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I followed the small and long street which is the main axis of Jiufen ancient village, many store, food shops and souvenir shops are close to each other, bustling no less crowded than a Christmas market. It was still raining and humid, a little cold of the winter in the smoke when the restaurant chef opened a giant steamer of dumplings, a very special emotion.
After a short walk will have small slopes cut across, looking up to see an ancient look adorned by the tall hanging lanterns that as an old Chinese street. At the end of the road is a gentle mountain slope, stopping to admire the whole view of the ancient village from above, the far away is the beautiful Taiwan coast, and the winding roads around the mountainside. I found a small teahouse with a balcony overlooking the mountains, sipping tea to feel the life slowly away from the busy streets.
We have a very detailed article about Jiufen from best places to visit, top things to do… plz, read: Jiufen travel blog — Explore one of the most beloved destinations of Taiwan.
Houtong Cat Village
After lunch break, I went back to the bus stop, took the bus 1062 back to Ruifang to catch the train to Houtong Cat Village. Bus stop is right at Ruifang train station. I entered the station, using the Easy Card without buying a ticket, waiting for the train to be about 15 minutes. The waiting area is very good as there is also a USB phone charger for waiting passengers.
The train traveling for a while reach Houtong Station, just get out of the station, the image of the lovely cats immediately hit my eyes. Cats are everywhere, on stairs, train station, every corner, souvenir shops filled with cat products such as keychains, postcards, or a bakery with cakes in lovely cats shape. The most surprising thing is that cats also appear in public restrooms.
Not only cats, the lovely village that emerged from this gateway of Houtong Station is also a simple, peaceful natural picture with the mainly green color of leaves, and is adorned by a small murmuring stream, the vintage bridges are not to be missed for those who love photography, even virtual living selfie!
I bought a postcard printed with a cute cat, not forgetting to close with the seals of cat’s head, cat footprints, cats and cats, a way to mark my footsteps in this Houtong village and send it to who I love.
Drop the sky lanterns in Shifen
Due to wandering, I forgot to watch the train schedule from Houtong to Shifen, so I had to wait another 45 minutes because there was only 1 train every 1 hour. The nostalgic train took me to Shifen when it was dark, because the Taipei sky was dark out very quick, it was already dark out at 5 pm. I didn’t get out of the station right away, but stood still for a while, watching the whole scene of Shifen as a prelude, and the main purpose, was to watch the train go through the small street as the time image was gradually goes by…
The railway system here is largely due to the Japanese built in the past to serve the transportation of coal. Today, this place has become a famous tourist destination with images you see a lot on postcards, newspapers are Pingxi rails. The area of Jiufen and Shifen used to be mainly Japanese people, so tourists also have a lot of Japanese people, and don’t be surprised if the sellers speak both Chinese and Japanese fluently.
The sky lanterns that local people guided visitors start to dropping into the dark sky, each sky lantern dropped will be recorded with the wishes of the person who dropped it. And every color of the every sky lantern will represents a different meaning. For example, monochromatic colors such as red color show the joy, fun, orange color represents for money and prosperity, price 150NT$ ($4.83) for 1 dropping … multi-color sky lanterns (4 colors) cost 200NT$ ($6.45), that represents health, hope, career and prosperity …
Again, some tours to explore Shifen, Jiufen you can refer to
- Jiufen, Shifen and Keelung Miaokow Night Market Shuttle Bus from Ximen
- Jiufen Shuttle Bus from Ximen
- Yehliu, Jiufen, and Shifen Day Tour with Taiwanese Pastry Making
Are you looking for more Taipei travel guide and top things to do in Taipei: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Taipei travel blog — The fullest Taipei city guide for a wonderful trip to Taipei for the first-timers.