September 21, 2015
- Yehliu Geopark (野柳地質公園)
- Jiufen (九份)
Located to the north of Taipei are two destinations that warrant a visit for its beautiful rock formations (Yehliu) and historical gold mining town (Jiufen). From Taipei, one can take the local bus to either of these sights. From our hotel, we took the subway to the Taipei City Hall exit and then walked to the bus terminal. Here we took Bus 1815 towards Jinshan. It was about a 45-minute ride to the nearest stop (Gang Dong Road) to the geopark.
Admission to the geopark during our visit was $80 national Taiwan dollars per adult. The geopark contains unique rock formations that have been shaped by sea erosion. The first part of the park shows several mushroom rocks.
The second part shows rock formations that have been given names; one may see and line up for a photo opportunity with the iconic Queen’s Head.
Finally, the last part takes us over to the steep hill on the other side of the cape.
After spending a couple of hours exploring these feats of nature and enjoying the sea breeze, we went back into town and had lunch at one of the small seafood restaurants close by. The lady allowed us to choose the fish that we wanted to eat and of course, we had to try a bit of everything. Below the fish we tried was aptly called “Bao fish” as a tribute to the historical figure, Bao Zheng.
At this restaurant, we tried primarily seafood dishes: steamed shrimp, deep-fried cuttlefish, fried eggs with mollusks, and steamed Bao fish.
Overall, the seafood was very fresh and enjoyable.
Afterwards, we took a taxi to Jiufen (九份), a former god mining town that was once occupied by the Japanese. The taxi ride took about 80 minutes and only cost ~$1300 national Taiwan dollars– a very reasonable fare. The taxi took us to a bus stop that marked the beginning of the town. Below the bus stop was a temple.
Just up the slope is a 7-11 store that indicates where one would enter the winding streets of Jiufen. This town is very popular with the tourists, especially the Japanese, due to its resemblance to the bathhouse in Hayao Miyasaki’s 2001 film, Spirited Away. There are several places to try Taiwanese snacks and desserts as well as handicraft shops.
The winding streets take you to a grand vista overlooking the town and the surrounding greenery and also to the A Mei tea house of fame.
Tired after exploring the streets, we bought some boba tea and then waited for the next bus back to Taipei; it was about a 40-minute trip back.
For dinner, we headed to Din Tai Fung, the branch located outside of the Taipei 101. Din Tai Fung is an internationally recognized chain restaurant for its dumplings. It originated at this location in Taipei: Din Tai Fung, Xinyi Store, No194, Sec 2, Xinyi Road, Taipei City. (MRT Dongmen Station Exit 5)
I had tried Din Tai Fung in Hong Kong previously and enjoyed it. I was looking forward to trying the dumplings since Taipei is where the restaurant originated. I was slightly disappointed since the taste was blander than I expected; I think it may have been possibly due to the Taiwanese flavor that I am not used to. I found the dumplings in Hong Kong to be better tasting than the ones I tried in Taipei. Still, it is worth visiting, especially if you want to experience Taiwanese cuisine.
Guide to Taipei. (2017). Jiufen. Retrieved from https://guidetotaipei.com/visit/jiufen-%E4%B9%9D%E4%BB%BD
Yehliu Geopark. (2009). Yehliu Geopark. Retrieved from http://www.ylgeopark.org.tw/eng/info/YlIntroduction_en.aspx