Listen – I never could resist a shot (or two, or three) of tequila at night, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t do other things, okay? I mean, it’s called being multi-dimensional. Like sometimes I prefer vodka, sometimes I prefer gin – you feel me? But I also like nature sh-t as much as anyone else, and I have the experience to prove it. One of the benefits about being freelance is that I can go on little adventures throughout the week. I was way more adventurous when I initially moved here, but over the three years I’ve been in Taipei, though – I’ve come to stick to my tried-and-true classics: no fussing with the map, no looking up GPS coordinates – you know the trail and the markings; and of course the nature is as beautiful as ever. Nature is so incredibly accessible in Taiwan, and in great variety as well (including alpine forests, who would have guessed) – it’s a crime to miss out on it.
I’m also the kind of person that wants a hike with a point – aka, a view. I am not hauling my ass up hundreds of stairs without seeing something beautiful at the end. So all of these hikes I’m recommending have a stunning vantage point
Foreigners pretty much got the Taiwan hiking blogging game on lock – so there are tons of resources you can find that will detail exactly how to get to these places – just google it. I’m being generous with the time estimates here, including the time it takes to get yourself there, lag on the trail, eat food, etc.
Here’s my personal list of the best Taipei day hikes:
• Whole Day – Yuemeikang Waterfall: Since I wrote about it for VSCO, it’s hardly my secret waterfall anymore, but she’s a beauty – always impressive. I used these directions to get there – although keep in mind: it looks different every time. Friends and I went after Typhoon Soudelor and it was unrecognisable. It’s not a long hike, but it’s quite difficult – especially with the constantly changing conditions of the trail. After the waterfall hike, reward yourself by having a soak in the Jiaoxi Hotspring Park – totally naked.
Alternately, you can do the Sandiaoling Waterfall Trail – which is resplendent with waterfalls. Then go and eat all those calories back at the mountain towns of Shifen or Jiufen. I feel like this post is a good resource and gives incredibly detailed instructions, as well as recommendations on what to eat post-hike.
• Half Day – Battleship Rock: Try not to go on a weekend, as the aforementioned rock gets incredibly crowded. Other than that, it’s a walk from the nearest MRT station, then through a university, then onto a trail with panoramic views. Avoid it on a cloudy day, though – as the views all around are the best part.
• Few Hours – Elephant Mountain: I wrote a post about it here. With the opening of Elephant Mountain MRT, it’s much easier to get there, but it hasn’t diminished the view. Gets me every time.
I’ve done tons of other day hikes within Taipei, such as Tianmu Old Trail, the Four Beasts but I’ve never found them to be very interesting or rewarding apart from, well – calories burned. I want to explore more of Yangmingshan (this blog is a great resource) – but my next challenge is the Pingxi Crags.
Images by Sean Marc Lee for VSCO