since become a means of transportation for visitors to get to Shifen from Ruifang Stn (瑞芳站).

From Shifen Stn itself, you can also board the train to visit Pingxi Stn (平溪站) and Jingtong Stn (菁桐站), which are scenic old towns too.

Bonus snack: 溜哥燒烤雞翅包飯 Snack on LiouGe BBQ Stuffed Wings

Stuffed Wings grilling Shifen - Day Trip to Jiufen and Shifen

What’s the best way to find the best food? Ask the locals, and that’s exactly what we did in Shifen. We actually asked an uncle from another food stall what his favourite food at Shifen is. And LiouGe BBQ Stuffed Wings was his recommendation. Now, we’re recommending it to you.

Stuffed Wings at Shifen - Day Trip to Jiufen and Shifen

The chicken wings from this stall are no ordinary wings. Besides being deboned then stuffed with rice, the homemade barbeque sauce is fragrant and very flavourful.

Price: NT$65/pc
Address: 
No. 52號, Shifen Street, Pingxi District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 226[平溪區十分老街52號]
Opening Hours: 
10AM-6PM daily

 

Must-Eats in Jiufen (九份)

Those who have been to Jiufen will know what a food haven it is. The tight winding street is lined with food stalls from beginning to the end. From Taiwanese Sausage to chewy Taro Balls, there are all kinds of food from savoury to sweet, hot to cold.

If you’re taking the direct shuttle bus, you’ll have 3 hours to explore the nooks and crannies of this charming old town.

10 Must-Eats

1) 張記傳統魚丸 Zhang Ji Traditional Fishballs

Zhang Ji Traditional Fishballs at Jiufen - Day Trip to Jiufen and Shifen

At Zhang Ji Traditional Fishball 張記傳統魚丸, one does not simply only try the fishballs. In fact, you’d be silly if you only buy fishballs from them. Instead, get the Combination Soup that comes with 3 different types of fishballs — meat encased fishballs (Fuzhou balls), squid balls, and regular fishballs.

From the same stall, you also have to try their Braised Pork Rice (滷肉饭) with Braised Egg (滷蛋). Who would have imagined such simple-looking dishes would taste so good.

Price: Combination Soup: NT$45/bowl; Braised Minced Pork Rice: NT$30/bowl
Address: 224, Taiwan, New Taipei City, Ruifang District [台北縣瑞芳鎮基山街25號]
Opening Hours: 10AM – 7PM (Weekdays), 10AM – 8PM (Weekends)

2) 食謎店 九份第一家臭豆腐 Shi Mi Jiufen First Stinky Tofu

Stinky Tofu Jiufen - Day Trip to Jiufen and Shifen

Stinky Tofu is a love or hate thing. Fans of this dish will love the store Shi Mi Dian 食謎店. They sell both deep fried and the spicy braised versions, but we personally prefer deep-fried version. The fried skin added a crunchy texture to the surprisingly soft tofu without being too dry. The unmistakable scent can be picked up on tens of metres away, just imagine the punch it’s packed with.

Address: No. 106, Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224 [新北市瑞芳區九份基山街106號]
Opening Hours: 11AM – 8PM (Mon-Thu), 11AM – 9PM (Fri), 10AM – 9PM (Sat & Sun)

3) 金枝紅槽肉圓 Jin Zhi Red Yeast Meat Dumpling金枝紅槽肉圓 Jin Zhi Red Yeast Vegetarian Dumpling

Vegetarian Rice Cake at JiuFen Old Street (九份老街) - Taipei Itinerary
Vegetarian Dumpling

Jin Zhi’s Meat Dumplings (肉圓) are one of the most famous in Taiwan primarily due to the fact that the meat is soaked in red yeast (vinasse), and that there’s actually a vegetarian branch a few stalls down.

Combination Meat Ball Jiufen - Day Trip to Jiufen and Shifen-1
Combination Meat Ball Soup

Available at the meat dumpling stall is also a combination meatball soup (五色綜合丸湯) that’s worth a try too! It comes in five different flavours — Codfish, Squid, Pork, Kimchi, and Bamboo charcoal, this soup is definitely something out of the ordinary you should try.

[Meat Dumpling]
Price: 
NT$45/pc of meatball; NT$50/bowl of combination balls
Address:
No. 112, Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224 [新北市瑞芳區九份基山街112號]
Opening Hours: 10AM – 10PM (Weekdays), 9AM – 10PM (Weekends)

[Vegetarian Dumpling]
Address:
No. 63, Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224 [新北市瑞芳區九份基山街63號]
Opening Hours: 9AM – 7PM (Weekdays), 9AM – 9PM (Weekends)

4) 九份老麵店 Jiufen Old Noodle Shop

Jiufen Old Noodle Shop - Day Trip to Jiufen and Shifen
Although 九份老麵店 Jiufen Old Noodle Shop sells a variety of noodles and soups, their signature beef noodles (招牌牛肉麵) is a must-try. The chunks of beef are cooked until perfectly tender and go very well with the spicy broth.
Another great find in this Jiufen Old Noodle Shop is the Century Egg Tofu (皮蛋豆腐) side dish. Served cold, the tofu is smooth yet firm, creating a gastronomic adventure when eaten together with a bite of century egg.
Prices: NT$120/bowl of Signature Beef Noodles; NT$40/plate of Century Egg Tofu
Address: No. 45, Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224 [新北市瑞芳區九份基山街45號]
Opening Hours: 10:30AM – 7:30PM (Weekdays), 10:30AM – 8:30PM (Weekends)

 

Small-bites:

5) 無敵黑豬肉香腸 Wu Di Taiwanese Sausage

Wild Boar Sausage at JiuFen Old Street (九份老街) - Taipei Itinerary

Taiwanese locals are some of the friendliest and most fun people I know of, and it’s not hard to understand why. Not only is the lady boss of Wu Di Taiwanese Sausage 無敵黑豬肉香腸 extremely friendly, she’s a charmer too. Whenever she’s around, visitors would crowd and vie to catch her attention to their cameras.

Of course, her sausages (香腸) are as charming and unforgettable as her. Fragrantly charred skin that crunches with every bite, exposing the juicy meats inside. The squid and fish egg sausages are an interesting alternative to the wild boar sausage too!

Price: NT$40/pc, NT$100/3pcs
Address: 
No.85, Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224 [瑞芳区基山街85号]

6) 阿蘭草仔粿 Ah Lan Hakka Glutinous Rice Cake

Glutinous Rice Cake Jiufen - Day Trip to Jiufen and Shifen
Glutinous Rice Cake with various fillings. Credit: you.ctrip.com

If there’s only one thing you can try at Jiufen, make it the Glutinous Rice Cake (草仔粿) from Ah Lan Hakka Glutinous Rice Cake stall. They come in multiple variations of fillings, from the sweet red bean to salted green bean and preserved turnip flavours.  

The Steamed Taro Cake (芋粿巧) sold in the shop is also well-loved by many.

Price: NT$10/pc
Address: 
No. 90, Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224 [[瑞芳区基山街90号]
Opening Hours: 
8AM – 9PM daily

For the sweet-tooth:

7) 米詩堤甜點王國 Misty Cake

Sweet Potato Puff Misty Puff - Day Trip to Jiufen and Shifen

Misty Cake 米詩堤甜點王國 sells cream and ice-cream puffs in every possible flavour. We tried the classic sweet potato filled puff. The sweet potato was on point, fragrant but not too sweet. The generously-filled puffs can be quite a mess to eat as the freshly baked outer layer crumbles with every bite to expose the oozing fillings.

Price: NT$50/pc
Address: 
No. 29, Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224 [新北市瑞芳區基山街29號]
Opening Hours: 
9AM – 6PM (Mon-Thu), 9AM – 7PM (Fri-Sun)

8) 阿珠雪在燒花生捲冰淇淋

A-Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll

Peanut Ice Cream Roll at JiuFen Old Street (九份老街) - Taipei Itinerary

Just watching the stall owner of A-Zhu create this delicate roll of ice-cream is satisfying enough. Peanut shavings are ground off a huge block of compressed peanuts before being added to 2 scoops of ice cream and parsley (IKR, weird but oddly delicious) and skillfully wrapped into a roll of ice-cold goodness.

Price: NT$40/pc
Address: 
No. 45, Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224 [新北市瑞芳區基山街45號]
Opening Hours: 
9AM – 7:30PM

9) 賴阿婆芋圓 Grandma Lai’s Taro Balls

ah lan taro balls jiufen - THSR Taiwan Itinerary

Taiwanese Taro Balls have since entered Singapore’s market, coming in an assortment of flavours and toppings. But nothing beats eating a bowl of traditional chewy taro balls in Jiufen Old Street amongst the locals at Grandma Lai’s.

Price: NT$50/bowl
Address: 
No. 143, Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224 [新北市瑞芳區基山街143號]
Opening Hours: 8AM – 8PM daily

Other Things to Do in Jiufen

After feasting your way through the irresistible food stores of Jiufen, it’s time

昇平劇院 Sheng-Ping Theatre

Shengping theatre facade Jiufen - Day Trip to Jiufen and Shifen
Sheng-Ping Theatre

Built in 1934, Sheng-Ping Theatre 昇平劇院 is one of the first film theatres in Taiwan. In was ultimately closed in 1986 due to the dwindling population of Jiufen. After being used as a film location in a 1989 Taiwanese film, Sheng-Ping Theatre 昇平劇院, Sheng-Ping Theatre gained attraction again and is now being conserved.

Shengping theatre Museum Jiufen - Day Trip to Jiufen and Shifen

The theatre is also showing reruns of A City of Sadness at certain timings of the day, so do try to catch one if you have time to spare in Jiufen.

Shengping theatre Jiufen Seats - Day Trip to Jiufen and Shifen

Address: No. 137, Qingbian Road, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224 [新北市瑞芳区九份轻便路137号]
Opening Hours: 9:30A – 5PM (Mon-Fri), 9:30AM – 6PM (Sat-Sun)

阿妹茶樓 A-Mei Tea House

ah mei teahouse in jiufen -THSR Taiwan Itinerary
Ah Mei Teahouse, the inspiration behind Hayao Miyazaki’s award-winning Spirited Away.

Another iconic landmark made famous through films is A-Mei Tea House. You might recognize it from Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 movie, Spirited Away. Touristy is what A-Mei Tea House has become due to its popularity, but it’s still a nice backdrop for photos and worth checking out when at Jiufen!

Address: No.20 Shixia Alley, Ruifang TownXinbei, Taiwan [新北市瑞芳區市下巷20號]
Opening Hours: 8:30AM – 12AM (Mon-Thu & Sun), 8:30AM – 1AM (Fri), 8:30AM – 2AM (Sat)

 

We hope that this day-trip guide has piqued your interest in visiting the quaint townships of Jiufen and Shifen. In today’s rapidly changing world, it’s nice to have somewhere to remind us how vibrant life used to be in the yesteryears.

Not forgetting how convenient it has now become to cover these 2 towns on a day-trip! Remember to get your Jiufen & Shifen shuttle bus pre-booked before the trip!

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Edelyn, Taurus, loves eating & travelling. Also very interested in understanding languages and cultures of people all over the world, and travelling allows me to do just so! :)

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