Day 2 of my Taiwan trip! I intended to wake up earlier but I think I ended up leaving the hostel after 8am. Ok, it really pays to ask around. I had an idea on what train to take going to Pingxi but I still asked the information to confirm my research. It was pretty easy. In the beginning. I decided to DIY this day trip because I saw a blog on how they did it. It’s doable, yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it because it’s super tiring! I ended up not enjoying Jiufen because I was already too tired, wet from the rain and just wanted to go home. Fresh na fresh ako pag-alis ko eh. Pero umuwi ako nang naka-flipflops. Hahahaha.
Anyway, so here’s my route for the day: Pingxi -> Shifen -> Houtong -> Jiufen. I was confident that I’d still have time to go to Keelung Night Market. But I was so wrong. I mean it wasn’t so bad, I was able to enjoy the day but a lot of mishaps happened and just wished that I was with someone. Also, I went on a Sunday so there was a lot of people. Yes, I did consider going on a weekday but I read that trains are less frequent on weekdays. Ok, you need to plan your trip carefully while taking the schedule into consideration. If you miss it, you’ll need to wait for the next schedule of the train to arrive.
Pingxi Old Street
My first stop was Pingxi Old Street. It’s second to the last stop on the Pingxi Line. (Jingtong is the last stop.) I decided to fly my sky lantern at Pingxi instead of Shifen because there are fewer people in Pingxi than Shifen. I tried looking for the historical houses but I got lost so I just decided to go back and fly my lantern. It was a little hard to enjoy it cause it was raining. Huhu.
This was an unexpected stop. I missed the stop at Shifen cause I was chatting with someone. Hahaha. Funny thing was, I already saw people at the side of the rail but I missed my chance to get off. I got off at the next station which was Dahua. A totally abandoned station. Ok, I wasn’t alone. To my surprise, there was a group of young people also taking photos. I’m not sure if they also forgot to get off at Shifen or they got off there on purpose to take photos. It wasn’t intentional on my part but since the next train won’t arrive until 30 minutes later, I decided to take this time to take photos on the railway. I was able to take some really good photos. It’s a good thing the rain stopped for a while as well.
Shifen Old Street & Shifen Waterfall
Opening hours: 9am-4:30pm (for the waterfall park)
Entrance fee: None
And I’m back at Shifen but at this time, it rained even harder. Huhu. Also, Shifen Waterfalls is actually 1.7km from the station. That was a really long walk! Well, at least I got to use my raincoat. I was ready to give up cause it was sooooo far, and I was walking under the rain. Shifen Waterfalls looks good but I have definitely seen better waterfalls. It’s good though that there was a lot of water since it was raining. After taking some photos, I decided to walk back to the Old Street and eat something. I haven’t had lunch! The wait till the next train was quite long so I had time.
And another mishap happened on the way to Houtong. The trains were so packed that it’s so hard to move so I couldn’t see what’s outside. Also, there was no announcement whatsoever on what station we’re currently in. I just relied on the schedule on my phone and matched it with the time. Thinking I was already at Houtong Station, I got off the train. When I realized that I was at the wrong station, it was too late to come back to the train as the doors are already closed. I got off at Sandiaoling Station this time. Funny, this was the same station where my friend got stuck for 1 1/2 hours back in June. Too bad I don’t have photos to prove it. Anyway, it was a really small station with a very kind guard. Even if he couldn’t speak English, he made me understand that there’s another train coming that will also make a stop at Houtong Station. I only had to wait 15 minutes because of that.
I did research it and it looks like this train is from Yilan and it also passes through Sandiaoling and Houtong Station. Thank goodness, or I would have waited for almost an hour till the next train on the Pingxi Line arrives. Anyway, because of this, I only stayed at Houtong Station and wasn’t able to go to Houtong Cat Village.
Even though I was only in Houtong for a limited amount of time, I definitely got excited by all the cat stuff I saw. They were even selling cat cookies. I will definitely visit Houtong again in the future and go to the Cat Village next time. I had to leave immediate cause it was already 5pm then and needed to get to Jiufen.
Jiufen Old Street
So from Houtong, it’s still Pingxi Line going to Ruifang. Once you get to Ruifang Station, you can take a bus to Jiufen. You need turn left, go to the other side and walk to the police station. It was quite a long wait for the bus and by the time it arrived, there were already a lot of people at the bus station. It was a direct bus to Jiufen so it only took a few minutes.
From the bus, I was able to see the view of the houses on Jiufen Old Street. It was super beautiful, the lights were amazing! Jiufen Old Street reminds me so much of Taipa Village in Macau, plus the houses and weather of Baguio. This is another place I would like to visit again – when it’s not raining and when I’m not too tired. I would love to see the sunset here.
I left Jiufen a little after 7pm. According to my friend, most stores close at 7pm. I took the bus from Jiufen to Taipei. There was a really long line and it was raining. At this point, I just wanted to go home. I was super tired. It was a really tiring Sunday.
I got hungry and went out after 10pm.There’s really nothing open after 10pm, even if my hostel is located on a main street. I ended up buying some food at 7-11, which really isn’t so bad.