Taiwan’s Jiufen Old Street still oozing with charm

Jiufen Old Street was developed into a full-fledged township during the gold-rush era.

Jiufen Old Street is situated in New Taipei City, about an hour or so from Yehliu Geopark. It is located in a hilly area that is somewhat chilly in terms of temperature. However, what makes this place unique is its history.

During the rule of the Qing Dynasty, this mountainous seaside village housed nine families. Thus, every time shipments arrived from town, the villagers would request nine portions of everything – Jiufen. And the name stuck to this day.

Unique maze-like terrain

The maze-like terrain here is rather unique. Developed as a town during the gold rush era, Jiufen Old Street houses many shops selling local souvenirs and delicacies.

The lanes are packed with people.

A visit to Jiufen Old Street is an adventure on its own due to its narrow lanes and sloping paths.

If you’re adventurous, follow the path of the many small lanes on both sides of the street. You’d be surprised as many lead you to beautiful views of the breathtaking mountains.

Some of the narrow paths lead to you beautiful views of the mountainside.

What to do here

First of all, this is the place to taste all the local delicacies Taiwan is famous for. From deep-fried mushrooms and giant squid to noodles and desserts, this is where you can taste authentic Taiwanese food.

Oh, and remember to satisfy your bubble tea cravings too.

The bubble tea here is delicious.

There are souvenirs aplenty here and the prices are reasonable. Some shops also offer postcard-sending services, which you can send to your future self.

Important things to take note of

If you’re here during the peak season, once you arrive with your tour bus, you’ll be told to take the local bus up to Jiufen Old Street.

You need an Easycard in order to board the bus. Hold the handrails firmly because it’s a crazy drive when whizzing up and down the road at breakneck speed.

There is a famous tea house here known as Amei Teahouse. The view from the tea house is breathtaking and it was said that the anime Spirited Away was inspired by this place.

However, if you’re visiting during the peak season, the narrow lanes will be filled with people and it might be a bit hard to get further up.

If you’re Muslim, best to opt for seafood but do ask first if they use lard or pork-based oil for deep-frying.

If you’re a Muslim, you must also be careful about food here since most is non-halal.

Either stick to the desserts or if you want to try the food, opt for seafood but ask if any lard or pork-based oil was used. Most of the food sellers here speak English and all are very friendly.

Khai and wife Amira are Malaysian travel bloggers who blog at Kaki Jalans. Their travels have taken them to almost all the countries in Asean and five countries in Europe. They are still actively travelling and adding to this list.