Taiwan 2015: Releasing Sky Lanterns at Shifen and Food Tripping at Jiufen
On one of our last weekends in Taiwan, my friends and I traveled north to Shifen and Jiufen in New Taipei City. Shifen is known for its Waterfall – the broadest waterfall in Taiwan as per Wikipedia – and Old Street – the home of sky lanterns. Not far from it is Jiufen Old Street, where one can go food tripping while enjoying a scenic view.
How to Get to Shifen Old Street and Shifen Waterfall:
Board a TR Train to Ruifang Station > Board a TR Train to Shifen Station > Shifen Old Street is just beside the train station > Shifen Waterfall is a 30-min walk from the station, just follow the signs (taxi and motorcycles are also available)
Right across the platform of Shifen Station is Shifen Old Street
Believe me, you’ll need food before going to the waterfall – it’s a long walk. Good thing, food is relatively cheap there – all these for NT$400.
The Shifen waterfall is one of the largest (but not the tallest) on the island of Taiwan. It is about 20 meters in height and 40 meters across. Due to how the rocks in this location are eroded, there are rocks that stand up at various heights below the top of the main falls. When water cascades over the top, it hits these other rocks and bounces back. After hitting these rocks, the water flows in all directions including backwards, creating this unusual cascade pattern.
Shifen Old Street (十分老街), located in Pingxi (平溪) District of New Taipei City, is one of the most famous spots along Pingxi Branch Line of Taiwan railway. Pingxi Branch Line was originally built to transport coal and now has transformed to an international renowned coal-mining-history attraction where you can experience the lighting sky lanterns (天燈).
Shifen Old Street is just set by Shifen Railway Street. You may notice that Shifen Railway Station is larger than other stations along Pingxi Line as it has dual tracks that allow trains to intersect here. When you take a stroll beside the railway, you will find lots of sky lantern and souvenir shops there. There are also plenty of local snacks that will satisfy your taste buds. The most interesting thing is that you may have a chance to see the unique scene of trains running right through the old street. By the way, The famous Jingan Suspension Bridge (靜安吊橋) and Shifen Waterfall (十分瀑布) are also nearby the old street. If you are keen on photography, I believe you will like this lovely township, Shifen.