Similarly to 侯硐 and it’s cats, 十分 (Shih fen) is a town that grew up around mining and now has created it’s own tourism niche. 十分 is famous for three reasons: it’s waterfalls, sky lanterns (as is 平溪 district generally) and the railway line which runs through the street. I spent yesterday afternoon enjoying the sunshine there…

Getting to 十分 on the train from 台北 is easy, but not very quick - about 90 minutes each way. Two things you should know:

  • You can only use a 悠遊卡 (EasyCard / Yo-yo card) to get to 瑞芳 (Rueifang), where you have to change trains. From 瑞芳 to anywhere on the 平溪 line, you need to buy a paper ticket, ~20NT$. Despite the numerous signs and announcements to this effect, I spotted several people getting assisted by the train conductor upon discovery that they were travelling without a ticket.

  • Contrary to quite a few web articles I’d read about visiting 十分 you don’t need to, and shouldn’t, walk all the way along the railway track to get to the waterfalls - you’ll get mushed by a train! Follow the signs along the road, it takes about 20 minutes. When you get to the road fork and there is a waterfall sign pointing in both directions, you can go in either direction. I’d suggest the right-then-left-u-turn i.e. the lower road to get to the falls. Come back via the Eyeglass waterfall, across the suspension bridge, and you’ll find that’s the higher road - a nice circular route.

Shih fen waterfall (十分瀑布): Taiwan's little Niagra!, 臺灣平溪區, 2013年8月
Sky lanterns on the railway track, 臺灣十分, 2013年8月
Pretty lanterns, decorated 平溪 train and controversial(?) "progress" - the landscape is unequivocally changed by a new bridge, 臺灣十分, 2013年8月