Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園) is located north of Beitou between Taipei and New Taipei city. It is about 115 sq km in area, and is a collection of peaks. This park is known for its hot springs, cherry blossoms, colorful flowers and hiking trails, including Seven Star Mountain or Mount Qixing (七星山) which is Taiwan tallest dormant volcano at about 1,120 m, and its peak is also the highest point in Taipei City. Unfortunately, our visit to Yangmingshan was a flop, as we didn’t do any prior research/ planning. Truly regretted it. We simply hopped on a cab, thinking we could plan our time after we got to the mountains. We were dropped off at the garden area, hoping to catch the cherry blossoms but the season was just over 😦 The garden was still colourful and we could imagine how beautiful it would have been with the cherry blossoms. The visitors’ center in that area was closed and the signs there were rather badly labelled. So, after visiting the gardens/ park (which were okay for old folks and kids, but weren’t really exciting), we walked for 30 minutes hoping to find the key hiking trails without success, before deciding to proceed to the next item on our itinerary. We realized upon returning to Singapore that some of our friends were stranded on the wrong end of Yangmingshan before too. Anyway, here are pictures and the tips that we picked up along the way. Please plan your route before you go and make sure you arrive at the “right” part of the mountain! Getting there We took a cab through Uber for just NT430 from Da’an to Yangmingshan which is really cheap. Most cabs will charge you a flat rate of NT300 just to head up the mountain from the Beitou area/ foot of the hill. It is also a great idea to go up earlier (say 9am or so), as the traffic can get very bad by late morning, especially during the weekends. Alternatively, there are many bus options. Bus 260 leaves for the Yangmingshan Park every ten minutes from outside Taipei Main Station and takes about forty minutes costing NT$30 per pax. Bus Red 5 leaves for the park every 15 minutes from Jiantan MRT Station. Bus 230 leaves every thirty minutes from Beitou. Mini-bus #15 departs hourly from Beitou for Zhuzi Hu (Bamboo Lake). Trails and sights. There are many trails for half day to full day hikes, like Zhuzi Hu, Erziping, Xiaoyoukeng and Qingtiangang. The official yangmingshan website is packed with great information about the differential trails, as well as the weather conditions etc. for planning purposes. Some of the trails have very steep elevation and can be slippery, so do research your itinerary in advance. For our next visit, we have our sights set on Mount Qixing (七星山), the tallest mountain in the Taipei area. Here is a great blog article that covered the trail in some detail. [As an aside, we tried our first Pig Blood Cake (猪血糕) there. It includes dried pigs blood, glutinous rice and other ingredients. The “cake” was coated in peanut powder and sprinkled with parsley before being served…a strange mix of sweet and salty, with a gooey glutinous rice texture. A novel experience, though one is probably enough for us :p] If you are into mountain trails and hiking, do check out the Taroko National Park at Hualien too!
Also check out our pick on the top 10 things to do in Taiwan! 🙂