Taiwan | Shifen and Jiufen Photo Diary

With Taiwan’s size and highly efficient transportation systems, travelers would find that it is so easy to explore the whole country. Even if you’re a first timer, you don’t have to stay just in Taipei for the entire duration of your trip—a lot of side trips (read: day trips) can be accomplished to take your Taiwan trip to the next level. Two of the most popular side trip destinations are Shifen and Jiufen—both located in the northeast part of Taiwan (Pingxi and Riufang districts), merely an hour away from the capital.

Both places have become favorites of photographers and filmmakers alike, resulting in a crazy boost in tourism—and I can understand why. Shifen and Jiufen exude an old world charm: the former with its collection of shops along an ancient railway, and the latter, a preserved mining town, with its small, zigzagging alleyways. I can imagine how beautiful they must be if there were less tourists, but even with the crowds, they are quite … magnetic.

Whether you’re visiting these towns to simply do some sightseeing, take serious photos, drink tea, release a lantern in the sky, or sample all the delicious food, I highly recommend booking a packaged tour from KKday like I did. I wanted to see both places in one day so I took the Yehliu, Shifen, & Jiufen Day Tour, a 9-hour tour that takes you to the highlights of these places. (To be honest, I wasn’t that interested with Yehliu Geopark, but I found its eerie geological formations quite amusing.)

I found after researching that if you want to check out these places yourself, you have to take more train and bus transfers—so unless you’re staying overnight in Jiufen or Shifen, I think going for a packaged tour is more straightforward and less stressful.

What’s included in the tour: transportation, an English-speaking guide, insurance, pickup and drop off at Taipei Main Station

What’s not included in the tour: entrance to Yehliu Geopark (NTD 80/PhP140/3 USD), meals, lanterns from Shifen (NTD 200/PhP350/7 USD each), shuttle to Jiufen (NTD 30/PhP52/1 USD)

Some tips before you go:

1. I went in May, and it was SUPER hot and humid. Wear ultra-light and comfortable clothes and footwear. From December to February, Taiwan will be cold and foggy—temperatures can go as low as 13ºC. I think the best time to go would be March to April.

2. Try to plan your Taiwan itinerary such that your Jiufen and Shifen tour will fall on a weekday—ideally (hopefully), there will be smaller crowds then.


So, enough talking. I’ll let the photos that follow help you decide whether to visit the charming towns of Shifen and Jiufen. Happy travels!





Related Stuff:

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A guide to exploring Taiwan for 4 days for only PhP17,000.

Have you been to Yehliu, Shifen, and Jiufen? Which one is your favorite?

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