Taiwan Day 4: JingTong – PingXi – ShiFen – Jiufen

*LATEST* Taiwan Itinerary Year 2012 – 9 Days around Taipei, Taitung, Green Island, Kaohsiung, Jiufen

For our full trip itinerary, please click here.

Read about our post on JingTong, PingXi & ShiFen here

This will be a combine post on our two separate visits to Jiufen. If you wish to know where to stay, what to eat, what to buy and what to do in Jiufen, please read on. You can also compare hotel prices on Expedia and choose the accommodationthat better fits your budget.

Jiufen is one of my very favorite places. I love walking along the winding streets with food vendors and craft stores on the side. I love chilling out at those old tea houses from the 30s and enjoyed a stunning view of Pacific Ocean. I love spending a night at one of those beautiful B&Bs and I got to mingle with the locals and listen to their stories.

How does the name of Jiufen came about? It was said that the village has only nine families during the Qing Dynasty. Everytime shipments arrived from town, ‘nine portions’ were distributed to the villagers. Hence, the village was named after “Jiufen”, or rather nine portions in Chinese.


Jiufen was an isolated village until gold was discovered in the area. The Gold Rush brought its influx of people and a demand for housing. During WWII, a prisoner-of-war camp called “kinkaseki” was set up in the village and the POWs were forced to slave in the dark depths of a nearby copper mine and were subjected to the most inhuman treatment imaginable (read the full story here). In time – the gold and ore ran out and the mine was shut off eventually. Jiufen’s luster began to fade with the decline of gold mining activities too.

In 1989 a Taiwanese film called The City of Sadness was shot in Jiufen and since it was a big hit in the cinema, many have flocked to Jiufen to experience that nostalgic feeling. Its downtown was used as a model in the anime movie Spirited Away too. Jiufen has since evolved into one of the most popular tourist hub in Taiwan now. It is advisable not to come during weekends and Taiwan’s public holidays to enjoy the serenity of the town.

Getting Here:

By Train

From Taipei, take the train north to Ruifang Station. From Ruifang take the Keelung Transit bus from the bus stops in front of the train station to Jiufen. Be sure to line up across the road to go to Jiufen and Jinguashi. The bus trip is roughly 15 minutes. Not all buses are equipped to show the correct driving direction or have bilingual signs.
Pros: safe, punctual, faster
Cons: cost more than taking a bus, troublesome as you need to transfer to a bus

By Bus

From Taipei, take the Jiufen bus from the Adventist Hospital bus stop on Bade Road, east of the intersection with Fuxing Road. Alternatively, take the same bus from Songshan station or Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station Exit # 1 Cost : 90 NT$ (make sure to have the exact change), a little more than 1 hour.
Pros: cheaper, easier and direct
Cons: be prepared for a thrill ride (the bus drivers are really good in drifting along the winding road), takes longer

It is very easy to get around Jiufen. The town is covered by two main pedestrian streets – Jishan Street 基山街 and Shuchi (Shuqi) Street 豎崎路. Most famous eateries and souvenirs shop are located on either side of the streets.


It is also advisable to spend a night at one of those quaint little inns in Jiufen to complete the experience.


Where to Stay?

our two storey chalet (NT3200, RM 355)

We stayed at Windsor B&B溫莎堡日光涵館 on our last visit and just wanted you to know what a great place it is! The B&B owner, Mr Hsu has been understanding, generous, and caring during our stay at Windsor B&B. The room was tastefully decorated and the view from our private balcony on the ground floor was absolutely lovely.

The master bedroom is located on the first floor and the glass panel offers the best view ever.


A gift from the B&B owner: vintage fragrance from the 50’s – “ming xing hua lu shui”.

Mr. Hsu and wife were so keen on taking us out for dinner that we find it hard to turn down such a gracious invitation. We drove for a little over 15 minutes down the winding road to a nearby harbor for the freshest seafood one can get.

1. Squid ala Sashimi 2. Celery Soup with Fish Paste 3. Fried Tang Hoon 4. Squid Sausages

I love the texture of the fresh squid and as you chew into it,  the rich and creamy flavor bursts with gusto in your mouth. The squid sausages were the highlight of the meal! Made with squid paste and squid ink, it was delicious on its own.

1. Steamed Squid with Rice Wine 2. Deep Fried Mackerel 3. Stir Fried Lala with Basil Leaves 4. Free Bite Size Ice Creams

We had a lovely meal and conversation with Mr Hsu and wife, after which they insisted on buying us the meal. Most Taiwanese that we met are really nice and loving people :)

During our second visit to Jiufen, we decided to stay with Mr. Hsu again but at a different B&B this time. Out of the FIVE B&Bs that he is manning, we chose 溫莎堡涵館 (NT2300, RM255).The room seems smaller, but we didn’t feeloverwhelmed. Its more like a cozy cottage room with wood beamed floor and walls instead.


A delicious and well-assorted breakfast is provided personally by Mrs Hsu every morning. Guests from all their five B&Bs will gather at this coffee shop (owned by Mr. Hsu too!) to start the day with breakfast. We love the milk tea with rose, a special blend of fine ceylon tea with the rose petals. So creamy and fragrant!

The sandwich does look ravishing too! Drizzle generously with Mrs Hsu’s home made dressing, it was delicious!

What to Do?

After breakfast, Mr. Hsu drove us up the mountain and showed us around. Saw the lil “teapot”? Approximately 580 meters high, Teapot Mountain is shaped like a handleless teapot, giving it the name “Handleless Teapot Mountain.”

Mr. Hsu that looks like Chua Lam, the food connoisseur from Hong Kong.


Hippopotamus Stone. We were told that gold and other dense materials fell to the bottom from the hippopotamus stone and it flowed along the streams. This is how gold was first discovered in Jiufen and Jinguashi that brought in the gold rush in Taiwan.

In those day, Mr. Hsu used to walk 20 miles a day to school. Could you spot his alma mater in this picture?

With a beautiful, scenic ride and a challenging climb up, the Jiufen mountain track is a favorite of avid motorist and seasoned cyclist.


Doing the Jiufen Jump!

Our TV crew sort of pushed KampungBoy into this retro saloon to get his hair trim!

If you have plenty of time to spare, do drop by Hu Lao Shi’s work shop to try your hand at becoming a mosaic artist.

Most of  Hu Lao Shi’s master piece were using only beverage cans. Amazing isn’t it? Hu Lao Shi’s ability to create masterpieces out of scraps began as an accident and it led him to be a famous mosaic artist. He just held his first solo exhibition in Taiwan just recently.

A beautiful landscape of Jiufen. It took Hu Lao Shi half a year to complete this!

1. Hu Lao Shi is demonstrating
2. Trying my hands at doing this. It is not easy at all, but once you get the hang of breaking, cutting and nipping bits to fit you will be confident about your main piece.
3. KampungBoy bought a sketching work from Hu Lao Shi.
4. Hu Lao Shi giving KampungBoy a warm hug. Awwwwwwwwww

Jiu-Fen is definitely the place to go for traditional Taiwanese snacks. In fact, some of the famous traditional snacks such as Red Wine Meat Ball with Glutinous Rice Ski and Taro Balls originated from Jiufen.

What to Eat?

1. 阿柑姨芋圓 Ah Gan Yee Taro Balls. This is one of the popular dessert shop in Jiu Fen and there is a perpetual queue at the store front. You can eat the yam ball soup while enjoying a great view of Jiufen here.

Soaked in a sweet soup with red beans and mung beans, the taro balls gave a nice chew to every bite. It is so delicious that we had it for both our visits to Jiufen.

2. 阿蘭草仔粿 Ah Lan Hakka Glutinous Rice Cake. Another extremely popular store in Jiufen, so be prepared to queue up. The skin has a soft chewy texture while the filling of pickled vegetables and dried shrimps is so aromatic!

3. 九份紅糟肉圓 Red Wine Meat Ball with Glutinous Rice Skin. Glutinous rice again? We were full from trying these three famous snacks alone. The meat ball got its pinkish tint from the rice red wine, something like the FooChow red wine that we have here in Malaysia. A tasty snack that comes with a pleasant herbal taste.

4. Peanut Roll with Ice Cream. A special combination of grounded peanut, malt sugar, ice cream and celery leaves. It tasted quite good with celery leaves actually, but remember to ask them to exclude it if you are not a fan.

5. 魚丸伯 Fish Ball Uncle. We thought that fish balls in KL have better flavor and bounce.

What to Buy?

One is always spoiled by choice when it comes to shopping in Jiufen. We have bought a lot of cute ornaments, traditional snacks such as pineapple tarts and “tai yang bing”, but in our humble opinions, these two are the greatest buy!

1. Yuan Hand Made Soap 阿原肥皂. Using only pure and natural herbs, their soaps can provide remedies to various skin problems. We bought the Wild Patchouli Soap (for acne/pimples) and Liquorice Hair Soap (to fight seborrhea and dandruf). The retail price is slightly cheaper than those that I saw at Just Life organic shop.

2. Dark Sugar Block with Honey, Winter Melon or Ginger. I love the ginger version the most, it works really well to curb my menstrual pain. Just dissolve one small cube of it into hot water and you get a warm and  soothing  ginger drink.

Phew, such a long post on Jiufen! Do drop us an email at kampungboycitygal@gmail.com if you have any questions.

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  • ai wei says:

    did kampungboy really has a hair cut in the retro salon???

    and i wan a bowl of yam ball soup !!! always watch taiwan food show. they keep introducing this from all over the place in taiwan!!! must be a great one

  • Christine says:

    very detailed post dear :)
    and I love thr B&B you guys stayed! such great views and they look luxurious too :)

  • allie says:

    Wow! Such a detail post, can’t wait to go Taiwan ! Btw, how cold can it be during Dec?

  • J2Kfm says:

    wow, what a comprehensive post.
    love how you compared the modes of travelling, the accomodation,
    the food (squids and snacks galore?!) and the overall history of the places you ventured to.

  • not really cold, but if the cold wind strike (they call it “han liu”), it’ll be vv cold

  • cumidanciki says:

    the rooms are just amazing man! what a view from the B&B!

  • cariso says:

    I love Jiu Fen too! A lot of food to try out there!

  • adel says:

    thanks for these valuable info on Taiwan trips :)

  • Benedict says:

    I like to find, is NT1800 suits finely just for purely, food, transportation and shopping? i be heading there in October 2009 and wants to be comfortable in spending, not over my budget.
    Thank you.

  • mun says:

    Hi, would you remember the name of the shop where you bought the Dark Sugar Block with Honey, Winter Melon or Ginger…


  • Owl says:


    We plan to stay 2 nites in Jiufeng, hopefully to try the 2 different hostels Mr. Hsu have.
    1.) Are the 5 hostels nearby each other?
    2.) Is breakfast inclusive for the stay?
    3) Is it convenient to move comfortably to Jiufen 2 main street from the hostels?

    Thank you

  • hi owl

    yeah they are nearby n bfast is inclusive, as u can see from my post. don’t worry, its very near to the main street :)
    enjoy ur stay!

  • ean says:

    I would like to stay at Mr Hsu’s BB hostel in January 2010. I am female and travelling solo. How do I go about making a booking? I do not speak or write Mandarin. Your kind assistance is appreciated. Your blog is awesome. I gather so much info from it.

  • Ean: you can call the number in the website and look for Miss Chan or Mr Hsu. talk to them in English :). Traveling solo? The pricing might be too expensive, because most rooms cater for 2 to 4 person.

  • sherlyn says:

    Hi, Good day to you!!!
    Can i ask your going to taipei is follow tour or you go for your self.
    I had saw the photo very beautiful and nice ohhh…

  • hi sherlyn, i go myself hehe. i feel tat its better than tour

  • chiayin says:

    hi,nice blog!sor at jiufen?how to book winsor at jiufen?u have the website?

  • denise says:

    is it worth staying 3 nites in jiufen? or 2 nites will be sufficient to take in the sights ?

    thank you


  • hello denise. 1 day is enough d :)

  • Vernise says:


    Would it be convenient to go to Taoyuan Intl Airport from Jiufen? I’m contemplating between staying 1N or 2N before departing Taiwan. If its just a 1N, instead of lugging my stuff and transit between train and bus, are you aware if there is any central locker etc where I can deposit my luggage at the Taipei Station which I presume would be a more convenient place to commute to the airport.

    Appreciate your help, thanks.

  • JJ says:

    are rooms at windsor shared? because from some of the photos, it looks like there are more than 2 beds for one room.

  • hi JJ, it depends on what kinda room you are taking. some rooms can fit 6 person while our room is meant for 4 person. will recommend u to visit their website to find out more about the room type n tariff :)

  • JJ says:

    alrite! thanks.

    caz i was wondering if i book a room for 4 person even though there are just the 2 of us, will others end up in the same room as us.

  • hi it depends on the room type, for the one that we booked, u get to the “villa” to yourself :)

  • lydia says:

    1 full day+night in Jiufen enough? im going there in 10 days’ time!

  • yeah 1 night is more than enof :)

  • Esther Liew says:

    Hi fren,

    It enough time if v wan travel to Jing Tong – Ping Xi – Shi Fen – Jiu Fen – Keelung in 1 day time without over9 at Jiufen. If v depart from Taipei around 8am & back from Keelung around 9pm to Taipei?

    Thank you.

  • can but quite rush. it take 1 hour plus to reach that area. n the train frequency is really scarce. u need to spend some time to wait for the train

  • Esther Liew says:

    Hi fren,

    How about if i over9 at Jiufen? how should i plan the schedule? can i depart from Taipei then go Jiufen to put our luggage, then v proceed to Jing Tong – Ping Xi – Shi Fen, then back to Jiufen?
    V will passby Jiufen on the way to Jing Tong? from Taipei to Jiufen take how long & from Jiufen to Jing Tong take how long? Where is Keelung?

    Besides, can i know how long should v take from Jiufen to Taoyuan Airport?

    Thank you.

  • yeah its better. would suggest u go to taipei from airport first. then next day depart to jiufen
    yes u can depart from Taipei then go Jiufen to put our luggage, then v proceed to Jing Tong – Ping Xi – Shi Fen, then back to Jiufen.
    for transport info, u can refer to our post. its all clearly written there. most of the time u need to go back to rueifang station to transfer

  • Esther Liew says:

    thanks for ur info… v plan to go the Jiufen for last 2 day, so that v can go to Airport from Jiufen then bac M’sia..

    so mean v need go back to Rueifang to proceed to Jing Tong & Keelung?

    How long if v from Taipei to Rueifang? 45 minutes?

    Thank you

  • oic. keelung can take bus. u can refer to my post (keelung night market)
    but jing tong need to go back to rueifang to transfer train, its another line
    yeah around ter :)

  • Eric says:

    are there any more cheaper hotels in jiufen? mr. hsu’s b&b is a little bit pricey. can i get the room meant for 2 and four stay in a room together? is it allowed?

    btw, do you advise on touring outside taipei once reached taiwan or tour taipei first then only the rest?

  • Anonymous says:

    hihi, great post on your TW trip! :)
    i am researching on my TW trip and i wanna stay 1 nite at Windsor bnb too!
    if i stay at 日光涵館3, will there be an outdoor balcony?

  • yes there will be dear :), but a small one :p

  • Anonymous says:

    thanks for your reply :)

    what about the smaller room 涵館1? will there be an outdoor balcony?

  • hi dear, im not too sure becoz i’ve only stayed there once. but fr the pic in the website dun seem like. u can email/call the owner at http://windsor.idv.tw/WindsorE.asp

  • Jamie says:

    Hi, can I check which 日光涵館 you stayed in? And how did you do the reservations? I’m not very good with Chinese so I cant really read their website. Do we need to put a deposit or can we pay in full cash when we reach there?


  • sure dear. I called to make a reservation. you can also meet them personally during matta fair, at pwtc this saturday.

  • Shannie says:

    harloe! ur blog articles are great and informative. The photos taken are beautiful too. it makes me so wanna go down to the places u mentioned. Im trying to squeeze jinguashi-jiufen-jingtong-pingxi-shifen in one day. do u think it is possible? i will be travelling down from taipei and back again. if not, where do u think i shld give a miss? and any ideas what time does the shops in pingxi, shifen and jingtong open? thank you so much!

  • ellene says:

    wow. Thank you so much for your entries, It is really insightful, I am heading to Taiwan this September and you have recommended so many wonderful places that i intend to head down to. Just to ask, for the hands on mosaic art, how much would the activity be? Is it very time consuming?

  • Hi ellene, no problem, we are glad that our posts help. it costs about rm 30 for the small size one, u can only do this if u have plenty of home at jiufen
    quite time consuming eh.. :p

  • cs says:


    I have question for JingTong – PingXi – ShiFen – Jiufen. The train seems go to shifen only. How you go to Jiufen from Shifen?

    Would you mind to share the train time table for pingxi line?

    The spot you visit in jingtong, i think is walking distance from trainstation. How about Pingxi,shifen? All need to go with bus?


  • Peter says:

    Hi, been trying to book a windsor BnB at jiufen, but is full..

    Any other recommendation?

    The more the merrier. 😛

    Hee hee.. thanks!!

  • Hi peter, maybe u can try 龍門客棧, located at the peak of jiufen

  • Grace says:

    Hi, Much thanks to your blog. Its very useful – I took a lot of notes down.

    I am with family and am very intimidated by the no of steps on Jishan Street基山街 or is it 豎崎路? How should I ask cab driver to alight us such that we start from the top and end at the bottom of the steps. Could you give directions, please?

    What is the name of the harbour where the seafood is fresh and abundant? Is it in Keelung already?


  • hi grace, glad that we help. hi cab driver will usually alight u at 7-11, which is the bottom of these 2 roads. dont worry about the steps, there are plenty of shops/sights along the way. so u get to walk, stop, eat, see then walk again. yes its keelung

  • Grace says:

    Thanks, kampongboycitygal!

  • Lily says:

    Hi! Thanks for your info on Jiufen. I am looking forward to visiting the town. But I have 1 Q. I have already booked a B&B, Happyland B&B which is not located at the ‘town’ of Jiufen. I just wonder how can I travel from the B&B to the shops (where the buzz is) and back safely. Is the taxi service within Jiufen reliable?

  • hi how far is it? usually we will ask teh B&B to arrange / call for transport for us, its more reliable that way

  • Qichang says:


    Need to ask you how do u make booking of the minsu at jiufen? Through
    call or email? i emailed them but still no reply.

    Another enquiry is how do u get to pingxi from jiufen?

  • Lily says:

    Hi. Oh the B&B is called Happyland B&B. It is definitely not near to the Old Street which I read about. You mean there is no taxi service (registered ones) in Jiufen? I saw bus stops in the map. Are the buses reliable, in terms of timing ?
    Oh dear!! :(
    If I were to drive, will it solve the problem?
    Have you driven there before? It seems like a hilly place. Is it difficult to drive when we are so used to right hand drive..? Sorry to bore you with my numerous Qs…
    Thanks for your assistance anyway!

  • Hi lily, there are cab services, and you can ask ur B&B host to call one for u. usually they’ll drop you in front at 7-11, which is the beginning of jiuden old street. It’s not advisable to drive at jiufen, the roads are so narrow and winding.

  • ya through email, if its urgent u can call them. from jiufen take a bus/cab to rueifang train station, then fr there transfer to pingxi line :)

  • Jace says:

    yr blog is so informative! thank u!

  • Valerie says:


    Came across your website while researching for my trip to Taiwan. It’s really useful especially your tips on how to get there and what to eat and all.

    The Windsor minsu seems really cool. I would like to book that too. Just like to know if they have any wifi in the minsu??

    Thank you! enjoyed your website! :)

  • Fe says:

    Hi, saw your post that states that need to get ready exact NT$90 for the keelung bus ride to Jiufen. May I know whether easy card can be used to pay for the bus fare? Thanks.

  • Hi fe, the last time we went there’s no easy card facilities so we need to prepare cash. not too sure about now though :)

  • Hi valerie, yes they have :)

  • Fe says:

    Hi, Thanks for reverting.

  • Valerie says:


    Thank you for your reply!! :)

  • Camemberu says:

    What a fascinating post! I am headed to Taiwan for the first time end March, and I’m so glad I found your posts! Definitely visiting Jiufen!

  • Christina says:

    Hi!! Will be visiting taipei this july and will be heading down to jiufen. Is the minsu very far away from the streets?

  • GIGI says:

    Hello there!
    Im planning a trip to taiwan and came across your blog about the wonder places and mouthwatering food to savor in jiufen.

    i was wondering if you could help recommend which would be a better plan for my stay at jiufen

    1. Day 3- 27 June 2012, Wednesday (2D1N)
    Taipei – Ruifang – JiuFen
    • Depart for JiuFen @ am to hotel to put luggage
    • Jingtong town
    • Pingxi – sky lantern/bamboo roll
    • ShiFen – sky lantern
    • Yehliu
    • Jiufen
    • Keelung Miao Kou Night Market (last bus 950am, 20 mins ride)


    2. Day 3- 27 June 2012, Wednesday (3D2N)
    • Taipei – jiufen hotel
    • Fulong beach福隆海水浴場
    • Jinguashi – ex gold and copper mining town
    • Keelung at night

    Day 4- 28 June 2012, Thursday
    • Jingtong
    • Pingxi
    • Shifen
    • Yehliu
    • Jiufen

    if plan 2 would be better, where will you recommend us to stay on both nights?

    thank you! :)

  • Hi there plan 2 looks better, its possible to squeeze everything into one day. fulong depends on whether theres any concert during that period, if not theres ntg much to see

  • Debz says:


    I like your blog! Can you please recommend me any B&B , or can you give me Hsu da ge number? we plan to visit jiu fen end of this month.


  • Hi debz you can get them at service@windsor.idv.tw if u can’t speak mandarin :)

  • Debz says:

    tq! apart from that any other hotels or BB to recommend?

  • YChen says:

    Hi there, I would like to ask how do you pay for Windsor B&B? Do they accept Paypal?

  • I paid them when I see them because we have built trust over the years. You can try to ask for other pmt method such as paypal :)

  • Gelato2005 says:


    Thank you so much for the detailed report of Jiufen. I did not consider traveling outside of Taipei until I read your blog. I was wondering if you can tell me which 日光涵館 room you stay in the first time? Do all the bathrooms only have tub bathing or are there showers?

    Thanks for your help.

  • hi dear thanks. its han guan 3, they have both shower n bath tub

  • Evelyn says:


    We would like to spend a day trip to jiufen & shifen. We wanted to start our journey from shifen to jiufen night market. Can you gv me some tip the best route from shifen to jiufen?

    Appreciate it.


  • from shifen, you can take train to rueifang, then take bus to jiufen

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