Doing an East Taipei Tour? Be sure to eat at Jiufen Old Street, learn history at the Gold Museum, and marvel at the Golden Waterfall!
We traveled Taiwan with a little bit of gold dust in our hands.
Taiwan’s charms lie with preserving vintage beauty while creating modern art. If you’re eyeing to see more of the Old Taipei, I highly suggest going on an East Taipei tour. We were able to visit quaint districts that became bustling industrial areas due to the discovery of gold.
Despite the gold rush, Jiufen and Ruifang were able to preserve its old-style charms, which I love. The trip here is chill, quick, and easy which is good for “rest day” in between a hectic Taiwan trip itinerary.
. Here are just some of the stops you can take for an East Taipei tour:
Jiufen Old Street
One of the best “eat streets” in Taiwan is Jiufen Old Street, famous for its narrow streets, food shops, and mountain views and the Keelung Sea. Just a fun fact — the name “jiu fen” means “nine portions” because the was once so isolated, only nine families existed and would request nine portions of every shipped good.
A claim-to-fame of Jiufen Old Street is also its resemblance to a downtown street in a Japanese fantasy anime called Spirited Away, making it a famous stop for Studio Ghibli fans. Spirited Away or not, Jiufen Old Street was a delightful mix of quaint Taiwanese district and yummy food! It’s especially dreamy at night when the yellow lights flood in.
- How to go to Jiufen Old Street: Bus Route 825 from the Ruifang Station of the Taipei Metro. You can also take Zhongxiao Fuxing station of the Taipei Metro and take the Bus 1062
- What to eat in Jiufen Old Street: Peanut ice cream roll, Taiwanese sausages, taro balls, grilled mushroom, and more! Read my Taiwanese Food to try blog.
Gold Museum / Gold Ecological Park
You’ll find (and touch) the Guinness record holder for the largest pure gold bar here at 220 kg!
The New Taipei City Gold Museum is a glimpse at the Taiwanese gold mining history. Formerly called Gold Ecological Park, the museum was built into the Taiwan Metal Mining Corp, preserving its past transport systems, offices, Japanese-style dorms, processing plants, and old equipment.
Like many places in an East Taipei tour, there are many vintage items and facades that young people would love — red bricks, traditional Japanese homes, and wooden gates.
Tourists can try interactive experiences like gold panning and getting down to the Benshan No. 5 Tunnel. For lunch, you can try eating the miner’s lunch, a great way to imagine the old way of life through the taste buds.
- How to go to the Gold Museum: Ruifang Station of the Taipei Metro. Take the bus going to Jiufen/Jinguashi. You can also take the Zhongxiao Fuxing station of the Taipei Metro then take the bus 1062 (Keelung Bus) to Jinguashi
- New Taipei City Gold Museum schedule and entrance: Open from Monday to Friday from 9:30 AM to 5 PM. Admission is free except the Gold Building (NT$100), gold-panning experience (NT$100) and Benshan No. 5 Tunnel (NT$50).
Golden Waterfall & Yin Yang Sea
Named after the principle of opposing elements in Chinese philosophy, the Yin Yang Sea looks like a giant mix of light and dark at sea.
Located at the Northeast Coast of Taiwan, the Yin Yang Sea’s contrasting colors of yellow-green and blue coast. The colors are not as visible depending on the weather, but most tourists include it in an East Taipei tour itinerary. Sadly, the coloration is due to toxic concentrated heavy metal ions in the water caused by the pollution of mining activities the past years.
En route to Yin Yang Sea is the Golden Waterfall. When I first saw the Golden Waterfall in photos, I thought it was a heavily edited photo of a typical waterfall because of its yellow-brownish color and rough texture. But while riding our bus, we passed by multiple waterfalls cascading right beside our winding roads, and it was absolutely majestic! The waterfalls gets “golder” nearer the coastal areas. Like Yin Yang Sea, it’s unwise to touch the water of the Golden Waterfall also due to its toxicity.
- How to go to Golden Waterfall: Bus 886 from Ruifang, along the way going to Yin Yang Sea
- How to go to Yin Yang Sea: Bus 886 from Ruifang
Admittedly, some people would find doing an East Taipei tour boring or more suitable for the elderly or kids. True, it’s not the most adventurous part of a Taiwan trip itinerary. But if you love anything vintage and historical like me, you’ll enjoy this trip.
East Taipei Tour Tips
While you’re doing a DIY East Taipei tour, here are just some important information about your trip:
- Taiwan weather. Taiwan has a monsoon season from April to September which is characterized by unpredictable drizzles and downpour. The best time to travel to Taiwan is from October to March, but it can still rain during those months.
- What to bring. Don’t forget to bring your EasyCard, a refillable water bottle, umbrellas or raincoats (for when you’re biking), and skin protection! For a complete guide, read my blog on Taiwan Travel Essentials.
- What to wear. It’s advisable to wear comfortable walking shoes since there’s a lot of walking and commuting involved. Locals usually wear loose and light-weight clothing.
- Unlimited Fun Pass for 3 Days. I highly recommend getting a Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass for 3 Days. It will save you lots and will help you maximize your Taipei city tour. You get an all-access pass to the Taipei Metro, Taipei Buses, and most of the Taipei attractions listed here.
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