Jiufen is a picturesque, small village near Taipei known for the traditional teahouses nestled in a mountain.
It is one of Taiwan’s most popular day trip destinations. In just a day, you have enough time to see Jiufen’s top attractions and some nearby landmarks.
I visited Jiufen with a local friend during my one-week trip to Taiwan, and here, I share practical tips on planning a day trip there. This post covers:
- ⭐️ Top things to do in Jiufen
- 🚙 How to get there from Taipei
- 🗓️ A full-day optimized itinerary
- 📍 Jiufen map with key places
Planning a trip? Here’s what to know about Taiwan.
- Jiufen at a Glance
- Essential Tips
- How To Visit From Taipei
- Jiufen Map
- Day Trip Itinerary
- Great Things To Do
- Nearby Attractions
- Taiwan Trip Planner
Disclosure: Lists By Lukiih is readers-supported. If you buy through an affiliate link on this post, I may earn a small commission. Thanks!
Jiufen at a Glance
Here’s some general information on Jiufen to help you plan your trip.
🍵 What Is Jiufen Known For?
The town of Jiufen is known for its teahouses, picturesque mountain views, and a narrow, atmospheric road that’s lined with shops and food stalls called Old Street.
Due to Jiufen’s aesthetics, many sources claim that it is the village that inspired Spirited Away, but director Hayao Miyazaki has denied this. Nevertheless, it hasn’t stopped Studio Ghibli fans from flocking to this popular tourist destination.
📍 Where Is Jiufen Located?
Jiufen is located 20 miles east of Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, in the Ruifang District in northern Taiwan. See below for how to get to Jiufen from Taipei.
🗓️ How Long To Spend in Jiufen?
Jiufen is most often visited as a day trip from Taipei, as you can do many of the best things in a day. The main attraction is Jiufen Old Street, which can be explored in a couple of hours.
You can also easily turn it into a two-day destination by staying the night and visiting some of the noteworthy surrounding areas.
☀️ Best Time To Visit Jiufen
The best times to visit Jiufen are in the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November), when the weather is mild (averaging 60 °F to 80 °F) and the crowds are not yet at their highest level.
I visited Jiufen in October on a Thursday. The crowd was mild, and the weather was pleasant. I was able to wear a romper with a hoodie the entire day.
💰 How Much Is a Day Trip to Jiufen?
The cost of doing a day trip to Jiufen from Taipei depends on how you get there and the number of attractions you visit, as some of them have an entrance fee.
You can expect to spend $25 to $100 when visiting Jiufen for a day.
I spent $22 in Jiufen, mostly on food. My costs were low because a local friend drove me, so I didn’t have to pay for transportation, and I didn’t visit any attractions that had an entrance fee.
See all my travel expenses in this Taiwan budget breakdown.
All prices mentioned in this post are in USD 💵 .
3 Essential Tips for Visiting Jiufen
Here are three practical tips when visiting Jiufen village.
💰 1. Bring cash.
Like other parts of Taiwan, Jiufen largely operates on cash, so make sure to bring more than $1,000 NT (around $30) to spend on food vendors, museum entrance tickets, teahouse experiences, and parking fees.
👟 2. Wear comfortable shoes if you’re hiking.
Although Jiufen has some stairs, it’s very pedestrian-friendly overall.
However, if you’re planning to hike one of its nearby trails, make sure to wear comfortable shoes. You won’t need hiking shoes, but I recommend sneakers or running shoes.
🚌 3. Figure out your transportation in advance.
There are several ways to get to Jiufen, but it can get overly crowded during peak travel season (e.g., buses get full, train tickets get sold out, and drivers run into heavy traffic).
Not having a transportation plan during the peak season can result in longer wait times or missing out on things altogether.
How To Get To Jiufen From Taipei
From Taipei, you can get to Jiufen in five different ways. Here’s a quick overview of the different transportation options:
|Train and Bus
|Taxi or Uber
🚆 Option 1: Public Transportation
There’s no direct train from Taipei to Jiufen, so if you want to take public transportation, you’ll need to take a direct bus or a combination of train and bus. Head towards Ruifang Station since Jiufen is in the Ruifang district.
Option A: Direct Bus
The bus ride will take a little over an hour and cost $90 NT (about $3) one-way.
Option B: Train Then Bus
You can also take a train and then a bus to get to Jiufen from Taipei. There are several train and bus combinations you can take. Check Google Maps for the best combination to catch based on your departure or arrival time.
- The train will always be a TRA train departing from Taipei Main Station and you can check the TRA train schedule (type in “Taipei” as the departure station and “Ruifang” as the arrival station).
- After the train, you will have to transfer to a bus (e.g., the 1062, the 788) that will drop you off right along Jiufen Old Street.
The train and bus ride will take an hour to an hour-and-a-half and cost about $2 one-way.
During Taiwan’s peak travel season, the 1062 bus can get very full, and you might have to wait for up to 30 minutes to get on an available bus.
🚕 Option 2: Taxi or Uber
The easiest way to get to Jiufen is by car, but it’s not the cheapest.
A taxi or Uber ride from Taipei to Jiufen takes 30 to 45 minutes and costs around $40 one-way. Some organized Jiufen tours cost about the same as taking a taxi or Uber.
All of the attractions in Jiufen are within walking distance, but the town also has nearby attractions that require a vehicle. If you want to visit attractions outside of Jiufen, prepare to take a taxi or Uber to get there.
🚗 Option 3: Hire a Driver
You can also hire a private driver to take you from Taipei to Jiufen. Similar to a taxi, the ride will take you 30 to 45 minutes and will cost around $50 one-way.
🚌 Option 4: Jiufen Guided Tour
One of the most convenient ways to get to Jiufen from Taipei is to take a guided tour.
This highly-rated private Jiufen tour not only stops in Old Street, but also at some of the nearby top attractions, such as Yehliu Geopark and Shifen Waterfall.
This map has all the Jiufen attractions mentioned in this post.
Jiufen Day Trip Itinerary
Below is a great way to organize a Jiufen day trip from Taipei if you’re doing it on your own and not through a Jiufen tour.
I’ve also included suggested times for each activity based on my firsthand experience.
The Taiwan trip planner below has this Jiufen itinerary prefilled.
|Travel from Taipei to Jiufen
|Stop at the Golden Waterfall
|Hike Teapot Mountain
|10 am–12 pm
|Arrive in Jiufen
|Enjoy tea at a traditional teahouse
|Explore Jiufen Old Street and sample Taiwanese snacks
|Hike Keelung Mountain, visit the Gold Museum, or travel to another nearby attraction
|Return to Taipei
4 Great Things To Do in Jiufen
After spending a full day in Jiufen with a local friend, I share my recommendations and honest opinions on the top attractions and activities below, listed in rough order of priority.
Everything on this list is within walking distance once you’re in Jiufen. Any activities or attractions that require a drive are listed further below under Jiufen’s nearby attractions.
1. Explore Jiufen Old Street
🤔 Why: Jiufen’s main attraction is Old Street (also called Jishan Street), a winding, narrow street surrounded by shops and stalls serving traditional Taiwanese snacks.
✨ Things To Do: A great way to explore Old Street is just to meander through it while eating, shopping, taking photos, and enjoying the atmosphere. You can:
- Stop at street food stalls to sample Taiwanese snacks
- Look at the many souvenir shops and stop at vendors that pique your interest (or even scare you a little, like this Ghost Lore Museum)
- Rent a qipao, a one-piece Chinese dress, to take photos in. As long as you treat the qipao like any other piece of clothing and don’t do any mocking behaviors in it, wearing one is not considered offensive by locals.
- Visit Shengping Theater to learn about the history of Jiufen village for free
💰 Expected Cost: Jiufen Old Street does not have an entrance fee, but be ready to spend a few dollars shopping and eating your way through it. I spent less than $10 per person sampling five food stalls on Old Street.
⏰ Suggested Duration: Budget one to two hours to walk around Old Street. Without including lunch, I spent about an hour walking around Old Street.
Check out other free things to do in Taiwan.
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: Jiufen Old Street is small, but very lively and fun to walk through. The charming atmospheric street with traditional architecture is almost worth the trip to Jiufen by itself.
2. Drink Tea at a Traditional Teahouse
🤔 Why: One of the most iconic and aesthetic things to do in Jiufen is to have tea at a traditional teahouse. During this unique experience, you get to learn how tea is traditionally prepared and enjoy a tea set with snacks.
✨ Best Teahouses To Visit: Jiufen’s most famous tea houses are A-Mei Teahouse, which has an iconic terrace decorated with red lanterns, and Jiufen Teahouse, which has an ornate interior. Other tea houses in Jiufen include:
- Artist Teahouse – an expensive and highly-rated teahouse. You can buy their preset tea set that includes some snacks in advance.
- Skyline Tea House – has a great view of Amei Teahouse. They also offer a tea set with snacks that can be paid for in advance.
- Siidcha – has a more modern take on the teahouses. They offer a Hakka tea set with scoops of ice cream.
The wait at A-Mei Teahouse and Jiufen Teahouse can get very long on the weekends and during the peak travel season. They used to offer a tea set you can buy in advance to guarantee a timed entry, but that’s no longer available.
💰 Expected Cost: You can expect to spend $10 to $20 for a tea set experience in one of Jiufen’s tea houses. I spent $19 per person at A-Mei Teahouse, which included a tea set as well as lunch.
⏰ Suggested Duration: Budget an hour to eat and drink at a Jiufen teahouse. I stayed at A-Mei Teahouse for almost exactly an hour for lunch and tea.
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: The tea experience at A-Mei Teahouse wasn’t as elaborate as I expected, but it was still charming and unique to experience. The views from the terrace were excellent as I was facing some stunning views.
3. Sample Taiwanese Street Food and Snack
🤔 Why: Jiufen Old Street is lined with vendors that sell all sorts of Taiwanese street food, snacks, and desserts. You won’t be able to find some of these Jiufen foods at the night markets in Taipei.
🍚 Things To Eat: Here are six famous, traditional food and snacks to try in Jiufen Old Street:
- Almond tofu pudding – A popular dessert that’s mildly sweet, almond tofu pudding was my favorite snack I tried in Old Street. I decided to get it with boba and brown sugar, but you can get it with fruit toppings instead.
- Glutinous rice cake – One of the most unique snacks to try in Jiufen is glutinous rice cakes, which are little patties that have a mochi-like texture on the outside and savory or sweet fillings inside. The savory ones were interesting to me, but too gingery for my preference.
- Taiwanese sausage – These sausages are usually served on a stick and have a chewier texture and sweeter taste than other types of sausages. Eating Taiwanese sausages was a good break from eating all the other sweet desserts.
- White radish cake – These radish or turnip cakes are sliced and served with shallots and sweet soy sauce. I found the texture and taste interesting, but it wasn’t my favorite.
- Peanut ice cream roll – Peanut ice cream rolls, which consist of ice cream scoops served in a crepe and topped with candied peanut shavings, are one of Jiufen’s most popular snacks.
- Taro ball soup – Taro balls, which are small, chewy balls often made out of sweet potato, can be found in several markets in Taiwan, but Jiufen’s taro balls are the most famous ones.
Taiwan is famous for stinky tofu, which you can also buy in Jiufen Old Street. However, you can also find it in many other places.
💰 Expected Cost: The majority of snacks in Jiufen Old Street will cost $30 to $60 NT (about $1 to $3). I spent less than $10 per person trying five snacks and getting a rice bowl.
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: Jiufen Old Street has an overwhelming number of snack options to try. It makes sense to prioritize eating one to two of the famous ones, but given the low prices, I also recommend going on a tasting adventure and trying multiple things that pique your interest.
4. Hike the Keelung Mountain Trail
🤔 Why: For a view of Jiufen and even Taipei on clear days, you can hike the Keelung Mountain Trail located about a five-minute walk from Old Street.
💰 Admission Fee: Free
⏰ Suggested Duration: The Keelung Mountain Trail is beginner-friendly, but steep and takes about an hour to complete.
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: The Keelung Mountain Trail gives you similar views to the Teapot Mountain hike, so I did the latter instead because it has a rock scramble. Keelung Mountain is a better option if you want a shorter and closer hike.
For more hikes and nature, visit Taroko Gorge, one of Taiwan’s top natural attractions.
5 Attractions Near Jiufen
Jiufen is a small town, and after four hours there, you might want to do other things. Here are the five best places near Jiufen, in rough priority order.
The best way to get to these attractions is to drive. They all require a short drive from Jiufen unless you’re willing to walk for more than 30 minutes between them.
One of my friends walked between Golden Waterfall, Teapot Mountain, and Jiufen, and said he wouldn’t recommend it because it’s unpleasant and takes up too much time for a day trip.
1. Hike Teapot Mountain for Amazing Views
🤔 Why: Teapot Mountain has breathtaking coastal views of Jiufen and a fun, optional rock scramble at the top.
💰 Admission Fee: Free. The Quan Ji Tang parking lot near the trailhead costs $3 per vehicle.
⏰ Suggested Duration: 2 hours
The parking lot has a vending machine where you can buy Asian sports drinks for less than $1. I highly recommend getting FIN or Pocari Sweat, which are refreshing and less sugary than Gatorade.
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: Teapot Mountain was my stop before Jiufen Old Street, and hiking it was a great experience right before my tea and lunch experience at a Jiufen teahouse. The rock scramble was incredibly fun, and the beautiful scenery was well worth the hike.
For more hikes and natures, visit Taroko Gorge.
2. Stop at the Golden Waterfall
🤔 Why: The Golden Waterfall is a waterfall near Jiufen with a distinct, natural golden coloring from all the minerals in the water and soil. It’s a popular place for a quick stop.
🚗 Getting There: The Golden Waterfall is a 10-minute drive from Jiufen Old Street. You can take a taxi there or get there via an organized tour. Highly-rated Jiufen tours will often include the Golden Waterfall as a quick stop.
💰 Admission Fee: Free
⏰ Suggested Duration: 10 to 15 minutes
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: Golden Waterfall is a nice, quick stop if your transportation is easy or cheap. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it if you have to go out of your way to see it.
3. Visit the Gold Museum for Some History
🤔 Why: The Gold Museum is the main attraction of Jinguashi, a former mining town near Jiufen that developed during a gold rush in the Qing Dynasty. You can learn about the town’s notable historic mines while being surrounded by lush, green trees at the museum.
🚗 Getting There: The Gold Museum is a 15-minute drive from Old Street. You can also walk to it from Old Street in a little over 30 minutes.
For a long hike, you can walk from Jiufen to Gold Museum to start the Teapot Mountain Trail hike from there.
💰 Admission Fee: The entrance fee to the Gold Museum is $80 NT (about $2.50).
⏰ Suggested Duration: 1 to 2 hours
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: I didn’t make it to the Gold Museum during my Jiufen trip. I would have prioritized it had I wanted to hike Teapot Mountain later in the day since there’s a trailhead there. I hear it’s a great place to be indoors after a hot day in Jiufen in the summer.
4. Visit Shifen Waterfall
🤔 Why: Shifen Waterfall, a scenic ledge waterfall located in Pingxi District, is a popular tourist attraction. Once there, you can walk around, buy snacks, look at souvenir shops, and admire the waterfall from a distance. Shifen Waterfall is a 15-minute walk from Shifen Old Street, which has small shops and is known for sky lanterns.
🚗 Getting There: Shifen Waterfall is a 30-minute drive and a one-hour bus/train ride south of Jiufen. Organized tours, like this highly-rated one that also stops in Jiufen, will often include a tour of Jiufen, Shifen Waterfall, and Golden Waterfall.
💰 Admission Fee: Free. You’ll have to pay a little over $1 for parking if you go by car.
⏰ Suggested Duration: 1 to 2 hours
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: Shifen Waterfall looks more scenic and epic than Golden Waterfall, but it’s significantly farther away from Jiufen, so it’ll be harder to fit into a day trip, especially if you choose to prioritize hiking Teapot Mountain, which is what I did.
5. Feed Cats at Houtong Cat Village
🤔 Why: Houtong Cat Village is a small, quiet village that is known for its large population of stray cats. You’ll see a few cats in Jiufen Old Street, but you’ll be surrounded by them in Houtong Cat Village.
🚗 Getting There: Houtong Cat Village is a 15-minute drive or 30-minute bus/train ride from Jiufen.
💰 Admission Fee: Free
⏰ Suggested Duration: 1 to 2 hours
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: Houtong Cat Village is small and quiet, so there’s not much else to do there. It’s a great place to go to if you want to explore a less touristy side of the Ruifang District, but it doesn’t seem like it’s worth the transportation time unless you love cats.
Taiwan Trip Planner
To make your travel planning easier, download the trip planner below and use it as a starting point. The planner has country-specific travel information, an itinerary, a packing list, and a map with key places pinned.
The trip planner is built on Notion, which I use for all my travel planning (I genuinely love this tool). If you don’t have Notion, creating an account is free.
If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave a comment below.
Taiwan Travel Guides
Lists by Lukiih is Readers-Supported
If you find my travel tips helpful, say thanks with a bubble tea🧋!