Shifen

Shifen is located in Pingxi district and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the north of Taipei that can’t miss to visit. The Old Streets are famous for its sky lanterns and the railway track across the town, as well as for its Waterfalls!

The easiest way to get there is by taking the bus 795 from MRT Muzha Station. Once getting out from the MRT Station, cross the main road and get to the bus stop (the one with red bus info). The bus stops at Shifen Old Streets and Shifen Waterfalls. Can use EasyCard!

Within Pingxi district can find the following spots that should be visited once! Please note that these places are accordingly to what I visited, I am sure there there will be more places within Pingxi district 🙂

1. Shifen Old Streets 十分老街

A must see! Very popular for its sky lanterns and the railway track across the town. Through its streets can find many souvenir shops, groceries stores, street food,…

One of the most popular attractions there is to fly a lantern! Simply buy one, write down your wishes and the vendor will help you giving instructions on how to hold it and let it fly!

2. Shifen Waterfalls 十分大瀑布

Shifen Waterfalls are about 15 minutes walking distance from the Old Streets. Another way is to take the shuttle bus to get there.  The place is really great if you are lucky to don’t find crowds. The path towards the first waterfall is chilling once you cross the first suspension bridge. Unfortunately for me was impossible to get a little space for the famous waterfalls. This location is a main attraction for schools and tour agencies…so don’t be surprised if you find them out there!

On the way back to Taipei may stop at Pingxi and have a look as well which is also highly recommended!

Jiufen 九份: a Golden Village

Jiufen is a mountain town in northeastern Taiwan, east of Taipei. It’s known for the narrow alleyways of its old town, packed with teahouses, street-food and souvenir shops.

This village is quite popular so it’s not a surprise to find crowds and waits to take decent photos. As suggestion, the best to visit this area is during weekdays to don’t get stuck into the crowds and have a decent walk through its narrow streets. Although during weekdays still a bit crowded but is bearable

The easiest way to get there from Taipei is by taking the bus 1062 (Keelung Bus) to Jinguashi and alight at Jiufen. The bus station is located outside of MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing Station (忠孝復興), Brown Line BR and Blue Line BL interchange at Exit 2. The ride is about 1 hour and the fare is NT$98

The other way is by train north to Ruifang Station and once there take the Keelung Transit bus towards Jiufen/Jinguashi. You can use EasyCard for both ways!

Which places can visit in Jiufen? I did the following!

1. Jiufen Old Streets

The most popular place that can’t be missed! Walk through its streets, try its food, snacks, bubble milk tea…stinky tofu..!

2. Hike Keelung Mountain

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Hike Keelung mountain for a stunning landscapes of Jiufen and its surroundings. The Keelung Trail is about 10 minutes walking distance from the Old Streets and the hike takes about 30-45 minutes

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3. Golden waterfalls 黃金瀑布

Since you are here, worth to have a look to these waterfalls. There is a shuttle bus from Jiufen to these waterfall every hour. Another way is by walking to this place. The walk takes about 40 minutes road down

4. YingYang Sea

Continuing road down you will pass by an old village and abandoned factories. The Yingyang Sea is about 5-10 minutes walking distance from the Golden Waterfalls and also worth to have a look since you are there! There is a bus station next to the road and the shuttle bus pass by there every hour. Please note that the bus has to be taken on the road way up! Can use EasyCard!

Enjoy your trip! 🙂

Note: As told by Taiwanese friends, this place is really beautiful at night, so if you have the chance to stay till late night, find a spot for landscape views and walk through the streets!

Taipei

Capital of Taiwan, Taipei City has a large number of places to explore and admire. As personal perspective, the city is clean enough if you compare with any other country/city in Asia that I have already visited. People is surprisingly civilized and respectful and I had no problem at all during my visit to this awesome city

So if you are planning or considering to visit Taipei, I will strongly recommend it. At least once. But..where to go and when?

The best time to visit Taipei is between October to December, taking in account that Typhoon season may ends in September or even October.

As many websites tell, the best month is November with pleasant temperatures.

I have visited Taipei the first week of October and fortunately I could avoid 2 typhoons. So the weather is a bit unpredictable

What to visit in Taipei?  Below I will number all the places I could visit in 1 week

1. Xiangshan 象山 – Elephant Mountain

Despite is one of the most tourist and crowded places, it’s a must to climb its stairs for an amazing views of the City. Climb up won’t take more than 45 minutes and I would recommend to climb it up before sunset

To get there, take MRT to Xiangshan station (象山) Red Line 2, leave from Exit 2 and continue walking alongside the edge of the park. Easiest way is just to follow Xiangshan Hiking Trail 象山登山步道 indications along the way

2. Confucius Temple 台北市孔廟

The temple is located near Yuanshan Station (圓山) and next to Bao’an Temple, so you can visit both temples within few minutes

To get there, take MRT to Yuanshan Station (圓山) and leave by Exit 2. Walk down by Kulun St (庫倫街), take a right at the intersection of Dalong St (大龍街)

3. Bao’an Temple 大龍峒保安宮

Located next to Confucius Temple 台北市孔廟 is also a must to visit

4. Martyrs’ Shrine 國民革命忠烈祠

Also one of the most visited places, Martyrs’ Shrine is a good spot to have a look if you are really interested to see the Changing of the Guards. The location is slightly remote, therefore you have to take MRT + bus

To get there, take MRT to Jiantan station (劍潭), leave Exit 1 and go to the bus stop to the right side. Take bus 267, 556, 902, or 紅3區 to Martyr’s Shrine 忠烈祠

Is this place avoidable? I think yes

I reached to the Shrine by walking from Dazhi Station (Line 1 Brown) and on the way I could visited a local market. Yet the walk is pleasant and won’t take more than 30 minutes

5. Tamsui 淡水 – Danshui

Also despite is one of the most tourist and crowded places, Tamsui is a must to visit especially during sunset time. The landscape is really awesome and the sunset may be breathtaking like the one I could experienced

The area is full of cafes, hawkers, shops…so can spend half day here if you don’t mind the crowds

To get there, take MRT to Tamsui (淡水) Red Line 2 and exit on the left

6. Yangmingshan National Park 陽明山

Yangmingshan is located in northern Taipei city. The area has a large number of hiking trails, parks, wildlife…so unless you dedicate several days to this park, is going to be impossible to visit it entirely. As suggestion, focus on 1 or 2 places and visit them. Depending of your visit purposes (hiking, photography,…), you have several choices.

I only could visit Qingtiangang Grassland and its 6-7km trail towards Fengguikou through Dingshan Shitiling Trail . The views on the top are really stunning but the hike itself may be a bit boring. The end of the hike is in the middle of nowhere and there is only one bus stop road down to Fengguizui. As I per read, there is a bus passing by there every hour and the last bus is about 5-6pm

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To get to Qingtiangang Grassland Trails, take the bus 108 or S15 to Qingtiangang (擎天崗) from Yangmingshan bus station and then transfer to another bus to the destination you want to visit, such as Xiaoyoukeng (小油坑), Lengshuikeng (冷水坑), and Qingtiangang Grassland Trails (擎天崗). To get to the bus station, take MRT to Jiantan station (劍潭) and leave Exit 1. You can use the EasyCard to pay all buses to Yangmingshan!

7. Maokong 貓空

Maokong is a village located on the top of the mountain with nice views of Taipei City. The area has many spots to have a look, as well as shops and tea shops as it’s truly popular this place.

To get there, take MRT to Taipei Zoo (動物園). Transfer to the Maokong Gondola, a cable-car service that climbs up the mountain to the peak at Maokong. Alternative, take the bus S10 that operates between Taipei Zoo Station and the peak at Maokong. As suggestion, take one way by cable car and another way by bus. The way down by cable car is less crowded that the way up. I was practically alone in the cable car during by way down so I really could enjoy of an amazing views quietly. You can use EasyCard for the cable car and bus!

Once on the top, I recommend to walk through Zhangshu Trail. It’s really stunning and relaxing.

There is another unusual trail on the way to Zhinan Temple towards Caonan Bridge and its surroundings. If you have enough time, can have a walk or bus. The road ends at the bridge with a little river and another trail continues road up

8. Dadaocheng Park 大稻埕碼頭

Not as popular as Tamsui, Dadaocheng Park offers stunning sunset landscapes and the place is surprisingly emptier than expected. Perfect place for a walk, cycling or just enjoy of a beautiful sunset.

To get there, I would recommend to take MRT to Beimen Station (塔城街), leave Exit 3 and stroll to the north firstly before go to Dadaocheng Park. The streets on this area are really beautiful and traditional. Full of shops, cafes and markets, you can feel the old Taipei on these streets

9. Longshan Temple 龍山寺

The most popular temple in Taiwan is a must to see. In the right side of the entry there are 2 stunning waterfalls that can’t skip them.

To get there, take MRT to Longshan Temple (龍山寺) and leave by Exit 1 and continue walking a bit after exiting.

10. Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall 中正紀念堂

The most important landmark in Taiwan can’t be missed! Besides the main hall, the large complex includes the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park (中正紀念公園), National Concert Hall (國家音樂廳), and the National Theater (國家戲劇院)

To get there, take Red Line 2 or Green Line 3 to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂)

11. Treasure Hill – Taipei artist village

Not as popular as it should be, this place is really beautiful and artistic! Perfect for chilling, photographers and a pleasant walk. It’s full of spots for those photography lovers. Worth to visit if you have 2-3 hours

To get there, take MRT to Gongguan Station (公館) and leave Exit 3. Then you have to walk through Gongguan Night Market, turn right on the crossing towards Keelung Road . The place is indicated along the way so is not easy to get lost

12. Raohe Night Market 饒河街觀光夜市

For foodie lovers, this market is really great and easy to get there. Just take MRT to Songshan Station and leave Exit 3 or 5

13. Shilin Night Market

One of the most popular and largest in Taiwan is a must to see for food lovers. To get there, take MRT to Jiantan Station (劍潭) and leave Exit 1

14. Ningxia Night Market 寧夏夜市

Another night market but this is mainly to enjoy Taiwanese snacks. To get there, take MRT to Shuanglian Station (雙連) and leave Exit 1

This website provides further info about more places and transportation details! Good to have a look

Hope you enjoy your trip!