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Northern Taiwan Road Trip


Old railroad track in Shifen 
Possibly the most romantic place we visited on this road trip. You buy a lantern from one of the local merchants and write your wishes on it. Then it’s lighted and released into the sky. I think this is far more lovely than hanging a padlock on a bridge. Our lantern stuttered several times as it made its way up. I thought it would come crashing down and that would have been the end of our wishes. But after a few hiccups, it went up, up and away. Now I just have to wait and see if my wishes are granted. :) My friend, Ruby, took this photo because I left my phone camera in the car. :(

Coastline of Northern Taiwan
It was raining intermittently during our entire road trip to Northern Taiwan. The sea was churning and the waves were quite high in some areas.  It was beautiful to see the rugged coastline and imagine what it would be like on a clear day.

Keelung Islet
The little island in the distance has a lighthouse.

Wanli UFO Village, New Taipei City
There are several UFO looking houses in this neighborhood overlooking the sea. They’ve all been abandoned except for one.  It’s  forlorn and in various stages of decay. There is not much information indicating the reason for the demise of this futuristic village. I hope they’ll start maintaining these buildings soon because they are unique architectural structures, very few of which remain today. And a familiar place for those who might stray into our planet.

Yehliu Geopark
This windswept geopark should be on every visitor’s list. There’s a short walk from the main entrance to the causeway. Along this route is the famous rock formation or hoodoo called Queen’s Head. 

This is the causeway that leads to the Queen’s Head hoodoo and Guito Shan or commonly called Turtle Head Mountain.

Queen’s Head, Yehliu Geopark
The Queen’s Head which you can see in the image above (just above my logo) is in a fragile state. It is slowly eroding from the sea and wind. At the park before entering the causeway is an exact replica of this natural formation. Turtle Head Mountain towers in the background.

Notice the replica of the Queen’s Head in the background. It is made of fiberglass from a real size 3D model. Also on this trail leading to the causeway are several colorful statues of cartoon characters which the children will love.

Yehliu Geopark
These rocks remind me of broccoli heads.

Golden Waterfall, New Taipei City
This was the most stunning place we saw during our entire trip. Sandwiched by the mountains, it sits in a lush, secluded and tranquil area. The water running down the rocks is actually toxic because it contains sulfur, arsenic and copper ore which ingredients give the water a golden hue. The waterfall trails down to the Yin-Yang Sea.

Jiufen was a real treat for the eyes but going up the narrow, old street was hard on my knees. The wet alleys made it even more difficult because it was slippery and slipping was a real thing. At the end of the climb, we found this view. So pretty and serene. I’ll be writing a separate article about Jiufen because the food images define so well what this place is all about.

How to get there:
By train from Taipei to Shifen: take a train from Taipei Main Station to Keelung. Change trains here for one bound for Shifen.
From Shifen to Jiufen: take a train to Ruifang and transfer here for Jiufen. In Jiufen, you’ll need to take a taxi to the Old Street. Check for details.
By bus from Taipei to Yehliu Geopark, check the Tourism Administration of Taiwan website for details:

With a guide: the best way to see all the places I mentioned above is to hire a private guide. There were four of us and our guide/driver had a van where we could all sit comfortably for the long ride. The other advantage of having a private guide is that you can customize your tour to include the places you wish to see. Our guide drove us safely through rain and wet roads. His name is Raul Ng of Taiwan Tours and you can reach him through his Facebook page or at 886-926-177-849 or by email at

Currency: USD$1.00 = 32.54 New Taiwan Dollar (TWD) as of this writing.


Images by TravelswithCharie unless otherwise indicated.


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