8 Things To Do In Jiufen – Day Trip Guide To Taiwan’s Real-Life “Spirited Away” Mountain Town

Things to do in Jiufen, Taiwan

Whether you consult a Taiwan local or fellow traveller who has visited the country, no list of things to do in Taipei is complete without a day trip to the nearby Jiufen. The idyllic mountain town is a perfect escape from hectic city life.

In this day trip guide, we’ve rounded up the best things to do and eat, plus affordable homestay options if the vibes enchant you so much that you decide to spend the night.

1. Stroll through the alleys of Jiufen Old Street

Image adapted from: @pickytwinny via Instagram, Pinterest

See the site which is widely regarded as the inspo for Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, IRL. Be prepared to climb up many flights of stairs, since it is a mountain town. The terraced structure has plenty of rest stops though, so fret not about stamina issues. 

Image credit: @jadeluangsay via Instagram, Pinterest

You can always hit pause and recharge at the various alleyways, which are lined with picturesque photo spots, as well as places to eat and shop. Commemorate your trip by picking up some Studio Ghibli-themed souvenirs of characters like Totoro and No Face.

Image adapted from: @mdeatstheworld & @stampsandsouvenirs via Instagram

There are plenty of street food kiosks along Jiufen Old Street. Snack on Taiwanese staples like taro balls cooked in sweet soup – which is like a dessert version of BBT with taro toppings, XXL fried chicken, and peanut ice cream rolls with coriander – a quirky combo that somehow works.

Jiufen Old Street
Google Reviews
Jishan St, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
Opening Hours:
Monday 10:00 AM - 08:00 PM Show More Timings
Contact Information

2. Savour traditional brews in cosy tea houses with coastal views

Image credit: Artist Teahouse

Let time slow down as you savour a freshly brewed cup of traditional Chinese tea at one of the many tea houses situated atop Jiufen. The view is 10/10, with al fresco seating granting mountain and coastal scenery.

Tea tasting set at Jioufen Teahouse with a baked turtle-shaped cake (TWD120, ~S$5.23), not to be confused with Singapore’s ang ku kueh which is steamed.
Image credit: Devane Sharma via Google Maps

Take your pick of tea and be served a brewing set at your table with all the bells and whistles; from an earthen teapot to various accessories to steep the tea leaves in, for optimal infusion.

Depending on which teahouse you go to, you can also accompany your brews with tea cakes, tableside nibbles like steamed chestnuts and tea-soaked plums, and more hearty desserts like oolong cheesecakes.

Tip: Book a voucher for Jioufen Teahouse and Artist Teahouse to save up to 15% off.

Jioufen Teahouse
Address: 142 Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
Opening hours: Sun-Fri 12pm-7pm | Sat 12pm-8pm
Contact: +886 2 2496 9056

Artist Teahouse
Address: 308 Chingbian Road, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
Opening hours: 1.30pm-8pm, Daily
Contact: +886 2 2496 7767

Bonus: Head to the vantage point nearby for an unblocked view of the sunset

If you’re gunning to see a golden sunset, make sure to check what the estimated sunset time is on the day of your visit. Depending on the season, it ranges from around 5pm-6.45pm. While the Spirited Away-esque buildings are IG-worthy, you’ll want to venture to the summit of Jiufen for an unblocked vantage point. 

Image credit: Jennifer Kecl via Flickr

The cotton candy skies will be well worth the trek. But if you’re a little knackered, you can venture into Jioufen Teahouse as a rest stop, as it’s perched atop Jiufen and offers a panoramic view of the sun descending past the mountains.

3. Fuel up on hearty Chinese cuisine & Jiufen specialties from S$1.31

Image credit: Peter Loh via Google Maps

Jiufen has plenty of quaint eateries where you can recharge. They have that cosy home-cooking vibe in no-frills settings, with down-to-earth prices to match.

For instance, over at Jiufen Old Noodle Shop you can get hearty soup from TWD30 (~S$1.31) and rice or noodle mains from TWD40 (~S$1.75).

Address: 45 Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10.30am-7.30pm | Sat-Sun 10.30am-8.30pm
Contact: +886 2 2497 6316

Image credit: Ning Ning via Google Maps

You can’t leave without trying an authentic Jiufen staple, so head to Jin Zhi Hong Zao Rou Yuan. Their specialty is a vegetarian red yeast meatball (TWD45, ~S$1.96), a unique chewy concoction made with red yeast rice – said to be rich in nutrients that can curb ailments such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

While you’re there, TWD65 (S$2.84) will get you a sampling bowl of homemade meatballs in 5 different flavours: original pork, bamboo charcoal, cod, squid, and kimchi.  

Address: 63 Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan, 224
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-8pm | Sat-Sun 9am-10pm
Contact: +886 2 249 69265

4. Embark on a beginner-friendly 1.5-hour hike up Mount Keelung

Image credit: @tinygiftious via Instagram

If scaling Jiufen piques your appetite for a fuller hike, you can take on the Mount Keelung trail. This beginner-friendly 4.5km paved route starts from the summit of Jiufen town, and takes about 1.5 hours to complete.

Image credit: 黃淑絹 via Google Maps

For those who want to preserve their energy without sacrificing stellar views, there’s an Eastern Peak on Mount Keelung which is just 30 minutes (2.4km) away from Jiufen’s starting point. Just think NAPFA 2.4km run, but on an incline and with views way nicer than your school’s soccer field.

Location: Mount Keelung on Google Maps

5. Spend the night at scenic homestays from under S$50/night

Image credit: Jiufen Corner Inn

You can comb through the Jiufen area in about 2-3 hours. But if you want to dedicate more time to checking out even more retail stalls and eateries, you can spend the night in homely and affordable accommodations from less than S$50/night.

An economical yet highly rated choice would be the Corner Inn B&B, with a cutesy exterior with colourful pastel windows.

Image credit: Jiufen Corner Inn

The cheery themed rooms make it a great spot for family vacays. Plus, communal amenities like a fridge, microwave, and hot water dispenser mean you can stock up on food from the nearby 7-Eleven and Family Mart and have a feast any time of day.

Corner Inn B&B
Admission Fee
From S$48/night
Google Reviews
224, Taiwan, New Taipei City, Ruifang District, 坑尾巷1號
Opening Hours:
Monday 08:30 AM - 08:30 PM Show More Timings
Contact Information

Image credit: Trip.com

If you’re looking to splurge a little more, go for Good Time B&B. Its cobblestone balcony and white facade make for a faux Santorini vibe. And at a little over S$100 per night, this is a good substitute till we can fly to Greece forrealz.

Image credit: Trip.com

Expect rooms that are modern and uber spacious, with that stunning Jiufen scenery to wake up to. The homestay also has a communal area where you can chill out over some complimentary tea, and potentially meet some new traveller friends.

Admission Fee
From S$116/night
Google Reviews
No. 39號之2號, Lunding Rd, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
Opening Hours:
Monday Open 24 Hours Show More Timings
Contact Information

6. Go on a night walk to learn about Jiufen’s gold mining history

Image adapted from: Home Run Taiwan, 郭耕汎 via Google Maps

Before it became a tourist attraction, Jiufen was a famed gold mining town. Learn more about its rich history through the Jiufen Gold Ore Museum’s guided walks and interactive demos. 

Highlights include a simulated gold mine where you can immerse yourself in the working environment of miners back in the day. There’s an actual mine cart that’s more than 80 years old – you can roll it on the track and climb into it to snap a few pics.

Expect an impressive display of close to 1,000 raw and untreated ores, in all shapes and sizes.
Image credit: Home Run Taiwan

Image adapted from: Fuming Chang & Angela Yeh via Google Maps

In this hands-on experience, you’ll be able to try your hand at panning for gold. Thereafter, there’ll be a demo on gold alchemy, including the washing and treating of ores to make them market-ready. 

The museum is open till midnight daily, perfect for visitors staying overnight in Jiufen who need a late-night activity after all the shops and eateries close.

Jiufen Goldore Museum
Admission Fee
TWD100/pax (S$4.35)
Google Reviews
224, Taiwan, New Taipei City, Ruifang District, 石碑巷66號
Opening Hours:
Monday Open 24 Hours Show More Timings
Contact Information

7. Visit a film theatre that has been preserved since wartime

Image adapted from: 高敏郎 (阿郎) & 陳旻祥 via Google Maps

Movie buffs and museum lovers alike will appreciate a trip to the Shengping Theatre. It’s the oldest theatre in Northern Taiwan, as well as the biggest theatre that was active during Taiwan’s Japanese Colonial Era.

Image credit: 盧仔仔 via Google Maps

Besides getting to explore the space which provided entertainment to folks from generations ago, you can also check out exhibits here like old-timey film equipment and retro movie posters. There’s even a makeshift concession stand where you can see movie snacks and drinks of yesteryear – though not actually edible, just a heads up.

Shengping Theater
Admission Fee
Free admission
Google Reviews
No. 137, Qingbian Rd, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
Opening Hours:
Monday 09:30 AM - 05:00 PM Show More Timings
Contact Information

8. Check out award-winning paper craftsmanship at a kite museum

Image credit: Asia Yo

Whether you’re a regular kite-flyer at Marina Barrage or have only seen kites from afar, the Jiufen Kite Museum has next-level creations that will make you question how they were crafted from just paper, string, and a couple of sticks. It’s like origami kicked up several notches, as these pieces can actually take flight.

Designs range from small and dainty butterflies and dragonflies to huge, majestic dragons and falcons. Besides the craftsmanship of folding these shapes to ensure aerial functionality, the masterful painting skills will also leave you in awe.

Image credit: Asia Yo

If you’d like to bring some home as a souvenir, a petite kite “charm” of sorts that’s meant to be tied to the back of one’s bicycle will cost TWD100 (~S$4.37), whereas the large scale creations cost up to TWD2,000 (~S$87.45).

Jiufen Kite Museum
Admission Fee
TWD150/adult (~S$6.56), TWD100/adult (~S$4.37)
Google Reviews
224, Taiwan, New Taipei City, Ruifang District, 坑尾巷20號
Opening Hours:
Monday 09:30 AM - 05:00 PM Show More Timings
Contact Information

How to go to Jiufen from Taipei

Bus – S$3.91/pax for direct express route

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Bus 965 is a direct express bus, meaning you’ll be on a straight journey from Taipei city centre to Jiufen without having to stress about transfers. This is the more economical method, suitable for small travel parties and folks who aren’t lugging around that much barang-barang

It takes about 50 minutes from Ximen MRT station to Jiufen Old Street bus station, and costs TWD90/pax (S$3.91). Bus 965 operates 6am-9pm on weekdays and 7am-9pm on weekends. The downside is that the buses only come by around once every 40-50 mins, so make sure to check the bus schedule beforehand to avoid long waiting times.

Private vehicle charter – From S$56.60 for a 5-seater

Image credit: Huichen via Klook 

Although pricier, this is a good option for larger groups and those travelling with a lot of luggage. This is especially so if you have young children or elderly in your party, since the vehicles are pram- and wheelchair-friendly. It’s roughly a 40-minute drive from Taipei city centre to Jiufen, and costs S$56.49 per 1-way trip for a 5-seater and S$73.85 for a 9-seater.

This private vehicle charter offers 24-hour service, so book a timing that suits your schedule. You can also set your pick-up point as the hotel you’re staying at, so you can start your outing immediately without having to travel to a designated meeting spot.

Bonus: Take a detour to Shifen to see a sky full of flying lanterns

Image credit: Klook

For those chartering a private vehicle, make the most of your full-day booking by taking a detour from Jiufen to the nearby Shifen – about a 35-minute drive away. You’ll get to witness a Taiwanese tradition that people from all around the world flock to Shifen for: the release of paper sky lanterns.

It’s said that wishes will be granted when you pen them onto the lanterns and let them take flight. Lanterns cost around TWD100-150 (~S$4.35-S$6.52) each. But to help reduce the carbon footprint, you can simply admire the sights of floating lanterns à la Rapunzel and Flynn in Tangled.

Address: Shifen Street, Pingxi District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 226

Day trip guide to Jiufen, Taiwan

Taipei is known for being a food, shopping, and cultural hotspot. And not too far away is Jiufen, located East of the capital. It’s well worth slotting into your itinerary for a quieter slice of paradise, contrasting the lively bustle of the city.

You can up your steps count, take in some awe-inspiring scenery and architecture, and engage in the same feasting and retail therapy that any Taiwan trip would have no lack of. The best part is being able to let go of your stresses in life, whether you’re traversing up mountains, sipping on a traditionally steeped cuppa tea, or snoozing in a quaint bed and breakfast.

More travel guides to ignite your wanderlust:

Cover image adapted from: @pickytwinny via Instagram, Trip.com, 黃淑絹 via Google Maps

Renae Cheng

I love food, dance, writing, and writing about food and dance.

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