Four months ago, we went to Taiwan and shared our itinerary and budget which you can find here. So yes, this is a super late post as we had to prioritize a few blog invites. 😉
Honestly, I’ve already forgotten about writing this until a news reached me about Taiwan’s confirmation for extending the visa-free privilege for Philippine Passport holders until July 2020. Such a great news for everyone!
So now here’s our Northeast coast Taiwan tour.
Yehliu Shifen Jiufen Day Tour
Our meet-up schedule was 8:45 in the morning at Taipei Main Station East Gate 1. We availed this tour from KKday since the sites are far from each other, thus, difficult to DIY. The tour guide, Sir John, was very accommodating and informative. He speaks english really well so we didn’t have to worry about language barrier.
Our first destination was Yehliu Geopark. We arrived at exactly 10am. We presented our printed Yehliu ticket which we also availed from KKday (you may also avail it here).
One hour was allotted for this tour, which will be enough only if it’s not crowded. However, there were too many people eventhough it was a working Thursday! In fact, some iconic sites such as the Queen’s Head had a long queue of people just for picture taking!
We lined up for Queen’s head too since it’s not everyday we get to see such amazing piece. Waiting game took about 20 minutes! And when it was our turn, there was a Chinese woman trying to skip the line. Thankfully, the official who manages the line rebuked her and they started conversing in Chinese which of course I didn’t understand. Then the official let us took our turn. So there was dishonest one, and there was one who does the right thing, same race. You really can’t stereotype.
While the queuing took 20 minutes, the photo-ops did not even last a minute! Stay for few more seconds and you’ll be hated by everyone! *just an exaggeration*
Jeric found it hard to capture photos because of the crowd. But what’s amazing is that eventhough the place was filled with people, it was still such a beautiful and peculiar site to behold. I never knew I’d be able to witness such place that surprisingly exists. We were literally mind-blown!
These bizarre rock formations were all due to weathering. Yehliu is located in the subtropic zone and every year, the place is being affected by northeast monsoon and wave erosion for over a six-month period, if I recall it correctly.
We actually lost track of time, we only had less than 2 minutes before the bus departure so we literally ran our way to our bus because walking would take about 5 minutes! The site was quite far from the parking area. When we arrived, the bus was just about to leave and Mr. John was waving at us.
While leaving Yehliu, the ocean view was already on our bus side (left side of the driver). Such a splendid way to end our Yehliu trip! We traversed the road for almost an hour before reaching Shifen Old Street.
Shifen Old Street and Sky Lantern Releasing
We just came from a bizarre site in a coastal area, and now we’re transferred to an old street in an old railroad under a lantern-filled sky. By that time, we were starting to really like this trip.
Sir John led us to a store and let us pick our desired color of lantern. There were many choices and each color has a corresponding meaning like luck in career, marriage, health, etc. It didn’t really matter to us so I just chose orange to match my outfit. HAHA.
There were also multicolored lanterns, and the more colors, the higher the price. It’s like paying more for higher chance of getting all kinds of luck. Since we’re not really believers of luck, we just opted for the plain one. I just wanted to experience lantern releasing so can we just please proceed? 😅
So the next step was write all your wishes on the lantern. But we really don’t do wishes so I just wrote my thoughts, and Jeric wrote our Lord’s name in Chinese characters.
After we finished writing on our lantern, the vendor helped us light up our lantern and instructed us how to hold it and when to let it go.
How it works is just similar to hot air balloon. When it’s heated up and filled with less dense air, it will fly.
Before releasing our lantern, the vendor asked us to bow down and wish. But we were too sneaky, I wasn’t really good in pretending while Jeric quite managed to pretend he was wishing!
After our lantern was released, we strolled around watching others releasing their lanterns. It was such a nice place, I figured. It quite reminded me that we were really in a foreign land.
Sir John called our attention and asked us to get on the bus. We then proceeded to our next stop which is Shifen Waterfall. It was just a 5-minute drive from Shifen Old Street.
From the parking lot, we walked for about 5 minutes before we reached the first view deck. It involved series after series of climbing down the stairs and I imagined how challenging it’s gonna be going back to the bus. It’s quite not a senior citizen friendly spot. But once you see the waterfall, you’ll know it’s all worth it!
The first view deck stands at the side of the waterfall. It was a magnificent view indeed, and bunch of people flocked to that certain spot. However we were not contented so we climbed down few more stairs until we reached the view deck that stands right in front of the waterfall.
It looked more wonderful from that angle. Plus, no other people around!
Shifen Waterfall is a 40-meter tall curtain type waterfall that attracts visitors all year round. Our visit was a good timing since it’s just before the summer starts so the waterfall still had more water, and at the same time the weather was not too cold.
It’s not just about the splendid view, but beautiful music as well. The sound it creates was a relaxing music to my ears. We were fortunate enough to have the spot all to ourselves! However, we had to climb up more stairs to get back to our bus!
Jiufen Old Street
We then headed to Jiufen Old Street and bus ride took about an hour. From the parking area, we climbed again steep stairs to reach Saint Peter Bakeshop where we waited for the bus. There were actually 2 options in reaching the Old Street. You can either take a bus and alight at Family Mart, or walk all the way. We opted to take a bus because we were just too excited! Bus ride took about 5 minutes.
The temperature was too cold for our clothes, we were not prepared! I only brought a cardigan which helped a little but it was still cold even though I was already wearing a long sleeve polo with cardigan on. I didn’t expect because temperature was just right in Yehliu and Shifen. It felt like 10°C. Nonetheless, it was an amazing experience!
We walked around the old street checking out some food specialties while at the same time looking for the famed Amei Tea House.
I’m pretty sure Filipinos would love walking here as almost every store we passed by were offering free taste! From snacks to cookies and pastries even up to drinks! We almost got full without shelling out even a dollar!
We first tried everything then we picked our faves and bought them.
We bought deep fried squid that’s super delicious! You will really know that it’s 100% squid until the last piece! It had a little crunchy coating that’s so flavorful! Aside from that, we also bought a pastry which I forgot the name and forgot to take a photo, it was a long sweet with bread-like texture that taste superb! Another one we bought was fried King Oyster mushroom, it was so good and flavorful as well! By that time, our tummies were officially full so we were not able to buy the other faves. But at least, we have tasted them! HAHA.
We then decided to really look for Amei Tea House because it was getting dark already!
By the way, our bus was scheduled to depart by that time but we wanted to stay for few more hours to witness the place’s grandeur at night. So we opted to skip the tour bus ride back to Taipei City.
Then we finally found the Amei Tea House! At first I didn’t know that was it because everything was in Chinese characters, until I looked up and saw the part of the tea house that I usually see in photos.
We waited for few minutes to see how it looks like at night. So we first strolled around, went to Family Mart, went back to old street, walked, took photos, walked, and walked.
It looked so magical! I felt like I was suddenly transported to another era. The darkness and lit up lanterns were the only ones responsible for that sudden shift, nothing more, nothing less.
It’s such a place that looked more alive during the night! I can’t fully explain how beautiful it was. Our photos couldn’t explain fully either. I think you really need to go there and see for yourself!
Surprisingly, it did not feel creepy. All I actually felt was amazement and appreciation.
And now it’s time to go back to Amei Tea House and witness its grandeur during the night. To do that, we agreed to dine at another tea house just in front of Amei, which is Skyline Tea House.
We chose a table at the top most floor of Skyline Tea House so we could have a better viewing angle for Amei Tea House.
We decided to have dinner but upon asking for the menu, the wait staff told us, “no meal”. So we just asked for their best seller tea and he pointed to Jasmine Tea.
Jeric went to the terrace to take photos of Amei, while I was waiting for our tea. It took about 10-15 minutes before the tea arrived. Then I saw other diners eating their dinner meals and I figured, maybe they only serve meals for locals. I did not dare to confirm because of language barrier. The only english I’ve heard that time was “no meal”.
Good thing we went food tripping a while ago so we were still full. After finishing our tea, we decided to go back to Taipei City.
While walking to the bus stop, we passed by some areas that are not well lit but it still did not feel creepy for me, I don’t know. HAHA. We just savored the atmosphere before leaving. If only our budget and schedule permits, we will spend a night here.
We left Jiufen at around 8pm and arrived at Taipei around 9:30pm. We used our EasyCards for the bus ride. The bus dropped us off at Beimen Station, and from there, we took the MRT (Green line) going to Zhongshan Station.
To cap off the night, we went again to Ningxia Night Market and had our fave chicken rolls, and Mango Snow Ice (Bingsu), before going back to King Plaza Hotel.
Honestly, this was my most favorite trip in Taiwan! Four different amazing spots and experiences all rolled into one trip. So thankful to KKday for making it possible to visit all those places in just one day! This is very beneficial for those who are not traveling with a big group. Renting a car could have cost us much money since we were just two.
I hope you learned few things from our trip and somehow inspired you to visit Taiwan as well!
You can book your flight to Taipei via 12Go Asia.
What to read next?
- Taiwan 5D4N Itinerary, Budget, Travel Guide
- Taichung Day Tour: Zhongshe Flower Market and Tai’an Sakura
- Taipei Food Crawl: Ningxia Night Market
- The Modern Toilet Restaurant, Ximending
- Yangmingshan Park + Taipei City (Day Tour)
- Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Park, Taipei City
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