On our 4th day, we decided to travel to the outskirts of Taipei to visit Shifen (十分) for sky lantern > Jiufen (九份) > Keelung’s Miaokou Night Market (基隆, 庙口夜市). Again, this day was one of the most packed day of our trip. Part of the reason was the travel distance since we were travelling out of taipei and another part was our ambitious itinerary; touching on 3 different places.
In the morning.
OOTD (Outfit of the day)
Since the day before was dull, chilled and gloomy, we assumed that this day would be the same again. (preparing umbrellas*)
Normally, chill breeze will ran over us right after we stepped out of our hotel however the unexpected happened! Instead, what welcomed us was the bright sunny day!
Talking about unpredictable weather in taipei.
Hahaha, good start of the day with good mood!
On our way to shifen via train to ruifang station (瑞芳)
Apparently the guy behind us (japanese/hongkong tourist) tried to steal the spotlight in our photos (above)…haha, this photo never fails to make me smile~♥
Reached Ruifang and transferred to a smaller train to Shifen. If I’m not wrong, there should be a linkage to the small train platform from Ruifang. There will be a ticketing booth on the platform for passengers to purchase the tickets.
After alighting at Shifen’s station, we started to walk along the lane with rows of traditional shops and this prominent food stall attracted us:
Fried giant octopus leg!
Immediately we bought one cup and began munching while continuing our walk to the inner side of the train track.
Finally we reached the row of shops that provide sky lanterns and we managed to catch a french couple putting up their lantern into the sky just in time.
Here came the highlight of the day: putting up sky lantern!
We chose red and white for our lantern as red represents Good Fortune and White represents Health. The shop owner even recommended us to attach a fire cracker below for prosperity. So huat ah! Here we go!
After that, we began to trace back our steps and back to the main lane. There were numerous shops that sell miniature sky lanterns, souvenirs that bears Shifen’s motto (十分幸福) and wooden plaques for tourists to pen down their memories of shifen. Bought some of the miniature sky lanterns home 🙂
We kinda missed the train back to ruifang hence we decided to have a cuppa and wait for the next train to come. (about half an hour?)
The shop owner of the small coffee stall was so sweet to make us a heart using cocoa powder…sweetheart we are ♥
Beside us, we had a companion sleeping on the cool concrete floor. Poor thing, he must be feeling very cold. The temperature there was about 15 – 16?
Back to ruifang, we were on our way to our next pit-stop: Jiufen. Do look out for this exit sign that faces the new streets. We boarded the bus from the bus stop across the train station near a convenience store. The bus should be heading towards jinguashi but it will stop at jiufen first. (to ask the bus driver to confirm this)
The landscape scenery from the mountain of Jiufen. Apparently Jiufen is situated on a mountain and all I could remember was the chilling cold weather up there~~
We had our first traditional beancurd with toppings (bubble pearls, sweet potato, tapioca and yam) from a stall located near the entrance of Jiufen. Not fantastic but it tasted good enough to keep us warm.
By the time we reached Jiufen, it was about evening time, around 5 to 6pm? It was not a good timing as the shops tend to close very early (after 6pm) on weekdays. So, it was chilling cold, depressing to witness shops closing, and apparently lesser things to see which made our trip here rather pointless and waste of time. Nevertheless, we still acted like a tourist and took as much photos as we could…haha
Jiufen is also well-known for their traditional tea-houses which makes a perfect romantic place for high tea while watching sunset 🙂
We did not stay here for long, at most it was about 1 or 1 and half hour before we moved on to find our way back to Ruifang via the nearer bus stop we found at the middle of the mountain route.
Our final stop was to visit Keelung and the Miaokou Night Market because based on our research, it seemed that reviews were rather good for its food and variety of seafood.
Since it was one year ago, I think we actually boarded the train from Ruifang to Keelung station and walked to Miaokou Night Market. You may need to exchange to another line or so, but it is always better to consult the train ticketing officer before you board the train.
Something to take note about is that the night market is not exactly near to the train station. Don’t be fooled by the advices or the sources from wikipedia, saying that it’s near and about 10 minutes walk away. You will tend to lose your way if you are not careful. So better do your homework, draw out a map and follow it, if not, feel free to ask the locals there, they are always approachable and willing to help.
Just in case if you are curious, that was what happened to us when we kind of lost our way halfway through, so real life experience says it all.
Wanted to try the crepe so badly when we were still finding our way to the night market. However I guess her business was rather good and there was a group of people waiting for their orders so we had to give it a miss and well, we will get to eat it this time round!
After losing our way for about 20mins, we finally reached the night market and first time that made QAD’ s saliva dripped was this 油饭 literally means Oil rice..haha not lah, it should be fried glutinous rice. While she ordered that, I ordered my crab broth (蟹羹). Very nice!
Next on our food mission, was to try their guotie (锅贴) and it sure did not disappoint us. It does win their own customers as people are constantly patroning her shop for her dumplings.
Something different about Miaokou was that it did sell more seafood (Keelung is a sea port) as compared to other markets like Shilin or Raohe and food quality there are good if you know how to choose the stalls.
As for the photo above, please dont try their fried soft-shell crabs, it was so salty that it made my tongue numb so yeah..
Another fact was that Miaokou night market was voted as the most friendly night market in Taiwan, it is not difficult to know why…you will know it when you visit taiwan. 🙂
Lastly, I shall tempt you with a sandwich from one of the stalls. It was the first night market that sells traditional morning sandwiches at night. (maybe other markets also have, just that we did not notice it, haha)
Basically it was so yummy that I kind of envy the locals for not having to worry about their breakfast every morning.