Yangmingshan National Park, Taipei, Taiwan

Top 10 Reasons to visit Yangmingshan National Park 

I really missed the mountains! Good thing Taiwan's Yangmingshan National park is a great place for hikers. People from all aged groups come here to roam around and climb some steep stairs. We actually planned to go to the highest point in the park which was Mt. Qixing, then we met this Singaporean girl on the bus and our plans changed. She mentioned Qingtiangan which is the exact place I saw on my friend's Instagram that draw me to this park. It got me pretty excited, so my friend and I decided to check out the place and see how it goes. The place was beautiful, we were surrounded by mountains from all corners and a wide expanse of green grass where people sat with their mats, umbrellas and picnic baskets. "The sound of music" from a classic movie in the 1960's played in my mind in a series of wonderful melodies. Let's go!

1. Great Location

The Yangmingshan National Park is not that far from the city. An hour's drive or commuting on a bus is not that big of a deal when you're out there traveling. Enjoy the time-consuming travel by chatting with friends, thinking about what you need to think about, feasting your eyes with an endless series of mountains and just be there. 

Where to stay that's nearby:
Check in: Here-There Hostel
Address: No. 28, Emei St, 4F.-1, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Phone:+886 2 2361 2061
4 days 3 nights
NT 3,800 - 2 bunk beds ( mixed room )

How to get there: 

Alight at Ximen MRT Station, take Exit 6, Cross the little pedestrian lane and once you see Watson keeping walking straight, passed by the 7'11 shop, a wide transparent door to a Hotel and the small street after that leads to the hostel. 

2. Convenient Transportation 

Address: Zhuzihu Road, Beitou District, Yangmingshan Taipei City 11292, Taiwan (ROC)

How to get there:
From Jiantian MRT Station, m Exit 1 to the bus terminal outside and take R5 (Red 5) or Bus 260 to Yangmingshan bus station. 
Travel time: 40-50 minutes
Bus fare: NT 15 ( pay by Easy Card )

From Yangmingshan bus station take Bus 108 to get to your desired place inside the park. The place is huge so a shuttle bus is provided for all hikers and tourists to go around the park's vicinity. 

3. No Entrance Fee

The park is for everyone and more importantly, it's for free. 

4. A different dining experience

Have a picnic in the park, lay down your mat or simply lie flat with your back on the ground and immerse yourself with nature. We always have our meal indoors where it's safe from the sun or the windy air, fully air-conditioned room and with people serving us, but why not try something different this time around. 

Don't forget to bring along your packed lunch along with a  bottled of water for your meal or snack in the park. Energy bars for hikers and preferably a 1 liter of water to keep you hydrated all throughout the day. I'm not quite sure about the other places in the park but there's a small store in Qingtiangang visitor center where they sell ice cream and bottled water. 

We bought a big bowl of cup noodles from 7'11 which says no need for hot water and its better eaten cold. It was something different and we love that, plus we purchased a banana, chewing gums and bottled water.

5. A good exercise

There's a short hike from one point to another, it depends on which area you plan to go. We went to the famous place in the park known as Qingtiangang then hike to the peak of Mt. Zhugao, which rises 830 meters to the south of Qingtiangang. Lose all those calories, don't give any excuses to gain weight on a holiday. 

It's always a wonderful feeling to have a friend who shares the same passion with you. We both love hiking, getting muscle trains and just sweat it out. Bear in mind that there are plenty of stairs to climb before you make it on top of the mountain, steep grounds to cover and the blazing heat of the sun that slows you down. Therefore, keep in mind to keep yourself hydrated all throughout the hike. Don't forget to sing along with the mountains, hum a song with your crazy friend and just laughed it out loud.

6. Great View

The peak of Mt. Zhugao offers a great view: From southwest part is the Huagang Plateau and Mt. Shamao, nearby scenery is the Taiwan Metropolitan Area, Linkou Plateau and Mt. Guanyin, far northwest is Mt. Qixing and Mt. Qigu, north is the level terrain of Qingtiangang and lastly to the east is Mt. Shiti and Mt. Ding. 

7. A different environment

Take a break from the city and be with nature. Take a break from the convenient transportation, the scheduled buses and on-timed trains. Take a break from the ever lazy escalators, "walkalators" , and elevators. Take a break from the sunset and moon barriers of the cities skyscrapers. Take a break from the air-conditioned facilities and experience the genuine feel of the wind against your skin.

Walk, run and jump in the park. Breath in the goodness, breath in the simplicity of being with nature. 

I've always been a fan of jump shots, it defines my joy of traveling. I feel literally high like having too much cough syrup, the joy needs to burst out from my system or else I'll blow up like a balloon. The only way to radiate that excitement inside my soul is to do a jump shot ahahaa.

8. Picture Perfect

This place is for all kinds of photographers, the "selfiegrapher", nature enthusiast, animal lovers and all sorts of photography. 

My friend got to practice her selfie stick skills, I tell you maneuvering that stick is quiet hard for amateurs like us. I always prefer the old ways, let's just say I'm an old soul living in this high-tech generation.

9. Get disconnected

This may seem daunting for others whose 24 hours connected to the internet but just try it. You will feel more relaxed and you'll be amazed at the beauty of your surroundings. Turn off or leave your phone in silent mode, try to avoid checking your inbox or notification every now and then. For me I always go airplane mode the whole time I'm traveling. But of course, I check on my folks at the end of the day and even send them pictures of my adventures. 

Being constantly online on your gadgets gives you this busy feeling and I don't like that. If I'm outdoors and most especially when I'm traveling I disconnect myself from the virtual world and connect myself to reality and to the real things in life. I guess that's why I'm hooked to traveling because the sense of wonders and amazements fills my soul and ignites my curiosity with the things I see and experience.

10. Relaxing Bath

After our hike in the National Park, it was time for a relaxing bath. 

How to get there: 
From the Yangmingshan National Park bus terminal take Bus 230 to Xin Bei Tou MRT. There are a few hot springs available in the area. You can hail a taxi to a famous Japanese Style Hot Spring Villa (taxi fare: NT 200). Choose from public bath or private bath, hot bath: NT 200. 

We didn't take the same bus going back to the Yangmingshan Bus terminal, instead, he hopped on the first bus we saw that drop by in Qingtiangan which went all to way to the MRT Station. A very bad idea so make sure you head back to the terminal. Then another thing happened again. Our plan was to go the Beitou's Outdoor Hot Spring however, we had a wrong turn and instead made our way to the Indoor Hot Spring. It was way cheaper but we had a big surprise when we went inside. Mind you it's my first time to be inside in one of these facilities. I read blogs about how surprising it is but its quiet different when you're really there. My friend and I were hesitant to be naked at first, but the grandmas were picking on us, asking us in mandarin to remove our clothes right away. It was embarrassing and the funniest, memorable experience in my whole Taiwan trip. Everyone inside the bath where in their late 40's plus plus plus. The grandma's or let's call them in dialect as "ahma" took care of us. Sign language and a big smile is truly the universal language  of the world. 

Keep in mind to be respectful, bath properly before getting in the warm tub, let's rephrase that, in the hot tub! Once you get the feel of the 35 degrees Celsius tub then you can proceed to the 40 degrees Celsius tub. 

We should always remember that wrongs turn are sometimes the right way, just because we came upon a place that is unusual and its not what we expected doesn't mean its a mistake or a terrible misfortune. Everybody has their own story in their travels, I don't have the perfect itinerary as my feet lead me to places I've never expected to be. At the end of the day, what matters most is how you perceived things. This is my story and I love wrong turns. Have fun and be safe ^__^

Check out more cool places in Taiwan:
Taiwan Travel Tips
Top 10 things you can do in Jiufen's Old Street

Have fun and be safe ^__^

Itinerary Reminders:

1. Flight Details
Make sure to write down your booking reference number, be at the airport two hours before your flight and allocate time for your travel to the airport.

2. Accommodation Details
Write down your hotel/motel/resort/BnB booking number. Contact your place to inform them around when you'll be arriving — it really does help.  Also, ask if your accommodation has any discounted activities.  You'd be surprised!

3a. Transportation
List possible times your bus/train/boat arrives and leaves so you don't miss an activity.  Always give yourself an extra 30-45 minutes in case you get lost, get stuck in traffic, or are looking for parking.  Better early than late.  Of utmost importance: check for the last trip and fares!  So you still have time and money to get back.

3b. Car Rentals
Take note of your pick-up address and time allotted.  Our last car rental told us to bring the car back by a certain time with a certain amount of gas.  Allot money for fuel and parking.

4. Budgeting
Set aside a minimum and maximum spending amount for meals, transportation, entrance fees, activities, souvenirs, and emergencies.  3 meals a day + snacks add up quickly, so keep track!  As well as tips for restaurants and activities.

5. Activities
Call to confirm your booking(s) a day or so beforehand.  Set alarms and/or calendar reminders for things you plan to do (i.e- bungee-jumping, river-rafting, or even city/food tours).

Do you want more adventure?
If you still have one more day to spare why not explore more, Release Sky Lanterns in Shifen, Taiwan and let your worries fly away.

Where am I going next?
My next adventure is to visit my sister in South Korea and visit the land where my favorite Korean dish "bibimbap" materialized in this world. 


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