Some people visit Shifen, Juifen, and Yehliu in one day. It’s possible, but just the thought of it , made me feel tired. I didn’t want to be in a rush while exploring these three popular destinations in Northern Taiwan, so I decided to reserve a day for Shifen, then do Yehliu and Juifen in another.
My friend Deborah and I ventured in the tour together. From Holiday Fun Hostel in Ximen, we took the train going to Taipei Main Station, which is only a station away. Truth be told, moving around the Taipei Main Station was confusing even though there were signages. I almost got lost.
The same thing happened to me when I was looking for TRA line to Rufiang on my way to Shifen. We got lost looking for our way out to Taipei Main Bus Station West Terminal A. I suggest allotting extra time. We were wandering, looking for the exit for close to 15 minutes.
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From Taipei Main Bus Station West Terminal A, ask the personnel at the information center where to find the bus going to Yehliu.
As you board the bus, you can pay using your easy card. The bus is wide, clean and comfortable. There’s Wi-Fi connection plus a USB port through which you can charge your phone. If I remember it right, I paid PHP180. Our travel time was one hour and 30 minutes.
We got off the bus by the main road in Yehliu. From there, we walked for 10 minutes toward the entrance of Yehliu Geopark. Entrance fee is NTD80 or PHP136.
Located along the north coast of Taiwan, Yehliu Park is a bit remote, but it’s well worth the effort of visiting it. There were hundreds of people strolling around when we arrived before lunch. But the Geopark was vast enough to accommodate everyone.
It was windy. The waves were so strong that they broke around the rocks in the shallows, the foam crests becoming chaotic. I was mesmerized. It was as if the movement of the strong water synchronized with my thoughts.
We started walking around. We couldn’t help getting disappointed with some tourists who walked beyond boundaries and touched the rock formation. The notice was clear: Do not cross the line.
Did you know that it took thousands of years for geological movements to force the Datun Mountains to change shape, causing them to jut out of the ocean? We should be responsible so the next generation will still see this magnificent work of nature.
The place is really extraordinary. I haven’t seen anything like it. People said that if Mars were on Earth it would look like Yehliu Geopark.
Queen’s Head is the most remarkable rock formation. People line up to have an Instagram perfect photo with the incredible rock formation as backdrop. If you love seeing unique rock formation, Yehliu will not disappoint you. Our time was limited time since we needed to travel all the way to Juifen, so we didn’t fall in line.
There are restaurants and food stalls near the entrance.
After spending an hour walking around Yehliu, we traveled by bus for another hour to visit Juifen. From the same drop off point in Yehliu, we crossed the street and waited for bus 790 going to Keelung. Travel time was 30 minutes. In Keelung, we crossed the road from the drop off point and went to the nearest bus stop. We took bus 788 going to Juifen. Travel time was another 30 minutes. We spent less than NTD50 from Yehliu to Juifen.
We strolled around Juifen Old Street, a maze of lanes and alleyways. There were various stalls selling different stuff. It’s a good place where you can savor Taiwan street food. To know what to buy where, look for the stores with long queues. Deborah told me those stores are really popular and serve good Taiwanese food.
Juifen Old Street reminds me of the alleyways leading to the Ruins in Macau–narrow, crowded, colorful. You could also smell the aroma of different food items, a classic charm. After walking around and eating some street food, we decided to look for a place to sit and talk. My friend Deborah brought me to her favorite tea house, Jioufen Teahouse.
It’s one of the tea houses along the Main Old Street. You can find it near the end of the street. The old house was beautifully restored and it now features a beautiful ceramic museum and workshop.
I suggest having your tea served at the veranda where you can stare at the beautiful view of lush hills and the wide open sea. It’s one of the best places for a cup of delicate Chinese tea.
If you’re dining solo or with another person, price will be a bit expensive. It’s best to come in with a group. They will demonstrate tea preparation, then you can try and do it yourself afterward.
Most of the stores close at 7PM, so I suggest going there as early as possible. There’s a direct bus going to Taipei, but it gets full in no time, and it’s inconvenient being in a crowded bus. Take a bus instead to Keelung and get off at Ruifang. From there, we took the train back to Ximen.
If you have more time, you can explore Keelung and its fantastic Miaokou Night Market before returning by local train to Taipei City.
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