Saturday, July 14, 2018

Taiwan Day Trip: Shifen Old Street and the Waterfalls

When I was in Taiwan the other year, I searched for a quick day trip outside the Taipei City and came upon Jiufen, a town in the Ruifang district of New Taipei City.

Shifen Waterfall.

Shifen Old Street and Railway.

I found the day trip from Klook and took the shuttle bus option from Ximen to Jiufen with a stop in Shifen. This was just perfect I thought because it will give me the freedom to go around and explore on my own which is very important to me. I am not very fond of tour groups and being led by someone on a day trip.

New Taipei City is the area surrounding the Taipei City basin. They are different and should not be confused. New Taipei City used to be Taipei country but when it overtook the population Taipei City and became strong economically it reached its city status but cannot be named Taipei City, hence New Taipei City.

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Arriving in Shifen...

I bought the Klook voucher online and was on time for the pick-up in Ximen, Wanhua district. Luckily, my hotel is located in the same area and was just a few minutes walk. The shuttle bus was small, it's like a Mitsubishi or Mercedes Benz van that can fit a maximum of 15 people. Not bad. We were quite full and most of the people were Asians with Chinese roots. So even if they are not from Taiwan, they understand and speak the language. I was the only one who could not speak Chinese! The family from Malaysia were very nice in helping me out though.

Day Trip route with 2 stops:

1) Shifen in Pingxi
2) Jiufen in Ruifang

It takes approximately 45 to 50 minutes to drive from Ximen, Taipei City to Shifen. And another 30-35 minutes to Jiufen from Shifen.

Our first stop is the town of Shifen. I did not know what to expect as I really only planned for Jiufen, thus I only researched Jiufen. We were dropped by the shuttle bus on the main road and I quickly found myself walking to the Old Street of Shifen where the railway is located.

Shifen railway tracks.

The area was quite busy and I was surprised to see that it was very touristy. Quite timing a train just arrived and further ahead of the rail tracks I could see people standing with huge lanterns. There were scribbles on the lantern and people were holding it together whilst someone lighting it before releasing it up to the air.

I later realised that its one of those wishing lanterns very popular with tourists. I didn't want to do it, so I decided to just walk around looking for something else interesting.

A family about to let the lantern of wishes fly.

Up, up, and up away it goes into the sky.

More pictures of Shifen old town:

Local food store.

I am not sure what these are, but I can guess that they are lucky or well-wisher tags.

I found that there is a waterfall nearby. I did some further checking and found out that it's a 20-minute walk, thus a total of 40 minutes plus perhaps another 20 minutes to walk around the falls and such. Doable before the shuttle bus comes back to pick us up for the final destination of the day trip.

So I made my way to the waterfalls as quickly as possible.

This is my walking route from Shifen Old Street/Railway to Shifen Waterfalls:

The walking route from Shifen old town/old street to Shifen Waterfall. There were directions along the way so it was quite easy to follow the route.

Shifen Waterfall is 20 meters high and 40 meters wide. The water exits to the Keeling River.

I am really quite glad to have done this as it gave me the opportunity to walk (exercise) and see beautiful nature.

There is a waterfall walking path made of a wooden and organized walkway around the waterfalls so it's very easy to follow and not stray away. It's not for the less active though because the pathways are going up and down. There are cafes and informal food courts servicing visitors just beside the waterfalls. I think this is a great thing to do if in Shifen because the Old Street and Railway are too small for an attraction.

Shifen is considered one of the most scenic waterfalls in Taiwan.

Lots of selfie and picture taking opportunities here.

Travel Period: January 2017
Destination: Shifen (Pingxi District), New Taipei City, Taiwan

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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