TAIWAN: Jiufen Old Street

When we were finalizing our itinerary for our recent trip to Taiwan, we found out that one of the highly recommended places to visit was Jiufen Old Street. It would have been a lovely experience to tour the place without the rain. But nonetheless, I did enjoy going through the narrow streets, going up and down the hill, dropping by some of the stores, and seeing the beautiful view of the mountain, temple, and foggy sky.

In this post, I’ll be sharing photos of our experience and how we traveled from Taipei to Jiufen and back to Taipei again.


TAIPEI TO JIUFEN

We started our journey by riding Taipei’s MRT. When you reach Beimen station (Green line), look for the pathway leading to A1.

There, you’ll see more maps and directions leading to their TRA (Taiwan Railways Administration). Once you arrive at the TRA station, enter Platform 4. We weren’t sure about the right train, so we asked help from their staff. Thankfully, they directed us to catch the local train going to “Su’ao” which leads to Ruifang Station.

When you reach Ruifang Station, exit towards the area where the store “Lick Lick Ice Cream” is. Beside that is a stairway leading to an underground pathway towards Ruifang’s police station.

Within that area, you’ll see a bus stop where this sign is posted. It contains directions to the bus stop leading to Jiufen Old Street. Take note of the correct bus numbers: 965, 788, and 1062.

We walked towards that bus stop and rode one of the buses mentioned. It took us around 15 minutes to travel by bus before we reached the stop near Jiufen Old Street. Most people riding the bus will go down at the stop “Jiufen Old Street”, not “Jiufen Police Station”.

Once there, you’ll need to walk uphill for a few minutes until you see a 7/11 store beside the main entrance of Jiufen Old Street. Just around the curve of the road.


JIUFEN TO TAIPEI

After touring the place, from 7/11, walk uphill again for 1-2 minutes until you see the bus stop across the huge JIUFEN letters on the wall. Wait in line for Bus 1062 since this will bring you to Songshan Station (Green line). It will take you 16-17 stops from Jiufen Old Street to Songshan station. From there, you can ride the MRT to your next destination.

WHAT TO EXPECT INSIDE JIUFEN OLD STREET

We weren’t able to finish touring the place due to time constraints and fatigue. Haha! But, in a nutshell, this old and lovely village is situated on a mountain and is filled with cafes, restaurants, stores, and street food.

Also, we ate lunch at one of the restaurants, which I will share in a different post. If ever you plan on visiting this area, I suggest that you go during Summer, so you wouldn’t have to walk around holding an umbrella and trying your best not to get wet as you go through the shops. Moreover, this place is packed with tourists and locals, so make sure not to bring bulky bags or things, so you can easily go around the place.

You can hire a driver or rent a vehicle going to the place, but if it’s your first time to visit it and if it wouldn’t be a hassle for you to walk, I would suggest that you experience commuting to the place too. Not only will it save you money, but it will also make the journey of discovering Taiwan and Jiufen more exciting.

 

 

 

TAIWAN: Milk Tea in Taipei

Our family just came back from our recent trip to Taipei, Taiwan. One of the main highlights for me was of course, their milk tea drinks. This is where iced bubble milk tea started. :)

Throughout the trip, we were only able to try the original / plain drinks from six stores. In a span of five days, I think that was enough. Haha.

 

1. TRUEDAN (Jen Ju Dan)

ADDRESS: 11 Section 1, Kaifeng St. Taipei City

ORDER: Bubble Milk Tea

MILK TEA: This drink has a nice, fresh milky taste. Although I barely tasted the tea and I’m not sure if they used tea. Haha. But, I think this is a refreshing choice. Downside for me: The ice used was crushed finely, so it melted quickly.

PEARLS: Large, chewy, and sugary. The cup is almost half-filled with pearls.

PRICE: NTD 75 / PHP 128

 

2. TIGER SUGAR


ADDRESS
: Inside Shilin Night Market – No. 101 Jihe Road, Shilin District, Taipei City

ORDER: Brown Sugar Boba Milk with Cream Mousse (bestseller)

MILK TEA: This drink also has a fresh milky taste. It also has a thin layer of cream on top which gives it a nice flavor.

PEARLS: Large, chewy, and sugary. They also add extra pearl syrup inside and around the cup.

PRICE: NTD 85 / PHP 145

 

 

3. CHATIME

ADDRESS: No. 6 Section 1 Xinsheng S Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City

ORDER: Tai Chi Pearl Tea Latte (bestseller)

MILK TEA: This has a balanced flavor of tea and fresh milk.

PEARLS: They used large white and brown sugar pearls. The white one wasn’t as chewy as the brown ones.

PRICE: NTD 65 / PHP 110

 

 

4. EVE & T (in light bulbs)

ADDRESS: Shin Kong Mitsukoshi A8 Basement 2, 110, Taiwan, Taipei City, Xinyi District, Songgao Road

ORDER: Bubble Milk Tea (in a light bulb)

MILK TEA: They didn’t add ice because of the container, but they used cold milk tea. It also has a balanced flavor of tea and milk.

PEARLS: Large, chewy, and sugary. They didn’t use much.

PRICE: NTD 149 / PHP 254 (More expensive because of the container. But they have normal cups with a more regular price.)

 


5. CHUN SHUI TANG

ADDRESS: B1, No. 9, Songshou Rd., Xinyi Dist Shinkong Mitsukoshi A9, Taipei

ORDER: Bubble Milk Tea

MILK TEA: You could taste the tea more in this drink than the milk, which is something that I like. The owner of this brand (Mr. Liu Han-Chieh) introduced iced milk tea to the world. :)

PEARLS: Small and slightly chewy

PRICE: NTD 85 / PHP 145

 


6. COME BUY TEA

ADDRESS: Inside the Foodcourt of Taoyuan Airport Terminal 2

ORDER: Roasted Oolong Milk Tea with Original Bubbles

MILK TEA: Among all the drinks we tried in Taiwan, this has the best milk tea flavor for me. Even after drinking it, you could still enjoy the aromatic flavor of it in your mouth. It has the perfect balance of milk, tea, and ice in it.

PEARLS: Unfortunately, I was not a fan of their pearls. They used white, chewy ones that weren’t coated in sugar. It had a slight grainy texture too.

PRICE: NTD 90 / PHP 153

Hollywood Walk of Fame

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of visiting Hollywood with the family. Our aunt toured us around the area, including the famous Hollywood sign and Walk of Fame.

As soon as we got out of the car, I hurriedly walked along the stars with a camera on hand, ready to take snapshots of the stars of the actors and musicians that I see on the screen! It was a fun experience, knowing that these people, at least once, walked on the same streets. Some of them even left their signatures and hand and feet prints on the cement. I was definitely starstruck! These people were amazing in their respective crafts!

However, towards the end of our tour, as we walked back towards the parking lot, I noticed that some of the stars along the Walk of Fame aren’t in good condition anymore. Aside from the dirt, there were cracks and faded gold names on them too. When I passed by a star without any name on it, it made me think about the possibilities of fame in my life and being recognized for achievements like all the others who had stars!

But, I was reminded that fame and success should never be the goal of my heart and hands. For just like the stars on the ground, these earthly riches will eventually fade away. Indeed, there is danger in pursuing things that are here today, but gone tomorrow.

Instead, as I live, love, and serve in this life, I pray that I will be like the stars in the sky, that give glory to the Everlasting One who made them; who made me. 

Psalm 148:3 “…praise Him, all you shining stars.”

Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

My Secret Getaway: Touch of Glory Prayer Mountain

Well, I guess it is not a secret anymore. Haha. At first, I did not want to share this place with you because it would mean that I would disclose one of my treasured secret getaway spots with the Lord. But, I decided to still let you know about this because I do want to encourage you to intentionally set aside time just for you and Jesus.

I have been to the Touch of Glory Prayer Mountain (Antipolo) for five times already: twice with my discipleship group from church and thrice by myself. I know that there are other prayer mountains and retreat areas to choose from. However, I personally enjoy this one because it is just an hour away from home and it has a good balance of nature and civilization. I enjoyed having accountability at the mountain with my group from church two years ago. But, nothing beats being alone with the Lord in the mountain for an extended period of time.

My introverted self cannot express how much of a joy this is too. This year, He allowed me to clearly hear from Him as I opened up my heart and placed my fears and concerns at His feet. He has been faithful in reminding me of His truths and promises for me and in revealing to me the things in my heart and life that I need to let go of and surrender to Him.

I usually stay overnight at the place because a day trip would not be enough for me. However, when I do get the chance, I spend three days and two nights in the place too. We have the option of staying in the dormitory (separate dormitories for men and women) which is around Php 350/night or to rent a private room which costs around Php 800-Php 3,500/night, depending on the type of room and number of people.

Because I like to have my own space, I usually avail a private room worth Php 900. It has a bed (good for 1-2 people), a private bathroom (with a heated shower), a chair and table, an electric fan, and an air-conditioner. Some rooms have closets too. For the exact room rates, you may refer to the photo below. Also, for more details, you can check their FACEBOOK page. If you are bringing a car, you can also search it using Waze.

This prayer mountain is not the biggest I’ve been to but it provides enough areas for one to have quiet times. The place has a church/chapel inside the compound, a cafeteria (which serves regular-tasting meals/snacks and canned/bottled drinks), a veranda below the cafeteria overlooking the mountains and trees, prayer huts, prayer cells, a big garden area with three bigger huts and a small court, plantations of homegrown vegetables, a souvenir shop, a pond area with a few wooden chairs, spacious open areas where people can meet under trees, and a parking lot just outside the compound which can accommodate around 10 vehicles.

Check-in is at 2 pm, while check-out is at 12 nn. However, if you arrive by 1 pm, sometimes, the room is already available for check-in. You can communicate with them in advance. They also entertain late check-outs whenever they do not have events. I usually go there on Saturday and leave on Sunday. But, if you have time to visit on weekdays, I would suggest this instead because they usually have more people coming in on Sundays, which might hinder you from experiencing more quiet and peaceful moments.

Also, I bring snacks, fruits, and a water tumbler with me whenever I go to the prayer mountain. I find this very useful especially in between hours when I feel sleepy or hungry. If ever you plan to do so, just make sure to throw the trash in the bins outside of the rooms because ants will find their way to your opened snacks, even if you try to seal them tightly. They do serve rice meals in the cafeteria, but they do not have a lot of options for snacks and fruits. You can also refill your water tumbler by using their water dispensers. If I’m not mistaken, refilling 500ml of cold or lukewarm water will cost around Php 5.00. A cup of hot water from the cafeteria will also cost Php 5.00.

In addition, the place has a relatively good signal for Globe and Cellular data (3G). In the garden area, you can get LTE. But of course, as much as possible, while you are there, I suggest that you limit (if not, fast) yourself from using the internet since this will most likely be a distraction.

Personally, I found it helpful to create an itinerary for myself before going up the mountain. This helps me stay focused on my objectives and desires in having solitude time with the Lord. I cannot wait to go back again and spend time with Him on the mountain. There is just something unique about knowing Him more through nature and the most random things outside of your home or your usual quiet time spots.

Here are some of the moments I’ve had with God on the mountain:

PAINTED SKIES
“You’re His child and that will always be enough.” As I was watching the sunset change the colors of the sky, this line was playing on my phone. It is from 4Him’s song “Measure of a Man”. The sunset had soft pink, purple, orange, and blue tones (Unfortunately, my phone wasn’t able to capture its beauty.). At that moment, I felt my Heavenly Father re-assure me that I am His child and that He is more than enough for me. It was as if He was literally painting colored skies in front of me.

LITTLE BOY
A random kid was running up and down the stairs beside the veranda where I was staying at. After a few runs, he went near me and asked: “Are you praying? Are you reading?” I said: “Yes!” Then, he skipped away. A few minutes later, he returned and asked me again: “What are you doing?” Then, I replied: “I’m praying and reading.” He said: “Are you reading the Bible?” Then, I said: “Yes”. He replied: “Okay!” and ran off while calling his dad. I found the situation funny. But, I also appreciated how innocent and pure it was. It reminded and encouraged me to have a childlike faith (humble, eager, honest, and joyful) as I continue spending time with the Lord.

COOL BREEZE
I was pouring my heart out to God and confessing the filth in it while I was alone in the garden area. I knew that I was not honoring God in the way I responded to different types of people. Then, He revealed to me how Jesus was radical in responding to difficult people; in extending the love and grace of God to them. My heart broke as my eyes watered because I knew and felt that God was urging me to follow Jesus’ example. Just when this was happening, I felt a long, cool breeze continuously blow towards me. It was a calming and heartbreaking moment for me. I remember saying this out loud: “Jesus is in my heart. Through Him, I can do all things!” (Philippians 4:13)

10:10
A plantation of leafy greens caught my attention because of the contrast between the two container beds. One was abundant with fruitful harvest. While the other one was a mess with leftover scraps. It immediately reminded me of John 10:10 and how Jesus wants me to have an abundant life with Him. “What is stopping me from experiencing this?”

Whether or not you go up to this specific mountain, my secret getaway, it is my prayer that you and I will get to experience Jesus in a deeper and more personal way this year.

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere…” –Psalm 84:10

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13

“Draw near to God  and He will draw near to you…” – James 4:8

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About Me

My name is Nicole Obligacion and I started this blog because I was inspired by Hebrews 10:24 and Hebrews 3:13. I love to eat, cook, bake, read the Bible, and encourage. :)

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