Jiufen is a small Japanese built village perched on the side of the mountains about 1 hour northeast of Taipei. Although quite touristy, it is definitely worth the visit. The streets throughout Jiufen main area are filled with teahouses, Chinese and Japanese cafes, souvenir shops and unique art and craft shops. If you’re a food lover, you will be spoilt for choice by the endless local food stalls. Surrounded by lush green mountains and views through to the ocean, waterfalls and surrounded by temples, Jiufen is a definite must when you are visiting Taiwan.
Where to stay
We stayed in a local guesthouse only a 5 minute walk to the centre of town. We recommend staying close to Jishan Street – the main street. At either end of the street are wonderful B&BS, that are within walking distance of the main attractions. At times, Jiufen can be overwhelming with the amount of visitors. Due to its proximity to Taipei, alot of local tourists spend the day here. Ensure you stay in a place with adequate space to relax to escape the bustle of the town. A patio or balcony are a must in Jiufen. The views are spectacular.
The roads are suitable for strollers, however, be prepared for large crowds through the narrow main street. Prior to arriving in Jiufen we were a little concerned as to what to do with a toddler. Once we were there, that thought completely left our mind. Our toddler loved walking through the main street, getting entertained by all the locals who were infatuated with him, tryin out all the local foods, looking at all the dogs in strollers, the amazing Japanese anime shops and all the lights, sounds and smells that surrounded him.
If your child is small enough to fit inside a backpack carrier, it is a definite must in Jiufen. There are lots of quick eateries to grab a variety of local cuisine on the go. There are small informal restaurants accessed by the main alley that specialise in a specific dish and usually a small variety of staple meals. We recommend the restaurants off the main stairs linking Shengping Theater and Jishan Street. The restaurants here are more spacious and usually have views overlooking the valley, most are child friendly offering high chairs if needed. Some even have outdoor terraces – an afternoon drink at one of these places is also a must.
It was like an adventure land for our son. Something so different to anything he has experienced in Sydney. We did day trips out to the beautiful mountain surrounds and spectacular Golden waterfall. You can get a local bus, however, (due to very bad morning sickness on that day) we got a taxi to take us to a few stops. They charged by the metre, but we negotiated a lower price if we could have him for half a day. We paid around $30 Australian dollars.
We visited the Qiungyun Temple. We had seen it on the opposing mountain from our guesthouse and we knew we had to visit! We walked there using the backpack carrier, which took around 45 minutes. Once there we were greeted by a beautiful Taiwanese lady who was very eager to show us around the temple. It was spectacular. The views from each tier were breathtaking. We spent around an hour inside the temple and on the way out, our son spotted a playground! Yes a playground on the grounds of the temple.
Getting there and away
With children, the most convenient way to get to Jiufen is either by Taxi or Uber. Most Uber drivers in Taipei are willing to take the trip, averaging at around 45 minutes and costing roughly AUD $30. If you have a great Taxi driver whilst exploring Taipei, it could also be good to strike up an arrangement in the days leading up to your stay in Jiufen. Never lock in a deal as you can try a number of drivers throughout your stay. Get their number and call a day or two in advance to your trip. Alternatively, you can catch the train from Taipei to Ruifang for TWD 40.00 from Songshan Station. From Ruifang it’s a 7km / 19 min taxi ride to Jiufen.