Jiufen (Spirited Away)

I’ve always heard about this place and seen photos online. I wasn’t really that excited about the place but it did made me curious. The day that I was to see the old town of Jiufen came in a bit interesting for me. I originally wanted to see Shifen to fly a paper lantern, but the weather wasn’t agreeing. So when I saw this girl on Couchsurfing looking for companions  to Jiufen, I message her up to meet. After a few hours she responded on where we can meet up. I was like “Thank you God! you actually are going to make this birthday memorable for me!”. LMFAO. Well it wasn’t actually a date of some sort but meeting a cute girl was a reward enough for my birthday. Yep this was on my birthday.

The Old Street Jiufen

Jiufen’s main attraction (for non Spirited Away fans like me) are its century old streets. These streets are filled with stores selling interesting things. Food, tea houses, restaurants, Souvenirs, tourist spots of all sorts adorn the narrow streets filled up with people. The street has this Japanese feel of a market place, maybe because the town was developed further during the Japanese Gold rush era.

jiufen photo by Modale (used under CC)

There’s another class of tourist that goes to this old town, the anime fan tourists. As I learned from my new friend Jordana, some of the structures and places in Jiufen inspired the architecture and landscape of the movie Spirited Away. Without knowing I actually was impressed by the architecture of  the actual tea house where the author took inspiration from.

I guess if you are off for a trip to Jiufen, make sure that you come with a full wallet and an empty stomach. Going through the streets with rows and rows of awesome stores with free tastes will satisfy your cravings. Make sure to visit one of the coffee or tea houses that offers an amazing view of the port city of Keelung.

Jiufenphoto by arkiben used under CC

 

jiufenphoto by  ume-y used under CC

 

Jiufen Photo by Wei, Shi-Hang (used under CC)

How To Go To Jiufen

There are a few ways to get to Jiufen.

Option 1

Take the train to MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing station
Get on Bus 1062 that will take you straight to Jiufen
Bus fare is about NT$102

Option 2

Go to Taipei Main Station
Get on the Taipei Rail train to Ruifang
From Ruifang hop on a bus to Jiufen

jiufenphoto by andreakw (used under CC)

Travel Guide: Taiwan

It is one of the places that really does not exist and as Anthony Bourdain said it, It could have been how China (PRC) is today who has turned its back from its culture and tradition.

Taiwan actually can be considered as a country or a province of China depending on your nationality as some countries do recognize the Republic of China (Taiwan) over The People’s Republic of China (mainland) and some the other way around. For me that is actually one of the interesting things that I learned about Taiwan how difficult it could be and how wonderful it is to be living in Formosa, the beautiful island of Taiwan.

Visa Requirements

Taiwan has visa waiver programs for some countries depending on your countries diplomatic relationship with Taiwan. For Filipinos there are two ways on how you can be granted entry to Taiwan.

You can either get a Entry Permit through online or you may also apply for a visa through the Economic and Cultural Office of Taiwan.

You may visit these blogs for more information:

For other nationalities please visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs site to check how you can obtain yours or if you even need one.

Points of Interest

 Taipei

Transportation

Getting around Taiwan is relatively easy as the whole island can be accessed through its well planned High-Speed Rail (HSR), Light/Metro Rail and bus systems.

The island has two metro systems one in Taipei and the other in Kaoshung. Both cities are connected through their HSR so it’s actually like being in one big city.

You may buy a reloadable Easy Card  that you can use for trains and buses or buy a token each time you ride the train. You can also use your easy card in purchasing items from department stores, supermarkets and convenience stores. Check their website for other transport options that you can avail.

You can find the whole scope of usage for your Easy Card HERE

Accomodation

Though Taiwan is not a popular destination for backpacking, Taiwan especially Taipei hosts a lot of backpacking accomodation. There are popular booking sites where you can place reservations where some do not even ask for any reservations fee to secure a room!

Here are some accommodations that your favorite travel bloggers recommend.

Food

Food can easily be found just about anywhere you look at. Taipei has a lot of foreign chains that has established good presence so there’s always some sort of safety net that you can turn to. But if you are going to look for Taiwanese food there’s always the night market and you can find food just about anywhere. Food prices ranges at about NT 60-100  and up for a good meal

Itineraries