For some of the less seasoned travellers out there, an article about Jiufen, Taiwan seems incredibly alien at first sight. Never fear, for IMPACT Travel’s Karmen Truong is on hand to give us the lowdown on one of the treasures of the East.
How to get there?
Recommended route: Travelling from Taipei, catching the 1062 bus from Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station Exit 1 will take you straight there, with a journey costing 102 New Taiwan Dollars (NTD), or about £2.57.
Juifen’s main allure is that it is heavily cited as the inspiration for the Studio Ghibli classic, Spirited Away. Walking up and down it’s winding alleys, it’s similarities are easily recognisable and fun to spot!
From the string of red lanterns lining the old street, to the famous Grand Teahouse, there’s a wealth of things to explore, sending you home with an armful of memories. Here’s my list of unmissable things when there:
Awaiting your arrival, the Old Street is lined with plenty of stalls selling a mouth-watering selection of food. From the standard fishballs and noodles, one thing you absolutely must try is the Taiwanese Bawan Dumpling. Looking curiously like a steaming vat of jellyfish, they are something to get used to. Perhaps these particular ones are a speciality of Jiufen as I hadn’t see anything it before and being honest, I wasn’t a big fan. However, it’s certainly something to try when you’re there!
What to do:
Of course, you should make it your priority to see the Grand Teahouse, and go in if you have the time and money! However, it’s just as nice to view from the outside, and, along the stairs down, is a cool secret tunnel to spirit you away (Ba-Dum-Tss) from all the crowds and give you another little viewpoint of Jiufen. It should be on your right as you descend down towards the teahouse.
What you should NOT do:
Jiufen is home to many animals and while they may look cute through the lens of your camera, it is advisable not to try and pet them without the owner’s permission. Although this is probably good etiquette to take with you anywhere. From hissing cats to growling dogs, these furry creatures are best appreciated from a safe, photogenic distance.
A small but achievable list to keep in mind if you have the opportunity to visit – these firmly secured their place in my memory of Jiufen for sure! If you’re interested to hear more about Taiwan, take a look at my blog: rookieexperiences.wordpress.com !
Images: Karmen Truong