My first instinct is to smack talk a place that has become as popular as Jiufen.  That's my nature.  I'm a contrarian douche.  I won't do it here though.  I still like this place.
Despite the narrow mountain roads being jammed up with tour buses, despite the huge crowds on the weekends that make it impossible to walk anywhere, and despite the fact that it rains nearly every day I still recommend coming.  
I hope these pictures illustrate why.
The immediate outskirts of Jiufen have abandoned buildings next to steep cliff-sides in front of the ocean.  Remnants of the mining enterprise are scattered throughout.
Access to some areas might be blocked off, and stray dogs also tend to come out of nowhere.  Most of them are nice though, like the one below.
Those seeking a bit more exercise and adventure can head up to Teapot Mountain.  The trail is especially fun at the end when you have to use ropes to climb through a small cave to get to the peak.
Finally, head into town and grab some great snacks, bubble tea, and photo ops with lanterns.  There are plenty of hostels for those hoping to spend the night and give themselves more time to explore the area.  ​​​​​​​
I would spend one night here if I were coming to Taiwan only once and wanted to see everything pictured on this page.  Nighttime here is magical.
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