While I was out on my own in Taipei, my friend contacted and let me know that a friend of his wanted to show us around Jiufen and Keelung. This was great news because Jiufen was my top destination for this trip but I was a little concerned about getting around since it’s out in the mountains and I wasn’t too sure how to get there.
We met with Chi early in the morning the next day and took a bus to Jiufen. I was a little worried because the weather was showing that it was going to rain the entire day. Chi reassured me though that it almost always rains in Jiufen and it’s “not really as bad as you think”. She was right, despite the rain, it wasn’t too bad so I wouldn’t let that stop you if wanted to go there.
Our first stop was the Gold Museum. Other than being known for being an inspired location from “Spirited Away”, Jiufen was known to be a gold mining city back in the day. The museum itself was pretty interesting and had a lot of cool displays.
When we got out, it had begun to rain again. However, I didn’t mind it because the clouds and mist the rain brought out gave Jiufen a mysterious atmosphere. By the time we got to the top of the area, it gave this feeling that we were above the clouds, in some mysterious land surrounded by mountains. I took tons of photos, the ever-changing clouds made it feel like I was in a new area every time.
Jiufen is also well-known for its teahouses. While it was a little expensive, I felt that chatting and drinking tea while looking at the great view from the window would be a great way to pass the time. It was worth every penny; just relaxing and watching the sky has become one of my favorite travel memories.
After we rested, we checked out the rest of Jiufen, which is an area that has lots of tiny knickknack shops, souvenirs and food. It’s pretty crowded so you will be fighting crowds trying to get in to places. If you like shopping and eating, you will enjoy it here but I was pretty much done after eating a few things to eat. There is a lot of stuff but I hate being in crowded places.
Finally we decided to head to Keelung. We were supposed to go to another area but because we had relaxed in Jiufen for so long, we wouldn’t have enough time . I didn’t mind. We continued our day by visiting the famous Keelung market and getting bullied by Chi and her friend to eat some stinky tofu, a local delicacy. Honestly, it tasted normal and because my nose is usually stuffy, the smell wasn’t bothering me much. Needless to say, the two were bored at my reaction.
After hanging around and eating, it was time to head back to Taipei. We finally parted ways with Chi and I was a little sad; she was great to hang around with and was very helpful in showing us places most people wouldn’t be aware of. Taiwanese people are so friendly! I could see what my friends who had visited Taiwan before were talking about after today.
Jiufen was definitely the highlight of my trip to Taiwan. Although it is crowded and will probably take you most of the day to explore, it is worth it. Don’t let the rain drive you away either.