Nestled against the mountains and hemmed in by the sea are Jiufen (九份; Jiǔfèn) and its neighbour Jinguashi (金瓜石; Jīnguāshí), 10 minutes by bus away from Jiufen's main road. These two villages are the quaintest stops along the northeast coast. Both were mining centres during the Japanese era, and by the 1930s Jiufen was so prosperous it was known as 'Little Shanghai'. Jinguashi later became notorious during WWII as the site of the prisoner-of-war camp Kinkaseki.
Any trip to the area should leave time to wander the hills and check out old mining facilities in different stages of photogenic dilapidation in Jinguashi. If you can imagine a grassy landscape, with a rugged topography dominated by jagged shale peaks and steep slopes dropping into the sea, dotted by desolate structures, then you've pictured something of this extraordinary bit of Taiwan.