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Spirited Away

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Jiufen, Jinguashi, & Shuinandong- Exploring the History and Scenery of Three Attractive Tourist Towns in Northeast Taiwan

Text: Richard Saunders Photos: Vision Int’l Fine food, fascinating traditional Chinese culture, and outstanding natural beauty are three things for which Taiwan is justly renowned among visitors. These are perhaps the three biggest reasons why few places within easy reach of the capital city are quite as popular as the little villages of Jiufen, Jinguashi, and Shuinandong. Teahouse in Jiufen These quaint settlements, seemingly locked in a time warp, are atmospheric open-air museums highlighting one of Taiwan’s most fascinating eras. Factor in an outstanding setting – clinging to the steep slopes of a cluster of extinct volcanoes overlooking a wide sweep of the Pacific Ocean – and marvelous old teahouses and restaurants, and a visit to the area makes for one of the most interesting and scenic days possible exploring north Taiwan. Alley in Jiufen Jiufen (九份) owes its existence to gold (which was discovered in the hills behind the…