Tours in Taipei: Exploring the Northeast Coast of Taiwan

Jiufen A Mei Tea House
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Rocks, Golden Waterfall and a Beautiful Alley: Exploring the Northeast Coast of Taiwan

With everyone onboard including our hilarious tour guide, we hopped on the bus and headed towards unfamiliar direction. It was raining hard from the moment we left Taipei till we reach our first stop. At first, I thought Taiwan is just another Urban Jungle but this Northeast Coast proved me wrong. The rugged terrain of the the Northeast Coast of Taiwan reminds me of Batanes. Our local tour guide was right, the place is a haven for adventure-seeking travelers. This is what I love about traveling, there are hidden surprises in each destination that will let you appreciate it’s culture and it’s natural wonders.

En route to Nanya Rock Formations
En route to Nanya Rock Formations

I was recently invited to visit Philippines’s northern neighbor, Taiwan. This is part of the Inaugural flight and launching of AirAsia’s Manila – Taipei flight, where I, along with other Filipino travel bloggers, were made to explore the beautiful city Taipei, and other parts of Taiwan for the first time with the carrier. Our first day in Taiwan was mostly just resting at the hotel, unpacking my baggage and roaming around the night market. The second day was when our real adventure started.

Also Read: Eight Things I Love About Taiwan

Exploring the Northeast Coast of Taiwan

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We started our second day in Taiwan early. After eating our breakfast in the hotel, we headed out and prepared ourselves for more than an hour trip to the northern coast of Taiwan.

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Our first stop for the day was the town of Nanya, which is known for its natural rock formations. The skies were gloomy on our way, and indeed, when we reached Nanya to witness its natural rock formations, the rain started pouring. However, I think the rain only added more to my appreciation of the geological wonders that stood before me.

Nanya Rock formation on the Northeast Coast of Taiwan
Nanya Rock formation on the Northeast Coast of Taiwan
Melo Villareal at Nanya Rock Formations photo by Manuel Chua
Melo Villareal at Nanya Rock Formations photo by Manuel Chua

Nanya is a small town located in the northern edge of Taiwan. It is known for its natural rock formations and coralline shorelines. The rock formations are formed by the constant splashing of the waves on them, and I found it really amazing how the aggressive process of weathering formed such beautiful and graceful rock formations. Moreover, the brown and red rock formations contrasted greatly with the color of the greenish blue shoreline and azure waters of Taiwan.

Fun Shot ontop of a Rock Formation in Nanya, Northeast Coast of Taiwan photo by Manuel Chua
Fun Shot ontop of a Rock Formation in Nanya, Northeast Coast of Taiwan photo by Manuel Chua

I think the rain that came with us during our visit was perfect. The surrounding vegetation became greener due to the precipitation, and the sounds of the raindrops on my umbrella served as the perfect background music for my experience.

Coastal Town of Nanya
Coastal Town of Nanya

After breathing in a lot of that healthy, sea-side air and taking a lot of pictures, we headed back to our bus to get to our next destination, the renowned Golden Falls in Jinguashi, which is just a few kilometers east of our first stop. Since the concrete roads of northern Taiwan overlook the sea, we were able to pass by the Bay of Two Colors. Our bus driver was kind enough to slow down so that we could see the Bay and take pictures.

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The Bay of Two Colors is famous for having, well, a blend of two colors. It was raining during our trip so it was very hard to see the two hues in the water, but the mixing colors come from the natural azure of the water and the metallic colors of the mineral leaks from the nearby gold mining village.

Jinguashi Golden Falls aka Golden Waterfalls
Jinguashi Golden Falls aka Golden Waterfalls

We got to Jinguashi Golden Falls where the skies slightly started clearing. The waterfalls got its name from its golden waters. Of course, the water is not made of gold; it’s just gold-colored. The water form gets its color from mineral leaks from the nearby Gold Ecological Park and the regular rainfall in the area. The heavy metallic deposits on the water make the waterfalls acidic so it’s sadly not for swimming, despite it looking so refreshing. Nevertheless, the golden color of the waterfalls makes it a scenery that looks like a clip from a romantic movie. It’s very relaxing to look like, and is definitely the perfect backdrop for a selfie.

Golden Waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfall in Taiwan
Golden Waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfall in Taiwan

It was already nearing lunchtime when we headed out for our next destination—Jiufen Village. Jiufen Village, sometimes pronounced “Chiufen”, used to be an isolated northern Taiwanese town. When the Japanese came to Taiwan in the 1890s, the colonizers saw the quaint town’s rich reservoir of gold. It was then when the Japanese transformed the town into a gold-mining village. Presently, Jiufen is no longer active as it was in the gold mining industry, but its culture continues to live on.

Tourists walk down famed steps in Jiufen
Tourists walk down famed steps in Jiufen

The Japanese roots of the small village of Jiufen was very evident. The village had labyrinthine alleyways and colorful streets. My inner foodie was also awakened when I saw a wide variety of snacks being sold! I was able to try food like “yu yuan”, or taro balls, which was sold in small cups; a helping of steamed taro cakes, and another helping of herbal rice cakes.

Jiufen Old Street alley
Jiufen Old Street alley
Jiufen A Mei Tea House
Jiufen A Mei Tea House

Just a few minutes later, we had a full-course luncheon meal in Jiufen A Mei Tea House – one of the old restaurants in the village.

luncheon meal in Jiufen A Mei Tea House
luncheon meal in Jiufen A Mei Tea House

After lunch, we set out for our last stop for the day, Taipei 101 Observatory, which was located in the inner part of Taipei.

View from the base of Taipei 101
View from the base of Taipei 101

Taipei 101 Observatory, standing proudly at over 500 meters tall, is one of the tallest buildings in the entire world. The building overlooks the entire scenery of the picturesque Taiwan.

Taipei 101 Mall
Taipei 101 Mall

From the 5th floor, we rode the world’s fastest elevator to get to the 89th floor. It only took as about 40 seconds to get from the 5th floor to the 89th floor! The 89th floor, or the Indoor Observatory, is nearly 400 meters above the ground and gave me an excellent, unobstructed view of Taiwan.

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Witnessing a panoramic view of Taiwan, as the burning red sun slowly set in the distant horizon, was an image that was etched into my memory, and served as the perfect ending scenery for my adventure in the northern coast of Taiwan.

How to get to Taipei from Manila

You can buy affordable flights from Manila to Taipei online via AirAsia. Flights are available for as low as $80 from Manila to Taipei, a journey that lasts for just over two hours. The good news is that the world’s famous low-cost airline, AirAsia has launched flights from Manila and Cebu in the Philippines to Taipei.  This guarantees cheap fares on the route every day of the week.

AirAsia Flight Schedule for Manila (MNL) to Taipei (TPE)

Flight Number From To Departure Arrival Frequency
Z2 128 MNL TPE 23:05 01:10 Daily
Z2 129     TPE MNL 01:35 03.45 Daily

AirAsia Flight Schedule for Cebu (CEB) to Taipei (TPE)

Flight Number From To Departure Arrival Frequency
Z2 7124 CEB TPE 06:35 09:25 Wednesday
CEB TPE 06:10 09:05 Friday and Sunday
Z2 7125 TPE CEB 10:20 13:10 Wednesday
TPE CEB 10:10 13:00 Friday
TPE CEB 10:30 13:20 Sunday

Visa-Free Travel to Taiwan for Filipinos

Filipinos can now visit Taiwan even without a visa. The Visa-free in Taiwan offer is only limited to Filipino travelers who has had valid Visa entries from the US, Australia, Japan, Korea, Canada or any Schengen country. Read More: Travel Visa-free in Taiwan for Filipino Travelers: Here’s How

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