Santorini of Taiwan - Jiu Fen and Jinguashi

Known as the Santorini of Taiwan, 九份 (Jiu Fen), is a famous attraction among tourists and even the locals! Regardless weekdays or weekends, 九份老街 (Jiu Fen Old Street) is always bustling with people and activities, it felt like Chinatown during Chinese New Year.

Look, I'm not kidding. Even the decors looked as if it's Chinese New Year.

Getting There
忠孝復興 (Zhong Xiao Fu Xing) MRT (Blue Line), Exit 1
Take Bus 1062

Getting there is pretty simple, you can take a direct bus or you can engage a driver to bring you around Jiu Fen, 十份 (Shi Fen) and 金瓜石 (Jinguashi) since its around the same area.

Greeted by this awe-inspiring view upon alighting from the bus. 

The bus doesn't drop you at the entrance of Jiu Fen Old Street, so you got to walk uphill for a bit. 

Spot this sign, simply turn in and that's the old street.

Jiu Fen Old Street boasts a variety of interesting souvenir shops, teahouses and eateries. I don't think anyone will leave this place with an empty stomach or empty-handed.

Taiwanese are pretty into honey cakes. Quite a pity that I didn't get to try any.

Ginormous pot of tea eggs.

阿妹茶楼 (A Mei Teahouse) is one of the more popular and famous teahouse in Jiu Fen overlooking the magnificent sea while you indulge in the art of tea.

Credits x

Credits x

Nope, I did not patronise as I'm not a fan of traditional teas. 

Balls balls balls, so many different kind of balls. I still prefer Singapore's fishballs and meatballs :)
The famous 'balls' place at Jiu Fen is 張記傳統魚丸 (Zhang Ji Traditional Fishball).

If you're a fan of bak kwa, you have to try this pork paper. It's like chips version of bak kwa with almond bits. It's not as oily but definitely more addictive and less sinful. 

The pork paper comes in packets and boxes which is great for souvenirs. And not forgetting it comes in different flavours like original, black pepper, seaweed, sesame etc. There are various brands of pork paper and you can get it from tourist attractions like Jiu Fen and Tamsui. There's a couple of souvenir shops at Taipei Main Station that carry the product and certain supermarkets. 
Going through one of the many alleys and lanes to look for other good eats.

We came across the iconic dessert of Jiu Fen, 赖阿婆芋圆 (Lai Ah Po Taro Balls), which is Taiwanese taro ball dessert.

5, Shùqí Road, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224

The taro, sweet potato and matcha balls are all handmade on the spot.

Opted for the cold version which comes with the flavoured balls and red bean. I don't get all the ravings about this. The balls are tasteless, it tasted like the tapioca flour cubes that you get in bo bo cha cha. And the soup tasted like diluted red bean soup. This is totally not worth the hype.

If you're a fan, you can purchase the uncooked balls from them.

Apparently there is another popular stall, 阿柑姨芋圆 (Ah Gan Yi Taro Balls), which my sister claimed that it tasted better and you get to enjoy the sea view when dining in the shop.

Another iconic dessert place in Jiu Fen is 阿珠雪在燒 (Ah Zhu Peanut Ice-cream Roll).

If I'm not wrong, the ice-cream roll hype comes from this particular stall at Jiu Fen.
But this wasn't as satisfying as the one I had at Tong Hua Night Market. For the same price, this only comes with 2 balls of ice-cream and the peanut shavings wasn't as generous. Due to it's popularity, this particular stall became pretty commercialised. By looking at the plate and setup you should know that they encourage photo taking.

There were also a couple of similar stalls that sell the ice-cream roll but I guess business was pretty bad for them.

The shops in Jiu Fen are pretty similar which only took us a couple of hours to explore. Then we headed to 金瓜石 (Jinguashi) after, the district that housed one of the world's largest gold and copper mines that experience a boost in tourism in the recent years.

Known for its exceptionally breathtaking scenery and its abundance of historical relics, Jinguashi was once a popular mining town adjacent to Jiufen.

Just a few bus stops away from Jiu Fen is the 黄金博物园区 (Gold Ecological Park), located in the mountain town of Jinguashi. There, you can find Museum of Gold which shares the history about gold mining industry and an insightful look into the life of a miner.

The tour of Jinguashi is only about to begin! If you don't have a personal driver, hop onto Bus 891 beside the Gold Ecological Park which brings you to a couple of attractions around Jinguashi:
  • 勸濟堂 (Cyuanji Temple)
  • 黃金瀑布 (Golden Waterfall)
  • 水湳洞精炼厂 (Shui Nan Dong Smelter)
  • 阴阳海 (Yin Yang Sea)

First up, 勸濟堂 (Cyuanji Temple) also known as 祈堂廟 (Qitang Temple).

53, Qitang Rd, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224

Built in 1896, Cyuanji Temple is one of the three temples in Jinguashi, alongside Jinfu Temple and Baomin Temple. The temple worships to 4 main gods, 关羽 (Guan Yu),  吕洞宾 (Lu Dong Bin), 灶君 (Zhao Jun, Kitchen God) and 王珊 (Wang Shan).

At the back of the temple, there is a huge bronze Guan Gong statue which is the largest bronze Guan Yu statue in Southeast Asia.

Credits x

Credits x

Our next attraction is a 5 minutes drive away from Cyuanji Temple, 黃金瀑布 (Golden Waterfall). Isn't it too good to be true that real gold are flowing from these falls? Due to the abundance of heavy metal elements deposited in the riverbed, this resulted in a beautiful gold coloured water. Afterall, we are not that lucky to have gold falling from the sky. But the water didn't seemed to have any hue of gold to me. 

Located beside the northern coastal road in the Gold Ecological Park region, the 阴阳海 (Yin Yang Sea) reflects the colour of the sky with a mysterious patch of yellow hue at the side. The dual colour of the bay brings to mind the ancient Chinese philosophy of yin and yang. According to the locals, this strange scene is caused by the chemical runoff from the nearby mining activities in the past. Yet, even many years after the closure of all mines, the unusual hue of the water remains. After examination, it appears to be the result of the insoluble floating iron ions from the heavy concentration of pyrite (also known as Fool's Gold) in the area.

Opposite Yin Yang Sea is the 水湳洞精炼厂 (Shui Nan Dong Smelter) also known as 十三層 (Thirteen Levels).

Established during the Japanese Colonial Era, Shui Nan Dong Smelter which was built to treat gold and copper ores is the largest in Asia at the time. The smelter structure is built into a hillside, whose tiered construction is what lends it the name, 十三層遺址 (The Remains of the 13 Levels).

The place looked more magnificent from a different angle. 
Credits x

If you are looking to escape from the metropolitan Taipei City and experience something different, Jiu Fen and Jinguashi is ideal for a quick day trip.



Post a Comment


Top ↑