With a week to spend in Taipei, I wanted to explore as much of the city as I could and take day trips. I knew I wanted to go to Jiufen because I had heard so much about how beautiful this town was. I had also read about day trips to Keelung and to Shifen Waterfall. After researching around for a bit, I put together my itinerary to hit all three in one day!
Here was my overall itinerary:
- Noon – Left Taipei Main Station on a local train to Ruifang Station
- Once at Ruifang, I bought a ticket to Shifen train station
- 2pm – Arrived at Shifen Station and spent around two hours exploring the market and Shifen Waterfall
- 4pm – Went back to Shifen Station to return to Ruifang Station
- 5pm – Arrived at Ruifang Station and took a cab to Old Jiufen Street, spent a couple of hours here
- 7pm – Took the bus to Keelung Market and walked 5 mins to Keelung Night Market
- 8:30pm – Bought a train ticket back to Taipei Main Station from Keelung Station
- 9ish pm – Arrived in Taipei
After grabbing breakfast, I headed to Taipei Main Station around noon and bought a train ticket to Ruifang Station from the ticket machine. To get to Shifen you have to transfer from Ruifang to a local train. Once I arrived at Ruifang I exited the station then bought a one-way ticket to Shifen at the counter…I was not well versed enough in Chinese haha to buy it from the machine at Ruifang. But I was so proud of myself for being able to still ask for help and buy tickets in Chinese.
When I first arrived at Shifen Station, I was greeted with a bustling crowd and market right at the station on the way to Shifen Waterfall. It was extremely easy to get to the waterfall as well. It’s about a 15-20 minute walk with plenty of taxis around offering rides.
The pictures of Shifen Waterfall truly do not do it justice. It was much larger and grander than I had expected. I got lucky with beautiful, albeit hot weather and was able to snap gorgeous shots of the waterfall :D.
Jiufen Old Street
After visiting Shifen Waterfall, I took the train back to Ruifang to head to Jiufen Old Street. I had read that once you exit Ruifang station, there would be a bus stop across the street that would take you straight to Jiufen Old Street. I had difficulty figuring out which bus to take and which direction I was supposed to go in so I caved in and took a taxi haha.
I am normally fearful of taxis, mostly because I always feel like I am getting ripped off, but the cab ride was a great choice. It was much quicker than the bus would have been and only cost $200NTD, approximately $6 dollars.
The taxi driver dropped me off right in front of the main entrance. Jiufen Old Street is a whinding alleyway in between many buildings on the hillside. It was just so freaking beautiful. Outside of the street, you could see the fog rolling in over the bay and the many lanterns flickering in the distance. I walked around the long street and grabbed some snacks and milk tea while peaking in the cute shops. This part of my day was probably the loneliest because I really wished I could have experienced this with Ke or a good friend.
Keelung Night Market
My last stop of the day was Keelung Night Market! To get there from Jiufen Old Street, you can either head back to Ruifang Station and take a train or take bus #1862 that goes straight to Keelung. The bus stop was about a 2 min walk up the hill from the entrance of Jiufen Old Street. It goes to Ruifang Station then heads to Keelung afterwards.
Google maps estimated it’d be an 1.5 hour trip, but the bus driver drove so fast it only took 40 mins to get to Keelung so I recommend just taking the bus and resting instead of taking the train.
I hopped off the stop closest to the Night Market and stuffed my face :D. Afterwards I walked over to Keelung Station and bought a ticket back to Taipei.
This was one of the most rewarding days I had in Taiwan, it almost topped my day in Taroko Gorge. I successfully travelled outside of Taipei, navigated to three different cities, bought train tickets, talked to a taxi driver, and ordered delicious food all in Chinese. I definitely would recommend this day trip if you’re ever in Taipei, solo or with a good friend :D.