Tip: If you have the time, spend at least one night in Jiufen rather than visiting on a day trip.

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If you’re looking for the best things to do in Jiufen, one of the best day trips from Taipei, I’ve got you covered.

Nested in the hills by the sea, you’ll find the charming town of Jiufen (九份 or Jioufen). Located just 1 hour from Taiwan’s capital city Taipei, it is easily one of the most popular day trip locations in Taiwan. The town, which was formerly a gold mining town, is now a cultural hub. Today is Jiufen is known for its rich history, famous tea houses, bustling (and very busy) Old Street, and beautiful nature.

The town received a lot of its fame due to its resemblance to the town in Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away, although it has been confirmed that Jiufen was not actually the inspiration for the film.

Sunset views over Jiufen, Taiwan
Sunset views over Jiufen, Taiwan

If you’re planning a trip to Taiwan, the charming Jiufen should absolutely be on your itinerary (especially if you love hiking and good food).

I recommend spending at least a night but here are some popular tours in and around Taipei if you are in a rush:

Popular tours to Jiufen

Things to know before visiting Taiwan

  • Buy an EasyCard for easy access to Taiwan’s public transportation system. Otherwise, make sure to have exact change when boarding buses. You will need to buy and reload your EasyCard with cash only. This can be done at any train station, 7/11 or FamilyMart.
  • It rains often in Jiufen. Plan accordingly with an umbrella and/or rain jacket, especially if you plan on hiking.
  • The Old Street get super busy! Visit early to avoid the day trippers.
  • There are lots of stairs in Jiufen!
  • Many locals do not speak English and you will find menus that are only in Mandarin Chinese. Download a translator app to help you navigate these situations. Basic phrases in Mandarin also go a long way!
  • Anytime you shop (even at 7/11) you will get a receipt with a barcode. Locals can use this to enter a lottery. Non-locals cannot enter, but you can donate your receipt to local volunteer organizations. Look out for collection bins in the city.
  • Most food stalls on the Old Street are cash only. You can find an ATM in the 7/11.
  • Google Maps is not a reliable source for bus schedules, but works well for both bus and metro route planning in the bigger cities or for returning to Taipei.
  • The Taro soft serve ice cream from FamilyMart is delicious. Eat it everyday. Thank me later!
Make sure to buy and load an Easy Card
Make sure to buy and load an Easy Card
The best taro ice cream from FamilyMart
The best taro ice cream from FamilyMart

Must-do activities in Jiufen

Jiufen is an awesome mountain town with tons of things to do for any type of traveler. Whether you’re looking to wander and shop along the tiny winding roads of the city, try local cuisine, or escape into the nearby mountains, this list covers it all.

Let’s dive into all of the best things to do in this amazing city in Taiwan.

Exploring Jiufen Old Street
Exploring Jiufen Old Street
Jiufen at night
Jiufen at night

Stroll and eat along Jiufen’s Old Street

If you do only one thing while visiting Jiufen, it should be a walk along the famous Jiufen Old Street. The Old Street, which is filled to the brim with tourists where day of the week, is filled with food vendors, shops, and souvenirs.

The Jiufen Old Street is a great place to try local snacks (like Taro Balls and Pineapple Cake) and to buy souvenirs.

The Old Street is a must-visit, but be prepared for lots of other tourists!

You can get lost snapping photos as you wander through the tiny alleys that form a maze through the sleepy, often rainy, town of Jiufen.

Here are a few of my favorite snacks to try:

  • Peanut ice cream roll
  • Black sesame buns
  • Taro balls (served over ice and beans)
  • Fried squid
  • Glutinous rice cakes
Peanut ice cream roll
Peanut ice cream roll
Black sesame buns are a must
Black sesame buns are a must

Hike Teapot Mountain and Keelung Mountain 

Jiufen is an amazing hiking destination, with hikes for all fitness levels. There are a few hikes, like Teapot Mountain and Keelung Mountain, that are super popular and easily accessible from the town center.

Both Teapot Mountain and Keelung Mountain the 2-3 hours to complete, with incredible views overlooking the city.

The trailhead for Keelung Mountain starts right in the center of town, by the Old Street, making it super accessible. It is a relatively steep hike but well maintained.

To get to Teapot Mountain on the other hand, you’ll need to drive a bit outside of town. If you have your own rental car, this is an option. Otherwise, you can hop on the local bus (just double check the bus schedule). Your Easy Card will come in handy for riding the bus in Jiufen, and throughout Taiwan.

Views from Teapot Mountain
Views from Teapot Mountain
There are so many hiking trails in and near Jiufen
There are so many hiking trails in and near Jiufen

Enjoy a tea ceremony at Amei Tea House 

You cannot visit Jiufen without enjoying a traditional tea ceremony. We chose Amei Tea House, but you can’t really go wrong. Expect to pay around $10 USD for tea only, with a few small snacks. It’s not the cheapest, especially for Taiwan, but it is well worth it! Just make sure to ask for a table by the window for an amazing view over the city below.

The tea ceremony itself is super fun. The hosts will teach and demonstrate the way to prepare the tea, usually oolong tea. Then you are own your own to prepare, pour and sip your tea at your own leisure. After your ceremony you can purchase tea and teapots as souvenirs, or at one of the many shops along the Old Street.

There is often a wait, so plan accordingly. If possible, try to visit on a weekday rather than a weekend. Waits on the weekend can be 1-2 hours long. We visited on a Monday and were lucky enough to not have to wait at all.

A tea ceremony at the famous Amei Tea House
A tea ceremony at the famous Amei Tea House
Enjoying a traditional tea ceremony
Enjoying a traditional tea ceremony

Try taro balls 

If you are visiting Jiufen, you need to head to A GAN YI TARO BALL to try their famous taro balls. While this dessert can actually be found all over Taiwan, this shop is one of the most famous. You can usually expect a line, so come prepared.

The taro balls are made from mashing up taro (and sometimes other veggies like sweet potato) with water and flour into delicious chewy balls. The taro balls are then served with a syrup with either hot or iced water. It is typical to serve taro balls with red beans.

We enjoyed our taro balls iced with red beans. It was definitely a unique combo for me, but surprisingly delicious!

Famous Taro Balls in Jiufen (served over ice and red beans)
Famous Taro Balls in Jiufen (served over ice and red beans)
You have option to get the Taro Balls served hot or iced (we chose iced)
You have option to get the Taro Balls served hot or iced (we chose iced)

You may also like…

21 Best Things to do in Taipei

Where to eat in Jiufen (my favorite Jiufen restaurants!)

There are tons of great places to eat at in Jiufen. Here are a few that I recommend:

  • Pork Buns and Iced Mango Dessert (we ate here 3 times while in Juifen)
  • A GAN YI TARO BALL
  • A-MEI Tea House
  • A-Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll
  • Niandai Kezhan Beef Noodle Restaurant
  • 九份星塵景觀餐廳 (make sure to order the whole roast chicken
Soup dumplings from Pork Buns and Iced Mango Dessert
Soup dumplings from Pork Buns and Iced Mango Dessert
Whole roast chicken from 
九份星塵景觀餐廳
Whole roast chicken from
九份星塵景觀餐廳

Where to stay in Jiufen

While visiting Jiufen on a day trip is definitely possible and easy to do, but if you have time I suggest spending 1-2 nights. Having a few nights in Jiufen will give you more time to do the many hikes in the area, and visit the Old Street when it is less crowded.

We stayed at a beautiful, centrally located hotel: H& 九份龍門客棧 l 近老街 l 含早餐

Breakfast views at H& 九份龍門客棧 l 近老街 l 含早餐
Breakfast views at H& 九份龍門客棧 l 近老街 l 含早餐
Common area at the hotel in Jiufen
Common area at the hotel in Jiufen

Some other top-rated hotels in Jiufen:

Getting to Jiufen from Taipei

Jiufen is located just an hour northeast of Taipei and can be reached in as little as one hour. From Taipei Main Station you can catch a local train to Ruifeng Station for around $1.25 USD.

The local train takes about 45 minutes and tickets do not need to be booked in advance. Once you arrive at the station you can take either a bus or taxi to reach Jiufen in about 10-15 minutes. 

Best time to visit Jiufen

While you can technically visit Taipei year-round, the best time to visit is in the spring (March-May) or fall (late September-October). Summers tend to be hot and humid, while winters are typically very rainy.

We visited in mid October and had rainy, but still overall good weather.

TRAVEL TIPS

🏘️ Book your accommodation

Booking.com will help you to book accommodation in advance and check availability

✈️ Book your flight in advance

To find the cheapest flight options, you can use WayAway and find the most suitable option for you

🧾 Get your tickets and tours

with Viator and GetYourGuide to get the most out of your journey

Visiting Taiwan? Here are some other articles to check out:

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