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ruthdelacruz | Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Ruth dela Cruz is a travel and lifestyle blogger in the Philippines. She loves writing about her travels. Drop her a note at admin@ruthdelacruz.com. The internet knew her as @ruthilicious.

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December 29, 2017

Taiwan Travel | Spirited Away Jiufen at Night + Getting Lost to Find the Old Tea House

Spirited Away Jiufen Tea House

When I got off the bus in Jiufen Station, I was certain that Rodel was just right behind me. It was a different face that smiled at me when I looked back. I searched for him and found him (still) inside the bus looking for something (must be the Easy Card). 




I stayed at the bust stop hoping that he would be out in a minute. It was traffic and the bus driver waited for him - but when the traffic light turned green, he had to go. They had to go. I felt a pang of panic when I saw the bus leave the station. 

I wanted to run after the bus and shout his name "Dao Ming Si!!!". But he is not Dao Ming Si. I am not Shan Cai. 

This was the first time I felt so helpless and disconnected. I didn't activate my roaming and I did not get a local SIM Card to connect to him or to anyone. The next game plan is to look for a convenience store with a Free Wifi (the moves!). There's one next to the bus stop but it didn't any give me a sign of (wifi) life.

I was thinking, for sure he would go back. He would go back for me. Wow, that sounded like a line from a romantic novel. I meant, that's the smartest ting to do at that moment, stay where he left me. 

I was feeling stressed as I look for the familiar plaid top he was wearing that day. It was not the best time to play hide and seek, or get lost as we were out of time (we even skipped lunch to get to these places). 

jiufen old street tea house spirited away taiwan

Then I spotted him. I wanted to laugh. Really. 

So he told me he had to get off the next station and walk back. It helped that he walked so fast so basically I waited for only 15 minutes. And from there, we explored Jiufen. 

Sorry about the long introduction. I just had to document the crazy things that happened during this trip. 

From Yehliu we took a bus going to Keelung and took another bus heading to Jiufen. We were supposed to go to Rufiang, but decided to head on straight to Jiufen because of the limited time we had that we even skipped the chance to have a decent lunch. It was a 2-hour ride. I fell asleep after finishing the bread and pastries we got from Yamazaki. It is like Taiwan's Bread Talk but the brand name sounds like that of a car. 

jiufen old street tea house spirited away taiwan
jiufen old street tea house spirited away taiwan
jiufen old street tea house spirited away taiwan

Jiufen is a mountain town in northeastern Taiwan, east of Taipei. It's known for the narrow alleyways of its old town, packed with teahouses, street-food shacks and souvenir shops. It is popular for it is the inspiration to the movie Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki. For those who recently watched the MMFF Film, it is also the shoot location for the movie All of You (Jennylyn Mercado and Derek Ramsay). 

jiufen old street tea house spirited away taiwan
jiufen old street tea house spirited away taiwan
jiufen old street tea house spirited away taiwan
jiufen old street tea house spirited away taiwan
jiufen old street tea house spirited away taiwan

When we got inside the small alleys of the Jiufen, I already fell in love with its chaos (despite the rain and muddy streets). There is so much happening in every street and corner. I love the souvenir shops, restaurants, food kiosks and bright signages. 

jiufen old street
jiufen old street


We made a quick break at one of the Chinese Restaurants and we had late lunch. But argh. Not the best food though. We got enticed to the sight of rice and pork (we were thinking Adobo!)


jiufen old street
jiufen old street
jiufen old street
jiufen old street
jiufen old street
jiufen old street
jiufen tea house ah mei tea house spirited away

Like we were lost kids, we searched each alley looking for the famous 100-year old A-Mei Tea House (the inspiration for the bath house in the Spirited Away movie).

A quick turn lead us to the destination. There was a sea of people taking photos at the famous tea house causing traffic in the alley. 

jiufen tea house ah mei tea house spirited away
The famous Jiufen Tea House 
jiufen tea house ah mei tea house spirited away
The passage
jiufen tea house ah mei tea house spirited away
Sometimes I love touristy places

It was a different view when we went down. I love the lanterns and the old shops. 
I love the photos I captured during our quick stroll. 

jiufen tea house ah mei tea house spirited away
Spirited Away Jiufen Tea House
jiufen old street
Spirited Away Jiufen Tea House
Spirited Away Jiufen Tea House
Spirited Away Jiufen Tea House
Spirited Away Jiufen Tea House
Spirited Away Jiufen Tea House

From Jiufen, we took the bus heading to the MRT station to go to Shifen where we wrote our wishes and hopes in a lantern. 

... to be continued.