Taiwan 2015: Shifen & Pingxi

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.


IMG_6092 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.


IMG_6103 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


IMG_6093 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.


IMG_6094 The front facade (main entrance) of Ruifang Train Station


IMG_6095 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.


IMG_6096 Now there is a signage informing tourist of the new bus stop where you can take the bus to Jiufen.


IMG_6097 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.


IMG_6098 Though small, you can feel it’s “homey” vibe.


IMG_6099 Last minute preparations for our trip today.


IMG_6100We aside from buying tickets for Shifen/Pingxi, we also bought in advance our tickets for our trip back to Taipei the next day.


IMG_6101Ticket 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.


IMG_6104Inside the train going to Pingxi.


IMG_6105 After 34 minutes we arrived at Shifen station.


IMG_6106The 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.


IMG_6108The train station, originally built for transporting coal, was built right alongside the and today stands as a reminder of Taiwan’s history and culture.


IMG_6109The stores beside the train track sells local foods and souvenirs, but the most famous ones are sky lanterns.


IMG_6110There are lots of sky lantern shops along the train track.


IMG_6111The 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”.


IMG_6112Flying this sky lanterns are very popular for group of friends and families.


IMG_6113 Another family sending their sky lantern off to the sky.


IMG_6114There goes the wish of another person flying to the sky.


IMG_6115There is a hanging bridge behind the train station


IMG_6116On the way to Shifen Waterfalls, there is an old coal washing mill building


IMG_6117 A small house near the coal mill


IMG_6118Inside the small house


IMG_6119A map was displayed for tourist on the way to the waterfalls.


IMG_6120 Another hanging bridge on the way to the waterfalls


IMG_6121 A greenish but cleane river


IMG_6122 A sign that you are near the waterfalls




IMG_6124Once you start alighting on this reddish  stairs, it means you are minutes away to the waterfalls.


IMG_6125 After more or less 30 minutes walk from Shifen Station, a calm and resting view of Shifen Waterfall awaits you.


IMG_6126Shifen 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.


IMG_6127Me trying (very hard) for a good shot of Shifen Waterfall


IMG_6128The cascading waters are very inviting, I wish they can let everyone to take a dip and shower on this waterfall.


IMG_6129 After resting and enjoying the view for a while, we decided to head back to Shifen Station.


IMG_6130Checking my camera if I got the shots that I wanted 😉


IMG_6131We arrived back at Shifen Station


IMG_6132We drop by at the hanging bridge near the station but there are lots of tourist on the bridge.


IMG_6133 Actually, its not an unusual hanging bridge ;-p


IMG_6134We left Shifen and continue our journey by train to Pingxi


IMG_6135We do not need to buy a new ticket, just show our Ruifang-Pingxi ticket and they will stamp it.


IMG_6136 After 9 minutes we arrived at Pingxi Station


IMG_6137Pingxi 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.


IMG_6138Lots of bamboo ornaments displayed at the station


IMG_6139We 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.


IMG_6140Pingxi Train Station


IMG_6141They are also selling sky lanterns along the train track but not as busy as the one in Shifen station


IMG_6142 A small road leading to Pingxi old town


IMG_6143Some of the shops are closed already because it’s almost end of the day when we arrived here


IMG_6144Lots of food shops too


IMG_6145 Apparently, this sausage shop is popular that it was even featured in a local Taiwanese tv show


IMG_6146Well, 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


IMG_6147Walking further to check this town


IMG_6148The giant signage about this cheese pao is very inviting


IMG_6149So we decided to try the cheese pao


IMG_6150The color is very rich and the smell makes you bite it immediately


IMG_6151For 35 NTD, very nice and tasty.


IMG_6152Some more shops while walking back to the station


IMG_6153We decided to to go back to Ruifang before the sun sets.


IMG_6154Pingxi 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
IMG_6155We 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)


IMG_6156The bus stop at Jiufen


IMG_6157The entrance leading to Jiufen Old Street beside a 711 store which you will see easily upon alighting the bus.


IMG_6158Most of the shops are already closed


IMG_6159The stairway leading to A Mei Tea house, still lots of tourist


IMG_6160And there goes our last day at Jiufen, tomorrow we are travelling back to Taipei for our last leg of our Taiwan trip.



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