TRAVEL TAIWAN: Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street

by - Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Taiwan itinerary Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street
I’d say my favorite part of our Taiwan trip is our second day in the country. It meant leaving the bustling city for a while and joining a group tour. Although, I don’t consider myself very sociable, the idea of being in a group tour got my attention real quick. Why?

It meant doing things on time, following a schedule, and planning—-and I love planning!

I booked the Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street Day Tour from Klook. It was my first time to join a group tour and I was so stoked about it so much that we got up as early as six and tried my best to eat and prep as quick as I could.
Taiwan itinerary Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street
The meeting place is in front of a little bakery a couple of blocks away from Ximen Station Exit 4. I booked the 9:00 AM bus and I guess we came in too early that we even chanced upon the 8:30 AM bus.
Taiwan itinerary Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street
Our tour guide was York, he was warm and an extremely helpful man. According to him, Taiwanese names don’t really have English name counterparts. A Taiwanese name is translated through its phonetic sound. His real name sounds like New York’s “york” in English so that’s basically how he was named the English way. We really learn something everyday, no?
Taiwan itinerary Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street
Yehliu Geopark
Our first stop was in the northern coast of Taiwan. It took roughly one hour to reach the place. Yehliu Geopark is one of the premier destinations in Taiwan and I don’t know a friend who went to Taiwan without visiting the park.
Taiwan itinerary Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street
Taiwan itinerary Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street
Taiwan itinerary Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street
Taiwan itinerary Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street
Taiwan itinerary Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street
Yehliu Geopark is home to many geological formations including the phenomenal “Queen’s Head” rock. According to York, the Queen’s head’s size changes almost yearly, it’s getting smaller and smaller every year and only time (and perhaps, climate) could tell how much longer it could stay around.
Taiwan itinerary Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street
Taiwan itinerary Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street
The Queen's Head
Tip! If your group tour will provide a digital map of the places you’ll be going and you have a pocket wifi on hand, go get it! For example, we were only given 70 minutes to explore Yehliu Geopark, through the map we were able to make our own personal itinerary: go to the toilet, see this place, take a picture at this place, buy souvenir according to our pace. Saves time and effort!

Yin Yang Sea, 13-Layer Remains, and Golden Waterfall
If you booked the weekday tour, the bus will take the usual route that stops over at this areas for a couple of minutes before finally driving up to the hill of Jiufen Village.
Yin Yang Sea
Golden Waterfall


Jiufen Village (Spirited Away Village)
Up on the hill with a very nice view? Souvenir stores and authentic Taiwanese food and milktea? Have I mentioned ‘free taste’ offered almost everywhere? Inexpensive food and friendly store owners? (They try to speak in Tagalog!) Saying that Jiufen Village is so beautiful would be an understatement.
I highly suggest doing your pasalubong/souvenir shopping here. The same pineapple tart that I got here in Jiufen for NTS 250 would usually be sold in Taipei city for NTS 350 - 400!
Taiwan itinerary Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street
Too bad we could only stay here for 120 minutes. I could stay here for one whole day I swear! Jiufen Village is a maze of interesting shops and quaint café and restaurants. It’s like Divisoria on top of a mountain, the narrow paths and cheap finds made me fall in love with the place instantly. If there's one place in Taiwan I could go back again and again, it would be Jiufen!
Taiwan itinerary Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street
Tip! York is such a friendly person who knows a lot of store owners in Jiufen. He gave us a sticker / badge with his name on it and every time a store owner discovers we were from York’s group tour we would be given discounts. Yay! “Buy___Get it for____” promotion is also very common in Jiufen Village so take advantage of it if you’re coming in huge groups.

Shifen Waterfall
Not far from our final stop is the Shifen Waterfall, regarded as Taiwan’s Little Niagara. It was a bit foggy and rainy during our visit but I heard that on sunny days this waterfall would often astonish its visitors with a very spectacular view.

Shifen Old Street
Shifen Old Street is a lane dotted with souvenir shops, food stalls, and lantern stores along the Shifen railway station area. This place usually draws huge wave of tourists during Sky Lantern Festival in February where visitors write their wishes on lanterns before releasing them up to the sky. The good news is you don’t have to do it only in February, they fly lanterns in Shifen all year round!
Taiwan itinerary Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street
Taiwan itinerary Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street
Taiwan itinerary Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street
PS: Wishes are written using a brush pen and usually a black ink. If you had calligraphy classes in the past then this is the best time to use those handwriting skills!
Taiwan itinerary Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, and Shifen Old Street
After flying our lanterns, York accompanied us to a small food stall along the rail tracks that sells something I’d like to call a hidden gem. (Sucks I didn’t have a photo of it, google it)

It was a massive boneless grilled chicken wing stuffed with fried rice. It was so good! I’m not gonna lie it was so delicious I regret buying just one, too late I was already on the bus on our way home. It was big, it was very affordable, you must try it!

My mom and I agree that this is the most memorable part of our Taiwan trip. During the course of this tour I realized one thing my mom and I share in common, we love structure—-so following an arrangement or schedule comes very easy for us.

It did not feel restricting, if any, the trip felt very productive and truly enjoyable (I know some people who dislike group tours for the same reason, following a schedule felt restricting). But don’t take my word for it, maybe this specific tour was just organized and functional to the core that it all felt natural and enjoyable. 90% of the people in the bus were Filipino and our tour guide was sincerely warm to people and knowledgeable to boot. I have nothing but praises.

PS: Give this blog a little love buy using some of my codes. If you book a hotel through booking.com not only would I get ¥1,800 but you'd also get ¥1,800 / 16 USD in return. Win-win! Get your discount here! If you’re going to Taiwan any time soon and you might want to rent a pocket wifi or join tours, use my KLOOK link here! Thank you very much!


That’s it for my Taiwan trip! I really appreciate your time reading this :)

Deshibelle

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