DIY trip to Jiufen: How to get there

If you enjoy street food, cheap shopping, mersmirizing views of the Pacific Ocean, or if you’re just a really big fan Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away,” then you need to get yourself to Jiufen.

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A former, almost forgotten gold mining town, modern day Jiufen has transformed itself into one of the most visited tourist destinations in Taiwan. This comes as no surprise, as the energy from hawking food vendors and shuffling tourists is a cultural experience of its own – one that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Going to Jiufen is one of the easiest excursions that I’ve done in my five years of DIY traveling. If I, the most worrisome person that I know, was able do it alone then I’m pretty sure that everyone else can. So if you ever find yourself planning a trip to Taiwan and including Jiufen in your itinerary, here’s how to get there:

1. By Tripool

Great news! I recently found out that Round Taiwan Round has come up with a revolutionary, but most importantly, cost efficient way for group travel. They’ve introduced to us Tripool, which enables us travelers to enjoy the cost-benefit of carpool, but also have the luxury to customize our itineraries for our chosen areas.

For only 30 USD per person, or 70 USD per person for an English tour guide, not only will you enjoy the privacy of a smaller group during your ride to Jiufen, you will also have the chance to see other notable spots within the area! This is the easiest way to go, if you ask me.

The even greater news?

You can get 5% off your purchase if you use the code CebuAdv at https://www.rtaiwanr.com/jiufen/jiufen-custom-shared-tour

Round-Taiwan-Round-Tripool

2.  By Train

This is probably the fastest (50-60 mins.) way to get to Jiufen, although it won’t bring you directly to Jiufen.

For around 50 to 80 TWD, your first leg of the ride will start in Taipei Main Station, from there you will need to ride whichever railway train that will bring you to Riufang Railway Station. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you which platform or what color line the trains run on, because their platform numbers change and railway trains do not have colors like the MRT. You’ll be on your own on that one, buddy.

Once you step out of Riufang Station’s main entrance, make sure that you’ll face Mingdeng Road Sec. 3. Cross to the other side of the road and look for the lone bus stop. Wait for the Keelung bus with Jinguashih as its last stop. I’m not sure about the bus number but the bus will most likely have a big flashing sign in front of it that says JINGUASHI. If not, you can ask for the number from the personnel at the information booth inside the station.

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Jiufen is the last stop before Jinguashi. It will take about 10 – 15 minutes to get there from the station.

3. By Bus

By bus is how I traveled to Jiufen, so I can be a little more specific here. This takes about 2 hours and it will bring you directly to Jiufen for 113 TWD, which isn’t so bad.

You will need to start from whichever MRT you’ll be nearest at and navigate your way to Zhongxiao Fuxing Station, which is where the blue and brown MRT lines meet.

This is the train station that you need to go to for Jiufen Old Town Taipei

At the station, get out at Exit 2 and follow the sidewalk to your right until you find a bus stop below an overpass. You can also go through Exit 1 and just cross the street towards the second exit.

Exit two for bus stop for bus 1062 bus to Jiufen Taipei
The bus to take to get to Jiufen Old Town in Taiwan

At the bus stop, wait for the bus 1062 with Jinguashi as its last destination. As I previously mentioned, Jiufen is the destination right before Jinguashi so watch out for that on the indicator inside the bus. You’ll know you’re there once the bus stops in front an extremely fine view of the ocean.

The view from Jiufen Old Town, Taipei Taiwan

 

 

Taipei On A Filipina’s Budget

I’ve just come back from my 4 day-3 night getaway to Taipei (lol that sounded like a rap), and I’ve somehow managed to bring back half of the Taiwan Dollars that I brought with me for my trip. Thankfully so, because the amount of moolah I had to give up for my flight coming home is just ridiculous.

Mactan Cebu International Airport

It’s not that I kept a tight grip on my money the entire time. I guess I just didn’t really feel the need to buy anything. I’m not the pasalubong kind of girl. I’m more for the immersion. If I don’t get to experience it in some kind of meaningful level, then I don’t care for it.

If you’re anyone like me – cheap but also constantly needing a taste for life, I’ll share with you my 4 day Taiwan itinerary and how I spent 3,110 TWD (5,442.50 PHP) for the entire trip. That is, of course, excluding my airfare but we can forget about that and move on. My flight booking was a last minute decision, after all. Also, please keep in mind that I will be emphasizing the times that I walked during the day because for one: it saved me fare money and; it was the only way I could get a workout in

So… for lack of a better transition, here it is:

DAY 1 – Apr. 12

I arrived at Taiwan’s Taoyuan airport at 9:30 am. Right after immigration, I proceeded to look for the United Traveler’s booth to get the pocket wifi that I rented for 4 days. This was booked online via Klook for 55 TWD a day. I then went down to the basement where the bus ticketing counters are and bought a ticket for the Xingtian Temple bus stop at 125 TWD.

I walked to my hostel just 300 meters away from the Xingtian Temple bus stop. I checked in at around noon and paid 880 TWD for the 3 nights.

Hostel Review Travel Talk Taipei Backpacker's Hostel

By 1 p.m. I walked my way to Li An Tai Old House for a quick look around. Stayed there for almost an hour, walked back to the hostel and slept until 4 p.m.

Things to do in TaipeiThings to do in Taipei, Taiwan

By 4:30, I walked to the nearest MRT station just 400 meters away from my hostel, bought an Easycard for 100 TWD and topped it up with 100 TWD worth of bus/train fare. Then I made my way to Shilin Night Market. Once there, I looked for the famous fried chicken by Hot Star which is 70 TWD and got Taiwan’s staple lemon jelly drink for 40 TWD.

The Breakdown: 
pocket wifi: 220
bus ticket: 125
hostel: 880
easycard: 200
dinner: 110
TOTAL: 1,535

DAY 2 – Apr. 13

First thing in the morning, I had breakfast c/o of our hostel. It was a simple bread and butter breakfast with my choice of coffee or tea.

By 8:30 a.m. I was showered and ready for the day. Again, I walked my way to the nearest MRT and started my little adventure from there. First on the day’s itinerary was the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial hall, which I stayed at for almost two hours -enough time for taking pictures and waiting for the changing of the guards, which happens every top of the hour.

Taipei on a budgetTaipei on a BudgetAt Chiang Kai Shek’s MRT station, I navigated my way to the next’s destination’s MRT which was at Taipei 101 where I had lunch in Din Tai Fung. I arrived in Taipei 101 a few minutes after 1 p.m. but was only able eat at around 2:30 because of the long waiting time. My lunch costed me 192 TWD for an appetizer and a 5 pc. Xialongbao, enough for my little stomach (lol yeah right).

Things to do in Taipei, TaiwanIMG_2987

Then, because I needed a little bit of exercise, I walked a whopping 2 km to the start of Elephant Mountain and climed another few hundred meters of stairs to get to the first level viewing deck. By the time I got there, it rained. So after a couple of pictures and a few minutes of staring at the city, I decided to find the nearest MRT and go back to the hostel.

Things to do in Taipei, TaiwanTaipei on a Budget

The Breakdown:
breakfast: free
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall admission fee: free
Din Tai Fung: 192 + free tea
entrance to Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail: free
top up on easycard: 100
dinner right by the hostel: 50
TOTAL: 342

DAY 3 – Apr. 14

Now on my third day, I spent a little bit more since I had gone Jiufen, which is a 2 hour bus ride from the city. Like yesterday, breakfast was free and as usual, I walked my way to the MRT and started from there (you’ll know more about getting to Jiufen also on my next post). I already knew that the one way bus fare was going to be around 100 TWD but since I had already used the previous day’s top up, I put in another 200 TWD into the card. The bus fare might have been 100 to 120 TWD; I failed to look since other people were waiting to tap their cards after me.

Things to do in Taipei, TaiwanTaipei on a Filipina's Budget

Once I got to the entrance at Jiufen, I saw a cute little shop that served drip coffee for 70 TWD, so I got my hands on that. I’ve also been seeing these grilled sausages everywhere in Taipei and decided to try it here for lunch. That was minus 40 TWD from my pocket. After an hour of walking around and taking pictures, it was time to go to my next destination of choice: Houtong Cat Village. I rode both a bus and a train going there, so everything was deducted from my Easycard per usual.

Houtong is a place to play and look at cats, so nothing worth buying really appealed to me. After an hour, I went back to the city via train. I stopped at Shilin Night Market for dinner, which consisted of spongecake and milk tea (healthy, I know) all for 150 TWD. I then went home to my hostel.

The Breakdown:
breakfast: free
top up: 200
coffee: 70
lunch: 40
milk tea: 60
spongecake: 90
TOTAL: 460

DAY 4 – Apr. 15

For my final day in Taipei, I decided I’d take a good look at the city one last time (poetic). But since I didn’t want to pay 600 TWD to go up the observatory in Taipei 101, I opted to go to the Starbucks on Taipei 101’s 35th floor.

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The minimum order to stay there is 200 TWD, and I got my order of a breakfast burrito and a large coffee for 205. On this day, breakfast wasn’t free.getting in the starbucks in taipei 101

By 10:30, I went down and out the tower and proceeded to go to Ximending for the day. Apparently, Ximending is Taipei’s shopping district but, once again, I didn’t feel the need for that. Instead, I looked for cute spots where I could take amateur photos and do a little fashion shoot.IMG_3355Taipei Day TourTravel Fashion TaipeiIMG_3303

Hey, I may not shop but I’m still somewhat vain.

Once I got the pictures that I wanted I “re-centered” myself towards the busier streets and looked for beef noodles at 2 p.m. I found Lao Wang Ji and had beef noodles for 220 TWD. Once I got out of the restaurant, I remembered that Taipei sold yakult that’s bigger than usual so I decided I wasn’t going to leave without buying one and showing it on social media. I did that for 8 TWD. At 4 p.m. it was time to go back to the hostel to prepare for a dinner invite but most especially for my flight at dawn.

The Breakdown
breakfast: 205
lunch: 220
yakult: 8
dinner at a sushi bar: 150
easycard top up (within the day): 190
TOTAL: 773