Monday, March 11, 2019

Taipei Nature Trip: Yangmingshan National Park and Yehliu Geopark

For those wanting to immerse in nature, there are nature spots within an hour and a half of Taipei City.

Yangmingshan National Park is 113 square kilometers in area and there are many scenic spots: Yangmingshuwu (used by Chiang Kai Shek as a summer house), Xiaoyoukeng (trail to see fumaroles and volcanic cones), Erziping (flat trail around three ponds), Zhuzihu (farming village with a field of calla lilies), Datun Nature Park, Lengshuikeng (an area with a hot spring, a hot spring foot bath, and some hiking trails), Qingtiangang (grassland) among others.

We ended up just sightseeing in two areas of the park: Qingtiangang and Lengshuikeng. I had planned for us to hike from Qingtiangang to Lengshuikeng, but the trail was closed—to the relief of my non-hiking companions. The undulating grassy view of Qingtiangang was a pretty sight, but it was all be could do: look. There was not much else to do at Qingtiangang so we just took the next bus to Lengshuikeng. At Lengshuikeng, there was a public hot spring bath (none of us dared go naked), a hot spring foot bath (I tried it, it was not too hot), a trail up the mountain (I went up a little ways to check out the view, but did not continue on to the peak since my companions sat it out and were waiting at the trail head), and Jingshan Suspension Bridge (which leads to Qingtiangang).

Directions: There are many ways to get to Yangmingshan National Park, it depends on where you want to go. We wanted to go the grasslands of Qingtiangang so we went to Jiantan Station, and from there took Minibus S15 to Yangmingshan National Park. The last stop of Minibus S15 is Qingtiangang. To get around the park, you can take Shuttle 108 (15 NTD per ride, or buy a one-day pass for 60 NTD).

Tip: For bus information, visit the Taipei eBus website.


Hot spring foot bath at Lengshuikeng

Hiking trail

View of the hot spring bath and the main road from the hiking trail

Jingshan Suspension Bridge

Yehliu Geopark
Open daily 8AM to 5PM
Admission fee 80 NTD

For seaside scenery and interesting rock formations, spend some time at Yehliu Geopark, just an hour and a half bus ride from Taipei City.

Yehliu Geopark is about 1.7 kilometers in length. Weather and erosion has shaped the rocks in Yehliu to look like a queen's head, mushrooms, candles, honeycomb, ice cream, tofu, and even a shoe. The park has pathways and observation decks, but there are some areas where visitors can get close to the rock formations.

Yehliu is a famous tourist spot and some portions can get crowded, especially at the queen’s head rock, a rock formation almost everyone wants to take a photo of. Most visitors spend their time in the areas where the mushroom rocks (including the queen’s head) are and don’t bother to go further north. There are more rock formations in the northern portion of the park, but the formations can only be viewed from afar. 

Directions: At Kuo Kuang Bus Terminal 野柳地質公園 (near Taipei Main Station), take Bus 1815 to Yehliu (98 NTD, 90 minutes).

Tip: For bus information, visit the Taipei eBus website.


Yehliu Geopark

Tofu rocks partially submerged


Elephant Mountain

Elephant Mountain is in the Xinyi District of Taipei City. There is a trail (tons of stairs) that can be climbed in just 20 minutes (or so they say). The reward at the top of Elephant Mountain is a view of Taipei (and Taipei 101). 

I wanted to add this to our itinerary. But, as I mentioned, my companions weren't into hiking. They'd probably kill me if I made them hike up a mountain, stairs or no stairs.

Directions: Take the MRT to Xiangshan Station, then take exit 2. Follow the path along Xiangshan Park. At the end of the road, take a left and follow the road until you reach the trail head (stairs!) on your left.

Taipei 2019
Taipei Accommodation: Haozhan Hotel
Taoyuan Airport MRT

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