Jiufen (九份), historically spelled Chiufen and alternately spelled Jioufen, is a small town in north Taiwan.
Jiu Fen is on Gee Lung mountain, and it is located near to a town called Rui Fang. Until the 1950's, Jiufen was a prosperous gold mining town. In brief, it is similar to Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. But the main difference between Malaysia's Cameron Highlands and Jiu Fen is Jiu Fen is a small town fulled of historical and ambient atmosphere.
The town went into sharp decline when mining was discontinued. The quaint streets, tea houses and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean saved it from becoming yet another anonymous mining ghost town. .
Jiufen is now a popular tourist destination for Taipeites eager to relive scenes from the past. It has provided the setting for several period movies.
You can get loads of Taiwanese street foods from Jiu Fen Old Street (九份老街). For example, baked milk sticks, stinky tofu, barbecued wild boar meat and barbecued Taiwanese sausages, Pineapple cookies, sour plum soup etc. One of the must-eat food in Jiu Fen is no other but the Yam Ball Soup (芋丸汤／冰). It can be served with or without ice! See the picture above! Isn't it tempting!! For souvinir, personally I think it is their 'mountain tea' (高山茶). Malaysia's Cameron Highlands is famous for it's Boh tea, and so Jiufen is also famous for their 'mountain tea'.
FYI, there is a shop called 阿信的店 (Xin's Shop - which also means YS's shop) :-D
You might wonder how did we go to Jiu Fen as my back was injured? Well, we got a free day-tour when we made hotel reservation few months back. Initially we planned to go there on our own so I did some research on how to get there from Taipei city, however the research information turned out to be useless to us :-( Sigh.
Perhaps it is good for me to share with you on How to get there from Taipei city:
From Taipei, take the train north to Ruifang Station. It takes about 45 mins. Then from Ruifang take the Keelung Transit bus from the bus stops in front of the train station to Jiufen. Be sure to line up across the road to go to Jiufen and Jinguashi. The bus trip is roughly 15 minutes. The bus will stop in front of a 7-11 (see picture 3 and last picture). Then you walk into the alley next to 7-11. This is where the old street of Jiu Fen is located at. The alley isn't long but you can easily spend more than 2 hours walking around, as there are loads nice foods/ snacks to eat and things to shop.
If you have time, you can plan for a night's stay at Jiu Fen home stay (民宿); you can also visit the Gold Museum there too!
If you plan to drive to Jiu Fen, the following is a map showing you how to get there from Taipei train station by car.
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Taipei MRT Map:
Click on the map to view the full size image.