Written by Cassey Soo
Taiwan may undoubtedly be one of my most visited foreign country in my life. This country is close to me at heart because I literally grew up watching Taiwanese dramas and singing along to their hit songs.
During my last visit with my family, I discovered a little historical gem called Jiu Fen old street九份老街 not too far from Taipei. It is easily accessible from the capital city and perfect for a day trip. You can also visit Shi Fen 十份 and Yehliu 野柳 which are along the way.
We hired a taxi for a day that took us around the sites. The driver was very nice as he shared a lot of local background and facts about Jiu Fen. He said the place was called Jiu (nine) Fen (share) because there were only 9 families who lived in that village during the time and they had to buy 9 shares of goods when returning to the village on behalf of the others.
However, we know for certain that it was an old gold mining town in the mountains originally built by the Japanese. It is now a maze of lanes and alleyways rich in history and culture. Many buildings in the town remain unchanged till this day. The unique architecture resembles the Japanese animated film spirited away which is definitely another reason to add this place to your bucket list.
Retro souvenir wooden shops and Japanese style cafes can be found along the narrow alleys. Walk along the alleys till you reach the top, and an amazing view of the ocean awaits you. Catch your breath at one of the tea houses rested on the hills to sip a cuppa while enjoying the cool breeze.
On a more personal approach, I would recommend you to search for a place that sells the famous dessert – Taro balls, and also the ghost mask museum that is filled with bizarre handcrafted masks. Do stay till the evening to experience the night view with red lanterns hanging across the whole town.
This trip is definitely one of the best ways to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.