Have a spare day in Taipei and just want to get out of the bustling city? Consider a trip to Yangmingshan National Park, which is located in northern Taipei City and is easily accessible from XiMen or Taipei Main Station. The Yangmingshan National Park spans across an entire area of 114 square metres and is the home to numerous greenery, wildlife, hiking trails, as well as the famous sulphuric hot springs!
Looking for day trips? Check out our blog post on the 3 best day trips out of Taipei City Centre.
When to head to Yangmingshan National Park?
No matter which season you visit, Yangmingshan boasts plenty of activities and sights! In fact, the scenery of the park changes according to the seasons; during the flowering season in February and March, cherry blossoms and rhododendrons fill the mountain slopes, welcoming Spring! So you don't just get to see cherry blossoms in Japan or in Korea, but in Taiwan too!
Just before summer arrives, the various hiking trails at Yangmingshan are popular with the locals. In October, the mountains are covered with a golden red hue by maple leaves. Autumn rains then also bring along beautiful rainbows. Even when in winter where there is an absence of flowers, the cold monsoon weather create clouds puffs that gives the mountain a misty and mysterious feel. On much colder days, there may even be snow falling on the mountains! The cold weather also means that it is a great time to soak in the hot springs! :)
How to get to Yangmingshan National Park?
To get to the park via public transport, it does require quite a number of changes. The easiest way is to take a metro to Jiantan Station where you will have to transfer to bus 260 or minibus number 5. If you're not sure where to get off, you can ask the driver or simply follow the crowd. Most passengers who are on the bus are intending to head to the national park too!
The entire journey can take close to an hour so if you do not want to waste that time transferring and riding the bus that usually does not have sufficient seats, you may want to purchase the Yangmingshan Shuttle Bus that would whisk you from Ximen to the various attractions in the national park! You could also combine it with a hot springs trip (pickup from your hotel in Taipei) as the area there is known to have great baths, with the water containing healing minerals.
Where should you go when in Yangmingshan National Park?
Since the national park is humongous, some may actually be quite confused as to where exactly should they go in Yangmingshan National Park. As a day trip, you can travel from attraction to attraction to fully immerse yourselves in the beauty of nature in the mountainous region!
Flower Clock (花鐘)
For those heading to Yangmingshan to gaze at the flowers, this is where you would want to head to! The popular flower clock is beautifully decorated with flowers and at each season, the surrounding area just opposite of the flower clock would be filled with lots of seasonal flowers. Also known as the centrepiece of the park, this would usually be one of your first stop.
The visitor centre can be found nearby and don't forget to check out the large fountain and the Guangfu Building (光復樓) located just a short walk down. The building itself is considered a symbol of the national park. This elegantly decorated, two-storey Chinoiserie edifice was completed in 1971, marking the 60th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution.
Datun Falls (大屯瀑布)
Just a short 500metres from the flower clock is the Datun Falls. Although you really cannot expect something like the ShiFen Waterfall, although the word 大, meaning big in mandarin is in its name.
If you take the trail and walk further down, you'll get to see a more beautiful sight of the falls!
In this post-volcanic geological park, you'll get to see and smell the sulphuric fumaroles, sulphur crystals and hot springs. When you first get to this area, your nostrils will quickly notice the pungent rotten eggs smell, but you'll get used to it quickly and almost not notice that it is there. For travellers with younger children, you may just want to bring a few masks to "hide" the fumes a little.
At this area, you will also find a hiking trail that leads all the way up to the top of Qixing Mountain, Yangmingshan's highest peak, offering the best view of Taipei city.
Zhuzihu is a quaint local farming village that is hidden away in Yangmingshan. It is also the location to gaze at the Calla Lillies. The surrounding volcanoes in the region initially created a lava-dammed lake in this area in which the unique geology later became extremely advantageous for farming such as rice paddies and unique flora varieties.
If you will be heading to Yangmingshan sometime between March to May, you would have to make a trip to see the field of white calla lilies at full bloom. You can even collect and purchase these calla lilies during that time. Some flower related events and festivals will also be held at that period.
Due to its location, sometimes, these calla lilies may be seen shrouded in mist, which further adds to its mysterious and maybe even romantic view!
Lengshuikeng is loosely translated as a cold water pit but it is not exactly cool at all. The name was derived due to the fact that the water pit is cooler than others in the area, great for those travelling to Yangmingshan in the summer months and do not wish to further heat up their bodies sitting in 40 degree celsius water.
The public hot spring building (males and females are separated and you must enter nude) is quite popular with the locals and tourists but if you do not wish to head inside, you can also venture out to the outdoor foot-soaking pool. All of these hot springs are free of charge!
You may also be interested in 7 things to do at Taipei's Beitou Hot Springs's - Xinbeitou, Taipei, Taiwan.
Overall, Yangmingshan certainly makes for a great day trip given that you'll enjoy vast green spaces situated close to the giant skyscrapers of Taipei's city. Do keep a lookout for the beautiful wildlife in the park too! :)