11 Dec New Taipei City Day Trip: Jinguashi & Jiufen P.2
Read Part 1 here: New Taipei City Day Trip: Jinguashi & Jiufen Part 1
As the sun is about to set, you can now make your way back to the Jiufen Old Street. The nightfall really brings out the magic in this nostalgic town. Perhaps I am slightly biased due to the settings of my favorite anime, “Spirited Away/神隱少女” by Hayao Miyazaki/宮崎駿. There are rumors that the producer of anime was inspired by the Jiufen town and decided to use it as the setting of the anime. This claim hasn’t been officially confirmed, though.
In “Spirited Away”, a 10-year old girl named Chihiro stumbled upon an abandoned amusement park with her parents. While exploring the park, her parents accidentally devoured the food prepared for the spirits and turned into a pair of pigs. As the night falls, Chihiro finds herself trapped as the spirits and magical creatures begin to make their ways into this strange and mystic town. The crackle of the fire, the clank of the metal and the sputters of the deep fryers start to fill the cobblestone alleyways. As the red lanterns light up the dark sky, the town becomes energetic and vibrant.
You can expect nothing short of that walking through the old streets of Jiufen.
How to get to Jiufen from Jinguashi?
Hop on to buses #856 or #826 and it will take you directly to Jiufen. These buses are available at both the Jinguashi stop (Gold Ecological Park) and the Huangjin Pubu stop (The Golden Waterfall).
What to see at the Jiufen (九份)?
1. Jiufen Old Street (九份老街)
After arriving at the Jiufen bus stop, you will be located just a couple blocks away from the entrance of the Jiufen Old Street. You know you are in the right place when you find yourself fully submerged in the crowds, shuffling along in a narrow and confined alleyway. I’m not going to lie, the number of people visiting Jiufen is overwhelming at all times. Do prepare yourself for this mentally and know that it’s a part of the experience.
2. Aganyi Yuyuan/Aganyi Taro Balls ( 阿柑姨芋圓)
One of the most famous street snacks in Jiufen is actually my favorite dessert of all times – taro balls! Aganyi Yuyuan is my go-to taro ball shop here in town. Even though there are a lot of dessert shops in Taipei that sell the same dessert, but in my honest opinion, it just isn’t the same as these babies from Aganyi.
If you are a sucker for beautiful sunsets, then you are in for a treat. There’s a spacious seating area around the back of the Aganyi Yuyuan shop and it offers one of the best sunset views in town.
I would normally sit by this window and enjoy this stunning view until the sky turns pitch black. Sometimes, there’s nothing more satisfying than just sitting here in tranquility and observing the radiant sky as it changes hues.
2. Amei Tea House (阿妹茶樓)
One of the oldest and the most symbolic spot in town would be none other than the A-Mei Tea House. This remarkable building has a long history dated back to the days when it was originally a blacksmith shop. At a later date, it was then transformed to a tea shop by the youngest daughter of the family, who named the tea house “A-Mei” after her own name. A-Mei tea house gained popularity not only due to its quaint Japanese-style architecture, but also because of its impressive geographical location. Aside from the Aganyi Yuyuan, A-Mei Tea House has one of the most breathtaking views overlooking the town.
The stairs in front of the A-Mei Tea House is THE picturesque spot in Jiufen. If you were to snap one single picture in Jiufen, this would be it. It looks like a scene straight out of “Spirited Away”.
What to eat at the Jiufen?
Aside from Aganyi Taro Balls, there are a few other must try street snacks at Jiufen. Feel free to load them onto your Google Maps.
1. Lai Ah Po Taro Balls (賴阿婆芋圓): Google Maps
2. Ah Lan Hakka Glutinous Rice Cake (阿蘭草仔粿): Google Maps
3. Hu li Zhang Braised Dishes (護理長的店滷味): Google Maps
4. 魚丸伯仔 Fish Balls: Google Maps
5. Jin Zhi Red Yeast Rice Meat Balls (金枝紅糟肉圓): Google Maps
How to get back to Taipei from Jiufen?
The easiest way to get back to Taipei by public transportation would be taking the same #1062 shuttle bus back. The bus will drop you off at the same bus stop where you got on, by the Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station.