10 Dec New Taipei City Day Trip: Jinguashi & Jiufen P.1
Jiufen (九份/Chiufen/Jioufen) is an old town located in the Ruifang District, about an hour outside of Taipei. It was founded during the Qing dynasty and was once a prosperous gold mining town. Due to its beautiful historic buildings, quaint cobblestone alleyways and delicious street food, it has now transformed into a popular tourist destination. Jiufen makes the perfect day trip to experience a different scene.
Jinguashi (金瓜石) is also a former gold and mining town known for its rich history. It’s located just about 10 minutes bus ride from Jiufen. I would really recommend that you check it out on the same day as your Jiufen trip.
Should you head to Jiufen first or Jinguashi first? Well, I personally love the night scene at Jiufen and I think it’s a sight not to be missed! As the red lanterns light up the alleyway, it looks like a scene straight out of Hayao Miyazaki’s anime “Spirited Away” (my favorite anime by the way). I recommend that you check out the surrounding areas first and head to Jiufen when the sun is about to set.
How to get to Jiufen from Taipei?
1. By BUS: The easiest way to get to Jiufen and Jinguashi is by taking the #1062 shuttle bus to Jinguashi from the Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station (See MRT map here). Take Exit 1 at the Zhongxiao Fuxing Station and follow my Google map screenshot below to find the #1062 bus stop. Where I marked star (in front of the Tasty Steak House) is where the #1062 bus stop is located at. You can tap your Easycard for this bus ride. It costs 100 NTD to Jinguashi and 90 NTD if you choose to get off at the Jiufen stop first. Check out the 1062 bus route map here.
The bus is nicely air-conditioned and you are guaranteed a seat on the bus (or else they won’t even let you on). You can sit back and relax while enjoying the beautiful view outside.
Note: the old 1062 bus stop was located right by the exit #1 but has since then been moved to this new location.
2. By TRAIN: You can also take the TSR train from the Taipei Main Station to the Ruifang Station, and then transfer to bus #788, #827,#1062 or #825 (holidays only). Most of the trains heading towards Ruifang are what they call the “local trains”. They are mostly very packed and you would end up standing for a good 45 minutes to an hour in the crowd. I personally would opt for the bus option instead, as I find the bus ride being much more comfortable and the travel time is actually about the same.
What to see at Jinguashi?
1. Gold Ecological Park (黃金博物園區)
Upon getting off the Jinguashi stop, you will immediately see the entrance to the Gold Ecological Park. The ticket costs 80NTD per person, and you will gain access to the Gold Museum and all the surrounding exhibitions in the complex. You will be able to learn more about the history of mining and the gold refining process. There are also multiple experience centers with model installations mimicking the actual mining environment back in the days.
2. Crown Prince Chateau (太子賓館)
As soon as you enter the Gold Ecological Park complex, you will come across a well-preserved Japanese-style residence from when Taiwan was under the Japanese Rule. This particular chateau was specifically built for Crown Prince Hirohito (later on Japanese Emperor Hirohito) during his visits.
3. Gold Museum (黃金博物館)
The Gold Museum features exhibitions and artifacts documenting the history of this mining town. There is also a huge gold block on display where you can reach in and touch it for good luck.
4. Ōgon Shrine/Jinguashi Shinto Shrine (黃金神社)
My favorite part about my Jinguashi trip was actually the hike up to the ruins of the Jinguashi Shinto Shrine. The majority of the shrine was destroyed during World War II, with just a few stone pillars still remain standing today.
The view from the hiking path is simply breathtaking, so raw yet so powerful. The Shinto shrine overlooks the entire Jinguashi area so you can get a good bird’s-eye view of the town and the surrounding hillsides.
You can also witness the beauty of the Keelung Mountain from this scenic hiking path.
5. Golden Waterfall (黃金瀑布)
If the day is still early after you descend from the Shinto Shrine, consider visiting the Golden Waterfall nearby. You can get there directly from the Gold Ecological Park with a short bus ride ( buses #856, #826, #891). Get off at the Golden Waterfall Stop (It’s pronounced Huangjin Pubu in Chinese).
This waterfall appears golden in color as the name suggests. Don’t let its beautiful appearance fool you, as the water is actually dangerous and toxic to the skin. The bright golden color is a result of years of heavy metal deposits from the mining town nearby.
Aside from the waterfall itself, there are also a few scenic spots nearby you can also check out, such as Ying Yang Sea and the Remains of the Thirteen Levels. I would recommend checking out these sites if time allows.
As the sun is about to set, get ready for the highlight of our trip – Jiufen Old Street.
Read Part 2 here: New Taipei City Day Trip: Jinguashi & Jiufen P.2