Jiufen is pretty synonymous with tourists visiting Taipei, it’s an hour away from the city so that makes it a nice half-day trip. I thought I’d share how to get there on your own as opposed to joining a tour. First, get yourself to Taipei Railway Station! It is linked to Taipei Main Station on the MRT.
Next, train tickets. Skip the queue and head straight for the ticket machines. We are getting tickets to get to Ruifang. Because the train schedules only show the start and end point of each line, you won’t find Ruifang anywhere on the board/machines. What we did was to get help from the staff (wearing red vests in the photo) to help us. Ticket prices vary depending on which type of train (allocated seats or free seating) and also the timing. We went with the earliest slot that could accomodate all four of us which turned out to be the free seating type.
Sorry to get wordy here but as one who does a lot of research before travelling, I appreciate little notes here and there that would make a small difference. You can eat & drink on the train so if breakfast is something you had to miss to catch a train, there’s a lot of food you can buy in the station for your journey. One other thing is there are many trains moving off from the same platform your train departs from. So double check the time stamp on the screen and triple check with the train conductor cos we almost boarded the wrong train.
Getting to Ruifang takes about 55 minutes. The train emerges from underground pretty quickly so there’s a view for the most part. Exit Ruifang Station and here, we’re gonna get on a bus. Once outside, look across the street, spot the WELLCOME sign. The buses pick up passengers headed to Jiufen/Jinguashi/Keelung there. The buses clearly state their destinations so hop on the ones that say JIUFEN. A one-way ride is NT$15.
The bus ride takes about 15 minutes, slowly climbing up winding roads.
So at Jiufen, there’s a lot of eating and drinking to do. The market was pretty packed but in a good-energy kind of way.
We did some tea tasting.
Ate this unusual combination of grated peanuts & ice cream wrapped in popiah skin.
Now the journey back to Taipei is about the same, take a bus back to Ruifang, get train tickets from Ruifang Station back to Taipei Railway Station. The only thing to note is the bus stop to wait for a bus heading back to Ruifang is different. See the 7-11 in the photo below? That’s at the mouth of the market. Walk up the hill and you’ll see a bus stop, that’s the one you want to be at.