My Taiwan posts aren’t in order as well, so pleaseeeee pardon me. Will do a consolidated post once I’m done with all of them.
So I went on a trip to Taiwan with my family and Jiufen, Shifen and Pingxi was just one place I really want to go because of the old streets and train tracks.
So early in the morning, we set off to Taipei Main Station and bought tickets for the trains (台铁）to head out of Ruifang, and then a day pass for the Pingxi line, which covers all the places like Shifen and PIngxi.
The trains has got timings for each stations & I happened to head to the counter for Japanese and saw the timetable, so I took a picture for future reference.
You guys can use this as a reference but I’m not sure if it changes on a daily basis.
So we happened to be in Taiwan on during their Dragonboat festival, which means crazy crowd again! >_< (I must have been really lucky to be bumping into the holidays, be it in Taiwan or Korea. But I really hate crowds. I have enough of them in Singapore. So yes, the whole day we were just really squeezing into trains…)
We took the train from Taipei to Ruifang, which is about an hour, and then from Ruifang, change to another platform to catch the train for the Pingxi line. So long you have the PIngxi line ticket, you can hop on and off at any station you want.
Our first stop was Pingxi~ One thing about all these stations, they are damn famous for sky lanterns. Be it at Pingxi or Shifen, we have stores and stores and more stores selling sky lanterns. My mother didn’t want to have any T^T because she say she has done it too many times. Oh well~ So we only saw people flying sky lanterns.
The more famous thing would be the old streets. So they have old vendors selling food and drinks and so on, though everyone is selling almost the same thing. I like them as how it is because it’s very simple, and those are very old buildings, no high rise building, a different feeling altogether. Nostalgia I would say. We happened to pop into one of the stores selling all sorts of old candies and snacks. I bought tonnes of stuffs there and I spent less than S$50 on them.
Basically you can roam on the train tracks until the next train comes by. Which usually is about 30mins to 1hour later. We took a look at the train timetable I took a picture of and realised we have about an hour plus before the train stops by the train station, so we just slowly down the old streets, grab some food and walked along and enjoyed the simplicity.
Her ice cream was so nice! Basically it’s peanut bits & ice cream wrapped in Popiah (Spring roll) skin. A very cooling dish for such a scorching day. It’s a block of peanut and they use a scraper to scrape the peanut off to get the bits. It’s really cool. I’ve only seen the whole block of peanut and the tool separately. Didn’t know those two are related. HA!
After Pingxi, we hopped onto the train again and headed to Shifen. Shifen was pretty similar, except it has a bridge, and most people here would also want to catch the waterfalls, which is really kinda far away. But they have cars over there that brings you right to the water falls.
One thing about all these places, my mother just have lots of things to buy, mostly to do with food. Ha! So we just buy and buy and buy. After the entire day, we felt like we went to the supermarket for some groceries, all of us were just bagging tonnes of stuffs back to the apartment.
& after Shifen, we headed off to Ruifang, where we took a cab up to Jiufen. We wanted to catch the bus up, & experience bus taking in Taiwan, but the bus was too full it doesn’t even want to stop at the bus stop. Tried to hail some taxi and was rejected by all of them because they say the traffic was jammed all the way up & suggested that we take the cab from the designated taxi stand. So we did, and it was a great option I feel. The price is fixed, which means whether the road is jammed or not, we would not be paying extra. & we wouldn’t be ripped off by the cab drivers.
Jiufen is pretty much raining almost all year round. We were really really lucky to catch the beautiful Jiufen without the rain. It would be really horrible if it rained. Been there once when it rained and I was all soaked just while trying to get my customers to get up the coach.
& the view on Jiufen when it isn’t raining, plain magnificent. We were really lucky to catch such a beautiful view!
Happen to came by a dessert stall selling the thing Jiufen is famous for: Yam balls! So we headed in for some ice and yam balls. Great dessert, great view! So pretty!
One thing about Jiufen I really dislike would be their customer service. Being a tourist attraction, this place has some really baddddd customer service. Was sitting in a store wanting to order some food, asked for recommendation but was cold shoulders. The sales people were also pretty rude to us when it comes to asking where the things are, and even taking orders.
Taiwan is known for their hospitality, in fact, all the places I’ve been have really great hospitality and they are all really really friendly and helpful. Jiufen disappointed us in that though…
But despite that, it was definitely a great day!
Had some drama on the way back to Taipei when a kid had his hand stuck on the door gap. Thank God he was alright PHEWWW. My heart almost came out. I bet his parents too. But the service recovery & train station staffs were sooooo efficient. The moment we reached the station where the kid can get medical attention, the staffs were already there waiting. My mother said, if it’s in Singapore, you will probably see the staffs strolling. Oh well…
& yeap! Fruitful day for our tummy, but our pockets were suffering ~.~