Taiwan: Taipei Pingxi Line Tour #2 – Shifen Old Town

Travel Period : 30th Oct – 6th Nov 2012

{ Previous Post:  Taiwan: Taipei Pingxi Line Tour #1 – Houtong }

Day 5 Morning to Afternoon Itinerary :

  • Taipei Railway Station to Ruifang (瑞芳) on PingXi 平溪 line–>>
  • Houtong (侯硐)
  • Shifen (十分) –>>
  • Pingxi (平溪) –>>
How We Got There :
Took Metro from Shuanglien Metro where we were located to Taipei Railway Station // Took train from Taipei TRA station to Ruifang TRA station // Transfer to TRA Pingxi Line with a short walk through a tunnel // Took Train To Houtong Station // To Shifen Station // To Pingxi Station.

[ Read about the Previous Station We Visited – #1 Houtong.]

<<Visited>> Shifen Old Town (十分老街) > Shifen Waterfall (十分瀑布) 

#1: Shifen Old Town (十分老街)

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After 30 minutes of standing, we finally arrived at the Shifen Station (十分車站).
Instead of quickly getting off the platform to explore the old town, we stayed at the platform for a while for the crowd to clear. This was the station where most of the passengers had alighted, so one could imagine the chaos then.

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Cat had to go to the restroom (long queue!) so we stayed on the platform. He asked to go down onto the railway track and I allowed it since I knew the next train would not arrive until like one hour later. There were also many others who were on the tracks and taking photographs. He loved the experience of walking on the tracks and didn’t get bored with it; which was good since we had to spend quite some time there until Cat was back with us.

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We then headed to the souvenir shop located in the station and found something which Dar really liked — a miniature of the HSR train! He loves bullet trains a lot. We bought one set, consisting of 4 carriages for Dar to play with.

It started getting hot nearing lunch hours
With his favourite HSR train. It got sunny and hot nearing lunch hour…

There was a nice postage box just outside the shop and we decided to buy a wooden post card and stamp from the shop owner so we could mail it back home as souvenir. We had a mind block initially on what to pen down on the post card, wrote just a few sentences and stamped plenty of the station chops before dropping it into the postage box, looking forward to receive it back at home (it actually only arrived exactly one week later when we were home). Many Taiwan’s top tourist spots have these convenient postal services for people to mail back memorable cards and notes.

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Address and some sentences are masked out for privacy. ;p

(Click here to see How the back of the card looks & several other cards. Their postcards whether wooden or printed are all pretty well-made. Can’t resist buying.)

We then started to stroll down along the street, which was called an ‘Old Town’ since it had pretty much retained its original ambience and not washed away by modernisation. Most of the crowd from our train had already dispersed further down the street so we had a comfortable time walking and exploring.

Prior to our trip here, we had already told ourselves that we would buy those adorable sky lantern miniatures as memento for ourselves and family. Though there were many shops selling them along the street, one of the shops immediately caught our attention — besides being decorated nicely, the shop had focused on selling these souvenirs (many were selling other stuff at the same time) and thus we had a wide selection to choose from.

The interior was also spacious so that Dar could wander around freely while we browsed through the wares. There was also a table with rubber stamps so he could keep himself busy with them too. How thoughtful of the shop owners to include these things in their shop!

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We also got a few for our relatives with words suitable for them

After we had selected our items, we paid for it and asked for recommendations on our lunch. They directed us to the 十分姐妹快炒 restaurant which was located a little down the street, up on a slope. We thanked them and headed there, while checking out the other shops along the way. We also saw many visitors having fun painting their sky lanterns and letting them fly into the sky (using hot air concept like hot air balloons) while standing on the railway tracks. We told ourselves that we must release a sky lantern later too.

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Warnings on the sign, “Please refrain from walking on the railway tracks unless you are a staff”. That’s because a real train will pass through this every hour! Very Narrowly Right beside the shops!
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“Sky lanterns are made from oiled rice paper on a bamboo frame. Lighted with small candle or fuel cell composed of a waxy flammable material.”
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Some people have really good calligraphy skill. (Have to use chinese brush & ink)

We soon found the restaurant and walked in, found our seats and ordered some food from the menu. For the drinks, they were only sold in bottles so we ordered a bottle of orange juice (one-sized and it’s pretty large) to be shared among us. (Read the ‘food post‘)

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Having fun with his new toy…

Filling up our stomach, we started on our journey to the Shifen Waterfall, which I’ve read would be still a distance away. Dar was feeling tired after the train rides and lunch, so we put him in the stroller as we set off.

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The dog also want to take a pic with us. Tower says, ’24 degrees celsius’ but it was hot due to the bright sun and our energy draining walk.
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Can’t resist photographing and looking at these pretty signs everywhere in Taiwan. The shops are great at putting up nice & creative signs.
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Strolling Dar all the way there. Really grateful for the well-maintained stroller-friendly pavement beside the roads.

We soon reached the end of Shifen Old Town and came to a road with occasional vehicles traveling on it. We had to watch out for them while pushing the stroller at the side of the road.

It was long walk to the Shifen Tourist Center but it was quite scenic so we enjoyed it…

{ Next: Shifen Waterfall }

  1. Leen August 23, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Hi

    I’ll be going to TW in Nov2014. I plan to go Hualien , Taichung, Sun Moon Lake, Shifen, Pingxi.
    But is it advisable to go from Hualien to Sun Moon Lake directly?
    My family are not really keen on those car rides that is more than 2hr. How should I plan these destination.

    1. Vin August 23, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      Hi Leen,

      In our case, we did not travel directly between Hualien and Chiayi region, because of the risks involved through the mountainous road between them.

      Since long car rides is a concern for you too, perhaps you can consider a similar itinerary as us, to go to Taipei (Shifen, Pingxi etc) from Taichung and Sun Moon Lake first, before taking a train to Hualien?

      Hope this helps.

  2. Siaw Hwee March 7, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    hello! may i how much does the sky lantern keychain cost in NT? thanks!

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