Day 6 / 23-Sept-2015 : Shifen & Pingxi
Just like Jiufen, Shifen (well known for the Shifen Waterfall) and Pingxi (very popular for sky lantern festival) is a populary day-tour destination from Taipei. The other reason why we decide to stay for 2 nights in Jiufen is to visit these two towns.
Our homestay is just a walking distance away from a bus stop. If your bus is coming from Ruifang, this is the last bus stop (it’s just across a postal office) before reaching the bus stop of Jiufen.
Some of the bus lines that pass through this bus stop which means, you can take any of this bus if you want to go to Jiufen. Bus fare from here to Ruifang Station costs 15 NTD
Jiufen post office, a convinient store and police station all of which is just across the bus stop. The road further is the direction to Jiufen bus stop. Taking the bus from here to go to Ruifang Station costs 15 NTD.
The front facade (main entrance) of Ruifang Train Station
This is what you will see if you are standing from the main entrance of Ruifang Station (remember we exited the wrong side of the station yesterday when we arrived from Taipei and kept looking for the “non-existing” bus stop and we ended up taking the cab). The bus stop in front is where they used to take passengers who are going to Jiufen.
Now there is a signage informing tourist of the new bus stop where you can take the bus to Jiufen.
Since our homestay do not serve meals, we decided to try this local coffee shop just beside (left side if you are facing) the station before we head to Shifen.
Though small, you can feel it’s “homey” vibe.
Last minute preparations for our trip today.
We aside from buying tickets for Shifen/Pingxi, we also bought in advance our tickets for our trip back to Taipei the next day.
Ticket from Ruifang Station to Pingxi Station costs 30 NTD, you can alight midway at Shifen Station to check the town, then use the same ticket to continue your train journey to Pingxi Station.
Inside the train going to Pingxi.
After 34 minutes we arrived at Shifen station.
The station is quite small that when you alight from the train (when coming from Ruifang) you will have to cross the train tracks to get to the actual station.
The train station, originally built for transporting coal, was built right alongside the and today stands as a reminder of Taiwan’s history and culture.
The stores beside the train track sells local foods and souvenirs, but the most famous ones are sky lanterns.
There are lots of sky lantern shops along the train track.
The price for each sky lantern depends on how many colors (or sides) of the sky lantern you buy, each colors corresponds to different wishes such as health, wealth, etc., so the more colors, the “better”.
Flying this sky lanterns are very popular for group of friends and families.
Another family sending their sky lantern off to the sky.
There goes the wish of another person flying to the sky.
There is a hanging bridge behind the train station
On the way to Shifen Waterfalls, there is an old coal washing mill building
A small house near the coal mill
Inside the small house
A map was displayed for tourist on the way to the waterfalls.
Another hanging bridge on the way to the waterfalls
A greenish but cleane river
A sign that you are near the waterfalls
Once you start alighting on this reddish stairs, it means you are minutes away to the waterfalls.
After more or less 30 minutes walk from Shifen Station, a calm and resting view of Shifen Waterfall awaits you.
Shifen is well known for the Shifen Waterfall, a 20 meter tall waterfall that creates a rainbow as it splashes into the lake, widely regarded as the most scenic in all of Taiwan.
Me trying (very hard) for a good shot of Shifen Waterfall
The cascading waters are very inviting, I wish they can let everyone to take a dip and shower on this waterfall.
After resting and enjoying the view for a while, we decided to head back to Shifen Station.
Checking my camera if I got the shots that I wanted 😉
We arrived back at Shifen Station
We drop by at the hanging bridge near the station but there are lots of tourist on the bridge.
Actually, its not an unusual hanging bridge ;-p
We left Shifen and continue our journey by train to Pingxi
We do not need to buy a new ticket, just show our Ruifang-Pingxi ticket and they will stamp it.
After 9 minutes we arrived at Pingxi Station
Pingxi is special for its unique architecture and design, as its market area, Pingxi Old Town is built into a hill with a train track going overhead right through the middle with shops around selling local food and gifts. Visitors are able to check out shops built during the 1930s and 1940s, as well as wooden houses built during the Japanese occupation era.
Lots of bamboo ornaments displayed at the station
We checked the time schedules going back to Ruifang Station so we know how much time we still have to be able to check this town.
Pingxi Train Station
They are also selling sky lanterns along the train track but not as busy as the one in Shifen station
A small road leading to Pingxi old town
Some of the shops are closed already because it’s almost end of the day when we arrived here
Lots of food shops too
Apparently, this sausage shop is popular that it was even featured in a local Taiwanese tv show
Well, it did taste really good (or we are just tired and hungry from the walking we did at Shifen) for a price of 35 NTD per piece
Walking further to check this town
The giant signage about this cheese pao is very inviting
So we decided to try the cheese pao
The color is very rich and the smell makes you bite it immediately
For 35 NTD, very nice and tasty.
Some more shops while walking back to the station
We decided to to go back to Ruifang before the sun sets.
Pingxi is very popular around chinere new year time because they hold this very famous sky lantern festival and lots and lots of tourist visit this town, but during this time of the year, the town seems a bit quite. Actually we enjoyed this town better than Shifen earlier because of too much crowd.
The train schedule to and from Pingxi
We arrived back at Ruifang Station after 45 minutes train ride from Pingxi and we walked to the new bus stop/pick up point for our trip back to Jiefen. There is bus 1062 posted on the bus stop near our homestay (as shown in the photo at the beginning of this article)
The bus stop at Jiufen
The entrance leading to Jiufen Old Street beside a 711 store which you will see easily upon alighting the bus.
Most of the shops are already closed
The stairway leading to A Mei Tea house, still lots of tourist
And there goes our last day at Jiufen, tomorrow we are travelling back to Taipei for our last leg of our Taiwan trip.