Often compared to the Spirited Away movie, the sights at Jiufen Old Street almost seem surreal. But at the same time it has become more and more popular and it’s not uncommon to see crowds of people here.
So is Jiufen Old Street still worth visiting or has it become too touristic to handle? Before visiting, I was wondering the same thing.
That’s why I’ve written this article, to give you a better understanding of what to expect and whether it’s really worth visiting.
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Is Jiufen Old Street really worth visiting?
The short answer is: yes. However, there are ways to improve your visit a lot more. If you’re visiting Jiufen Old Street during a day trip, then you’re going to see mostly crowds. Just like the picture above.
Instead of going on a day trip to Jiufen, I recommend staying here for at least two nights.
In this way, you’ll get to enjoy this small town a lot more. Most of the crowds have left during the evening and early morning, so you can go and truly explore this scenic place without hordes of people.
Personally, I highly recommend staying at Wangyuku B&B. It’s 10 minutes on foot from Jiufen Old Street and it’s definitely one of the most unique places I’ve ever stayed at.
If you appreciate an authentic stay, then book your room here. It’s a very cosy place and the owner is very kind. Besides, it’s a great way to support the locals.
If you prefer a bit more luxury, then stay at Two Easy Inn. This place has amazing views of Jiufen and its surrounding greenery and the bath tub is incredible. Click here to view its latest prices and availability.
How to get there?
First, take a train to Ruifang train station.
From here take a bus (for example No. 1062, 788 and 965) to Jiufen. There’s a bus stop called Jiufen Old Street where you can get off.
You can use your Easy card to pay in the bus. You can also use cash, but you won’t get any money back, so you’ll need to have the exact amount. Our bus ride cost from Ruifang to Jiufen was 15 NTD per person one way.
Is Jiufen Old Street crowded?
To set your expectations straight: yes, Jiufen Old Street can get very crowded. It can get very busy during the day, especially on weekends.
There are also lots of stairs to climb up and down, so it’s good to be aware of this. It’s not very accessible for people with mobility issues or knee problems.
Even though I don’t like too crowded places myself, I still think Jiufen Old Street is worth visiting. For a less crowded and more personal experience, choose to base yourself here. You’ll be able to roam around the streets when it’s a little less crowded.
There are many nice restaurants and small artsy cafes for you to explore here. Besides, there are lots of things to do in the area, so you won’t easily get bored here.
Things to do in Jiufen and its surroundings
So, what is there to do in Jiufen and the surrounding area? Here are some of the top things to do here:
Walk through the narrow alleyways
One of the best things to do in Jiufen is ultimately to wander through its narrow alleyways. Walk up the stairs and admire the gorgeous views of the greenery surrounding you.
You will find that there are many cafes and restaurants for you to visit. And there’s an abundance of street food for you to try.
One restaurant I recommend is Jiufen Xingyu Restaurant 九份星宇食堂. It has affordable prices, is located in the centre, yet is not crowded yet. Try the braised pork rice, a typical Taiwanese dish.
Especially the location of this restaurant is very nice, as you have lovely views of Jiufen and its streets.
Hike Mount Keelung
If you like hiking or if you appreciate lush greenery, then go and hike Mount Keelung. There are three stops where you can take a rest and the trail takes around 1.5 hours back and forth. It’s a great hike if you want to escape into nature for a short time.
Visit a teahouse
A-Mei Teahouse is the most famous tea house in Jiufen. It’s a bit expensive and if you want to be sure of a spot, then you should really make a reservation before hand.
If you prefer a smaller, less known teahouse, check out 九份好韻茶葉 . This hidden gem has a friendly owner and beautiful views. Another alternative to A-Mei Teahouse is Jiufen Teahouse 九份茶坊.
Fortune telling DIY
Next to Gore lore you’ll find a self service fortune telling. The cost is only 10 NTD. You have to put the coin in, then you shake the basket with sticks and choose one. There’s a number on the stick that correlates with one of the drawers and the paper inside. On the paper it tells you what your future will look like.
It was surprisingly interesting to do this. A Taiwanese girl and her family helped us translate everything. We had recently heard that we had to move and to our surprise on both of our papers it said that moving was a good thing. It may be coincidence, but who knows.
Hike the Sandiaoling Trail
If you like hiking and waterfalls, then you should visit Sandiaoling. There’s a train station here, so it’s accessible by public transport. However, the hike can be pretty tough!
It takes a few hours to complete and is definitely worth visiting if you’re a nature lover. Do check beforehand if the trail is open, as it was temporarily closed due to hornets.
Visit Jiufen Qingyun Temple
For a cultural activity, visit the magnificent Jiufen Qingyun Temple. It’s an incredible temple dedicated to emperor Shennong. You won’t see lots of crowds here, as it’s still a hidden gem in Jiufen.
The address is: No. 30號, Biner Rd, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
Learn about history at the Jiufen Goldore Museum
If you’re interested in the history of Jiufen as a gold mining village, then you should really visit the Jiufen Goldore Museum. They have tours where you can hear stories about the old town’s past. Especially the Night Tour is highly recommended.
The address is: 224, Taiwan, New Taipei City, Ruifang District, 石碑巷66號
Try street food
Jiufen Old Street is filled with street food. So, one of the best things to do here is to try lots of street food! There’s a huge variety, from dumplings and stinky tofu, to street food I’ve personally never seen before. Of course, there are also several places to grab a delicious bubble tea.
Admire Shifen Waterfall
A visit to Shifen Waterfall is a popular day trip from Jiufen. It’s often combined with Houtong Cat Village. Arrive in the early morning to escape most of the crowds.
Tip: If you have a car at your disposal, I also recommend checking out this small waterfall called Huiyao Falls. It’s only accessible by car and if you want to go for a swim this is perfect. Another waterfall in the area is the Golden Waterfall.
Have drinks at the Rooftop at 逸茶酒室Golden Bar
For a great (night) view all over Jiufen and its surroundings, it’s a good idea to head over to a rooftop bar. The Golden Bar has a really nice rooftop terrace on the second floor outside. They serve different kind of drinks such as cocktails, Taiwanese beers, but also teas.
The address is: No. 190號, Jishan St, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
Although Jiufen Old Street gets very crowded, it’s still definitely worth visiting. It’s filled with great restaurants, cafes and street food. Jiufen is surrounded by greenery, which makes it an excellent place to stay.
There are lots of things to do in the area, such as visiting a beautiful, lesser known temple or the more popular Shifen Waterfall. If you prefer to go hiking, then there are several amazing hiking trails in the area.
All in all, despite its crowds, Jiufen is a great place to add to your Taiwan itinerary.
Away with Danae