After touring Taipei city, today is about the must-sees at the Northeast coast of Taiwan, about an hour away from Taipei. This tour’s itinerary includes: Yehliu Geopark, Shifen Old Street and Jiufen.
Our Northeast coast tour started out at 9am, and we drove straight to Yehliu Geopark, around 45 mins to an hour from Taipei.
Yehliu Geopark is home to unique rock formations, mainly formed by erosion and weathering. It is considered one of the must-sees in the Northeast coast of Taiwan. I saw this in a lot of itineraries, but we skipped this in my first trip to Taiwan because we didn’t find it too exciting.
Tickets to the park are at NTD 80. There were already a lot of people when we arrived, but there was no hassle buying tickets.
Despite my initial lack of expectations, we actually had a great time here! The rock formations were really interesting, and made for great pictures. 😀
It was amazing to see how the world constantly moves and changes around us. But it also concerns me because there were really a loooot of people when we visited, and I could only imagine the impact that we tourists would have on the place.
We took about an hour and a half here, and the next stop was Jiufen. On our way, however, our driver said that we will be stopping by two “photo spots”:
(1) A viewing deck where you could see the Yin Yang sea.
It is said that the yellow coloring in this bay is caused by high concentrations of Pyrite, a mineral also known as “fool’s gold.” We only spent about 15 minutes here, because the view is really all that there is to it.
And (2) the golden waterfall! The “golden” color is due to the runoff from the mines that were nearby.
From the golden waterfall we headed to Jiufen, the place which is known as the “inspiration” for the animated film Spirited Away. However, I found articles saying that Hayao Miyazaki himself said that the house in Spirited Away was actually inspired by old Japanese bath houses, and the buildings in the Edo-Tokyo Museum.
Jiufen is a quaint mountain town, filled with interesting shops, yummy food and tea!
It’s a really charming place, but as its streets are narrow and filled with shops left and right, it can also get very crowded.
We took our time in Jiufen, and after about two hours we left for Shifen waterfall. By this time it was raining, and it was a really great thing that Stanley brought raincoats for all of us.
Getting to the waterfall requires a bit of walking, about ten minutes cause it was raining and we had to be careful.
Sadly, though, I found myself underwhelmed. I’m not sure if we could have found better spots to appreciate the falls, but it was raining and we left about 5 mins after seeing the falls. :))
Getting to Shifen Old street from the waterfall was super quick (about 5 mins), and our first activity was to light up a lantern!
The lantern costs NTD 200, and you get to pick the colors, which have meanings.
The people at the shop take your lantern after you write your “wishes”, and basically directs your picture taking with the lantern.
After that we explored and ate street food again. Souvenir hunting is fun here as well as in Jiufen, as there are more unique finds. There were some that I didn’t find anywhere else in Taipei. But of course expect the price to be more for tourists.
Shifen was our last stop for the tour, and we were back in Ximending at around 6:30. Dinner was takeaway from Tian Tian Li, home of the best pork rice ever. Seriously. Get yourself some lu rou fan from this shop if you find yourself in Taipei.
If you’re staying nearby and want to avoid the lines, go for takeaway and it would take you just about 5 minutes. The lines here can get really long, because it is THAT yummy.
That’s it for the Day 2! It was quite a jampacked day, but it is common to put these three places together in one day cause they require a bit of travelling.
All three places are well worth visiting, And you can skip the photo spots if you’re pressed for time.
It’s also probably best to visit these places during the dry season, because the rain makes the places feel a bit gloomy, plus it is harder to explore on foot.
After going to these places via commute and via tour, I would recommend going for day tours, because (1) time is limited, and the train intervals are not as quick, (2) there are always a lot of people, and (3) it can get tiring to commute because these are places you have to explore on foot.
A lot of travel sites like Klook or Kkday have them, or you can also go for a private tours like us. Do not worry about having just 2 hours in a certain destination cause that’s actually more than enough 😉
For day 4, we visited Yangmingshan, Beitou and Fisherman’s Wharf!