Continuation from Taipei Day 1: AirAsia, Star Hostel & Ningxia Road Night Market
At 8am, we had our free breakfast at Star Cafe (a beautiful dining place inside Star Hostel – our accommodation in Taipei).
Our breakfast: Dan bing 蛋餅 (Taiwanese egg pancake/crepe), bun and fruits (apple, watermelon and liu ding). It’s here that we learned a new fruit call liu ding. I thought it’ll taste sour and acidic but turns out really pleasant (sweet and taste a lil’ like pomelo).
This was our overnight fan tuan which we bought from Ningxia Road Night Market on day 1. Microwaved it so we can have it for our breakfast.
After breakfast, we passed our room key to the front desk as they will move our luggage from Friend Bunk Room to Double Room. We head out at 10am and our first stop was at Taipei Main Station MRT to buy EasyCard (like HK’s Octopus card, London’s Oyster card, Seoul’s T-Money).
We went to the Taipei Main Station MRT’s information counter to buy EasyCard but was told if we buy from them, the card is not refundable. They told us to go to EasyCard Customer Service Center just outside (around the corner) to buy refundable EasyCard.
Our EasyCards. The top card is for senior above 65 age and above. You need to show your passport for evidence during purchasing of this card. I’m so glad this benefit includes tourist too. Seniors using this concessionaire card will get discount on MRT (20% off same as adults EasyCard) and bus (more discount compared to using adults EasyCard).
After we got our EasyCard, we took the MRT to Zhongxiao Fuxing stop. We’re going to Jiufen! I’m not going to bored you with the history (you can read it on other sites). Just know that Jiufen town is located on a mountain area overlooking the sea. There’s an old street there with plenty of food and that’s our main agenda.
After arriving at Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT, take exit 1. At the exit, make a 180o turn. Your right (across the street) is Sogo and your left is a row of shops. Walk a few seconds along the shops’ pathway. At the junction, turn left and continue follow the shops’ pathway. When you see TASTY 西堤牛排 or Kao Chi shops (they are side by side), that’s where you take Keelung bus 1062 to Jiufen (the bus sign must write final destination is Jinguashin 金瓜石).
See the man on the right looking at something? That’s the bus stop signage. Wait there for the bus to Jiufen. You’ll see some touts (like the man standing in front of TASTY holding a blue file), ignore them and don’t give eye contact.
Inside Keelung bus 1062. There were more locals than tourist in this bus. I guess most tourist prefer taking the train+bus to Jiufen. When the bus stop at Ruifang train station, I saw lots of tourist there but no one get on the bus (super confused!).
This bus has an LED signage which will inform you the next stop in Chinese characters and English. Not all bus has this as I found out on our way back from Jiufen to Taipei, the bus’ LED only show Chinese characters. This bus driver drove very carefully unlike Malaysian’s bus drivers.
At 12.20pm, after an hour 20 minutes bus ride from Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT bus stop we were dropped off at this bus stop, just a stone throw away from Jiufen Old Street. The bus fare was NT$90 with EasyCard.
Right before beginning our food adventure, we proceed to the loo which is strategically located at the entrance. It’s quite smelly but do what you have to do. Haha
Here’s what the crowds like at 12.30pm. My initial plan was to arrive here before 11am to beat the crowds and mid-afternoon hot temperature but we dilly-dally-ed so much… so yeah. Fyi from what I searched online, shops here open at around 10.30am-11am.
Besides all the yummy food, you can also buy food and local souvenirs here. Btw, do check out what we ate at Jiufen Old Street here.
If you’re looking for toilet when you’re deep inside Jiufen Old Street, there’s one near Grandma Lai’s Yu Yuan. There’s a short cut which you can walk via a small pathway opposite Grandma Lai or you can walk further up to the main entrance (up on a staircase).
Walking back to the entrance of Jiufen Old Street aka 7-11 were slow and hot. Time was 3.45pm and there were so many people in this narrow street. I can say that it was fully packed! When we finally exited the old street (thank you fresh air!), I went to Li Yi Bakery to buy tai yang bing.
They gave us tai yang bing sample to try and I was disappointed by it. Nevertheless I bought a box home. Initially I planned on getting 2-3 boxes but since it didn’t wow-ed me, I just bought a box. My sis bought their pineapple cake having tried their sample. If you’re interested, read my reviews on the tai yang bings and pineapple cakes I bought from Taiwan.
If you can’t make it to Jiufen but want to try Li Yi’s products, you can head to Taipei Main Station. Here are the maps to their shops in Jiufen and Taipei Main Station.
By this time (at 4.15pm), it was drizzling. Quickly we went to the loo at the entrance since it’ll be a long journey home. The bus stop to take 1062 bus back to Zhongxiao Fuxing is located opposite of 7-11 (need some walk further up the hill). Also at this time, this narrow roads were jammed. Lots of car and buses coming up and down the hill.
When we got to the bus stop, there were a long line and many groups of people. Later we found out some of them were waiting there for their tour buses. Still, the line for the bus was long. Thankfully the drizzle stopped. We waited a bit and a bus came, but quickly filled up. Then there was a long wait. I think by this time everyone was desperate because when another bus came, the queue broke and everyone started running to the bus (LOL) but got told by the bus driver he’s not taking anyone. Soon some were desperate enough, so they took the taxi.
About 35 minutes later at 4.50pm, we finally got on the 1062 bus. This bus driver was a lil’ reckless. As I mentioned earlier, the LED signage in the bus didn’t show next destination details in English. So we refer to Google map. Bus fare is NT$90 with EasyCard.
At 6.15pm (after an hour 25 minutes journey), we alighted at a bus stop in front of this shop called Kathy Jade. Facing Kathy Jade, we turn left and walk back to Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT, passing Tasty and Kao Chi on the way.
Total time we spent travelling to/back and at Jiufen was 7 hours 15 minutes. So yes, I underestimated the time and my plans for the rest of the day (after coming back from Jiufen) were cancelled since it was evening already. So we decided to have dinner instead and then back hostel to rest.
After we reached Taipei Main Station MRT, lugging our shopping bags we walked to Ippudo TW for Japanese ramen at Sec 1, Zhongshan North Road. It was delicious… enough to heal our tired body. Check out what we ate at Ippudo TW here. An hour later, we got back to our hostel in our new double rooms.
A little feast of malt milk (again) and glutinous rice cakes (bought from earlier today at Jiufen) before going to bed at 12am.
That’s all for day 2. Wait for day 3 ya.