We planned on waking up at 6:30am to explore the streets of Jiufen before the crowds arrived, but it was raining so hard. So instead we sat in bed and Jives made us coffee. We waited until 8:30am and packed up our stuff before heading down to the main building for breakfast. Breakfast was a variety of interesting dishes: cucumbers, butter melon, a fermented green veggie, tofu in soy sauce, some meat mush (that Jives had to eat), an egg, and a mushy rice porridge with sweat potato in it (toast too).
After finishing breakfast we grabbed our bags and headed down the hill in the rain, to catch the bus back to Ruifang. We weren’t sure what buses went down the hill to Ruifang station, so the first bus that went by, I asked the driver and he said “yes”!
The drive down the hill was super rainy and parts of the raid were flooded. We stood up for the journey, and hung on for our lives, as we descended the hill to Ruifang station. We bought our tickets for the train back to Taipei from the vending machine (make sure to click full fare and local train on the machine). The total cost of the trip for two people was 92 NTD. We asked the attendant what platform the train to Taipei was, and he directed us to platform #1. A friendly old man on the platform wanted to make sure we were in the right spot too (although I think he also wanted to practice his English). The train trip took about an hour to arrive back at Taipei Main Station.
From Taipei Main Station we were able to find the THSR ticketing booth, where we were able to exchange our High Speed Rail voucher we had purchased online through a company called Klook (we would recommend this company, it was pretty painless). The voucher we purchased was good for two people(there was a buy one get one free sale) to travel by high speed rail anytime on that day (October 31st). We went to the booth and presented our voucher (on my phone) and the lady did everything for us! She asked if we wanted to reserve seats or travel in the non reserve car, so we booked seats as it was free of charge.
The train left at 11:31am, so we had about 30 minutes to buy some snacks to eat on the HSR. The HSR is the only train you can eat on in Taiwan, on all other trains it is VERY ILLEGAL and you can face huge fines!! We showed our passport and ticket to the gate attendant and walked down the platform to our car.
The train was very much like the Japanese Shinkansen, but the platform was possibly even better outlined than in Japan!!!
We boarded the train and left exactly on time. On the train we had an egg sandwich, chips and coffee.
The total trip took 1 and 1/2 hours, but keep in mind we travelled the entire length of Taiwan in this journey!!
We arrived in Kaohsiung around 1pm and were able to use out easy cards to take the MRT to Formosa Boulevard, where our airbnb was located.