Before I’d even arrived in Taiwan, I’d made a overly-detailed list of places to go during my week based there. Flicking through a Lonely Planet book, I came across a beautiful photo of the coastal town Jiufen and that alone had me set on visiting it myself. Jiufen is apparently known as the ‘Santorini of Asia’ which I was a little sceptical about but still, I had nothing to lose by taking a day-trip to find out for myself.
Getting to Jiufen from Taipei city is easy and affordable; just a NT$90 one hour journey by public bus through some pretty landscapes. First, make your way by MRT to Zhongxiao Fuxing station. Easy. Next, take Exit 1 from the station and find the bus stop for the 1062 bus to Jinguashi.
For whatever reason, I struggled with finding the bus stop and it took me a whole bloody hour to find the right one!! Even from asking some local shopkeepers I got mixed directions. Google Maps doesn’t get the location of the bus stop quite right either and I think it lists it on the wrong side of the road. Aside from leading you there myself, I can only recommend that you find the correct road name by looking at the map of the surrounding area down in the MRT station. The road is correct but it makes the bus stop look closer than it actually is. Basically, just keeping walking further down the road than you think you should (which is what I initially didn’t do), making sure you walk past a water fountain type thing, and you should see some other people waiting at the bus stop. Obviously, check the numbers listed at the bus stop sign for 1062.
Top tip: make sure you avoid the ticket touts!! They’ll be waiting for you outside the MRT station hoping you won’t find the public bus stop etc. They’ll offer you a private taxi with air-con, super fast back route blah blah blah, but it’s all lies! They’ll charge you a lot more than the bus, the journey will be longer and the public bus has air-con anyway! Don’t be fooled and obviously don’t ask them for directions to the public bus stop!
But once you’ve found the bus stop, the journey is easy! Just remember to get off at the right stop. This shouldn’t be hard because there’s very few stops once you’ve left the city itself and the bus driver will probably alert everyone that you’ve arrived at Jiufen, for the benefit of tourists. It’s also quite obvious where you are just by looking out the bus window.
Unfortunately when I went it was really cloudy and rainy 😦 So I was quite disappointed, especially as it was my last full-day in Taiwan, but I could imagine it was a nice place to visit on a sunny day. Although there were a lot of tourists there in big groups and Jiufen has really narrow hilly pathways, especially through the touristy markets, so the atmosphere wasn’t amazing and I didn’t stay nearly as long as I planned. But still, a pretty place to visit and a nice contrast to Taipei.
I wish I’d taken photos of the windy markets up the hills but it was pouring with rain and there wasn’t a lot of elbow room between all the other tourists. Enjoy some landscape photos instead:
Aside from Taipei, what other places in Taiwan would you recommend visiting? I’d love to see more of the countryside and mountainous southern areas! Tell me any recommendations in the comments below!