Wednesday, March 26, 2014

[Taiwan Trip] Jiufen & Shifen

From what I read, Jiufen and Shifen are very popular for Singapore tourists. Too bad, it was raining the whole day we were there. Combined with cold wind, we were not so keen to stay outside for too long.

Excerpts from Wikipedia: Jiufen (literally means "nine portions") is a mountain area in Ruifang District of New Taipei City. During the first years of the Qing Dynasty, the village housed nine families, thus they would request "nine portions" every time shipments arrived from town. In 1893 gold was discovered in the area, resulting in gold rush. When the mine was shut, the place was forgotten until it's used in a movie. It's now packed with food stalls, cafes, tea houses and souvenir stores, and popular among tourists from Taipei.

Jiufen under the rain

Initially we planned to visit Shifen waterfall but it was unanimously cancelled due to the bad weather. We still went to Shifen Old Street, though, despite the drizzle.

The street is actually just a small section of the Pingxi branch line of TRA (Taiwan Railway Administration), lined up with shops selling lanterns, food and souvenirs. Occasionaly we heard a whistle before trains passed by.

The most famous activity here is the Sky Lanterns - visitors buy lanterns from one of the shops (NT150 for 1 color or NT200 for 4 colors), write some wishes and paint on them, lit and then release them to the sky. In the old days, the lanterns were used as a signaling system for those living in the rugged terrain to inform their families of their safety.

Shifen Old Street

Shifen Sky Lanterns

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