San aabot ang piso mo?
Well, believe it or not, it can get you to the north coast of Taiwan with Klook’s Yehliu Geopark Shuttle Bus from Ximen!
Prior to our trip, we got the chance to avail piso sale for their #GetKlookd promo for Taiwan. This was in commemoration of Klook’s official launch in the Philippines. YAY!
Right after having our breakfast in our hotel, we headed straight to the meeting place for our mini bus in the Ximen MRT Station Exit 4. We we’re too early so we bought some snacks to munch on during the trip, and of course, took some snapshots.
In this tour, we explored Jinguashi, an old mining town adjacent to Jiufen in Ruifang District, New Taipei City. This town is situated between the mountains and coastline, and is famous for its gold and copper mines especially during the Japanese occupation.
A trip to Taiwan wouldn’t be complete without exploring this popular sight in Northern Taiwan. Yehliu Geopark stretches for around 1,700 meters and features amazing rock formations. Upon entering, we paid 80 NTD each for the entrance fee.
This geological wonder is usually swamped by tourists due to its bizarre rock formations such as the “Queen’s Head” (which resembles Queen Elizabeth’s head facing to the side), “Fairy’s Shoes”, “Dragon’s Head Rock”, and among others. I even spotted a rock that’s in a form of heart wherein people are posing with their finger hearts. LOL! Indeed, the rock formations could make your imagination wild! Haha!
It’s usually rainy here but thankfully, the weather cooperated with us! Everything’s quite amazing with how all the rocks were purely and naturally formed by chance or the random waves of the sea. The “Queen’s Head” is said to be 4,000 years already. Huzzah!
Certainly not for trypophobics!
Yin Yang Sea and 13-Layer Remains
Our next stop is at a large parking lot (LOL) located near the coast to get a glimpse of the 13-Layer Remains (also known as Remains Of The Thirteen Levels/Shuinandong Smelter). Perched atop a mountain, overlooking the ocean, the complexity of the architecture is extremely fascinating.
This was said to be an abandoned copper smelting refinery built by Japanese for refining gold and copper ores wherein prisoners of war were forced to labor under extreme harsh conditions. This boasts one of the largest concrete pipeline ventilation system in the world way back then. Fast forward, even though the minings are no longer operational, the incredible fortress like ruins remains.
Just near the parking lot, we cross the streets to see the Yin Yang Sea. (PS: Be careful when crossing the highway and be mindful of the traffic light!). This is already conspicuous even while on the road, the sea has a mix of yellow and blue color. Located just beside the northern coastal road in the Gold Ecological Park, this awe-inspiring sight provides some sort of calmness and serenity.
As per my research, due to the pollution from nearby mining activities from long years ago, there’s a local belief that the coloration of this bay was caused by chemical runoff. Yet, even if all of them closed already, the unusual hue on the water remains. Therefore, a study was conducted, and it appears that the blue/yellow shade is because of the insoluble floating iron ions from the heavy concentration of pyrite (also known as “Fool’s Gold”) in the area. Due to that, it’s highly prohibited to go into the water as it is not safe because of the highly concentrated heavy metal ions in the water.
Driving further uphill, our next stop at Jinguashi is the Golden Waterfall. This is located near the Gold Ecological Park, just beside the main road.
If you’re wondering why it’s tagged as the Golden Waterfall, well, it’s bright yellowish brown as it contains high level of copper and iron deposits. When it rains, water will seep into the old mines and carries these deposits down, turning the grassy hillside into a bright orange color. It’s not that big as it may seem, but it’s quite an attraction with its breathtaking scenery.
And mind you, water goes to the Ying Yang sea. Thus, just like it, you cannot touch the golden rocks and water as they are highly toxic because it contains a high amount of dissolved Pyrite, which could result in the formation of Sulfuric acid. Nyay!
Jiufen Old Street
And now, we’re off to my favorite spot, the Juifen Old Street!
Many would have been and heard of Jiufen. (Thanks to the award-winning Japanese animated film, Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki). This place is totally jam-packed!!!
It was a prosperous gold mining town built by the Japanese until the 1950s. Yet, they were able to keep its old town vibe with its line of tea houses and food stalls, designed with hanging red lanterns along the alleys.
ALSO… I noticed that most of the dogs here are FAT. HAHA! Anyway check out that woman doing on the spot painting!
Since it’s already past lunch time, we decided to eat at one of the restaurants there (Sorry, didn’t take note of its name :P).
Ghibli characters are everywhere! Yes, there are a bunch of No-Face, Shihiro, and Totoro memorabilia at the souvenir shops.
Shifen Old Street
If Jiufen used to be a gold-mining town, Shifen used to transport coal during the Japanese era to different villages and districts through the Shifen Railway Station.
The old train is actually operational until now, and it passes by the scenic Shifen Waterfall. But of course, this place is particularly famous for flying paper sky lanterns bearing wishes. Way back then, this was used to send coded military information between soldiers in this historic district and in the mountains.
Shifen Old Street is also lined with several stalls with street food and souvenir shops. It’s also the one of the places Taiwan where it’s legal to let a Chinese lantern.
Everything we’ve done during this tour was in a fast-paced manner due to time constraints, HUHU. Nonetheless, it was a memorable one!
After a long tiring day, we went back to Ximending and indulged on some Japanese food! NOM~