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Friday, November 23, 2012

Shifen 十分 @ Taiwan

Located amidst the moutains of Taiwan, and similar to how Jiufen derives its name, Shifen is a scenic rural town built by ten families a long time ago and is most well-known for the railway tracks and the majestic Shifen Waterfall 十分瀑布.

Directions to Shifen

1. From Taipei Main Station, take the Taiwan Railway Adminstration (TRA) heading eastward bound to Shifen Station. Train ride takes approximately 1 hour from the city.

Shifen is also famous for its traditional sky lanterns, which wishes are written on it and sent into the high heavens. The best time to launch the sky lanterns is at dusk or during the sky lantern festival, but you can see people sending their wishes as early as in the morning.

Functional railway tracks run between the old street, therefore be warned of incoming trains! The train honks proudly and security will chase everyone out of the tracks. Most tourists would then whipped out their cameras and start flashing at the train as if it is some kind of superstar.


We thought that cake moulded in the shape of the iconic sky lantern is adorable so we decided to give it a try. It comes in a few assorted flavours, like custard, cheese and chocolate.

There are a few suspension bridges (like the one below) in Shifen offering good views of the greeneries and the streams below.

The bridges would tremble mildly, but don't worry for they have some sturdy support (not me, holding that, I'd probably scream and run for my life if the bridge start to snap.)

We head towards the main attraction (which is Shifen Waterfall) - a 30 minutes walk from the station. It wasn't exactly rewarding and disappointing when we found out that the entrance to the waterfall is closed as it was getting dark at approximately 5pm. Therefore if you are visiting Shifen during winter, it would be strongly advisable to do so during the morning or early afternoons.

But well, the visitor centre gave us some postcards of Shifen (including the waterfall), which I guessed it meant something like a token of appreciation for walking all the way there.

We shrugged off the disappointment as we headed back to set off our very own sky lantern. It comes in different colours and prices vary according to the number of colours. We chose a combination of red and white because it is our national colour and it meant hope(red) and future(white). A two-coloured lantern costs NT$140.
My written mandarin got rusty so I've got to ask girlfriend to help me out. Health, peace, longevity for our parents, bright future and wealth are some of the wishes we hoped for.

We requested a staff who seemed to act professional with all the burst shots and later ended up with 90% blurry photos. But anyway, here is our wishes flying off:

Happy Station located at the station sells Shifen-themed souvenirs, such as sky lantern keychains, postcards etc, but I would recommend getting your souvenirs at other shops as prices are more competitive and relatively much cheaper.

That's all for this rustic town, do look forward to my full Taiwan itinerary which is set to release next week, meanwhile do check out the other travel journals!