With an inclination towards nature walks and greenery, I brought Tiantian and my team to Yangmingshan (阳明山) for a day trip. From what I heard, driving up the mountain might be the better option, but for the lack of it, we still managed tour around Yangmingshan with a dedicated tourist bus 108. Each single journey would cost 15NTD, while a one-day unlimited pass would cost 60NTD. However, the frequency of the buses are about 15-20 mins, so try not to miss one!
Maybe it was poor planning on my part, but when we first stopped at Zhuzihu (竹子湖), we had no idea what was there. (After reading more back at home, I realised we should have walked further to see some flowers) All we saw was a platform which allows one to oversee Taipei. After which, we moved on to Erziping (二子坪), where we first encountered the natural beauty of Yangmingshan.
After consulting a friendly park assistant, we started on a 1.7km obstacle-free trail, Erziping Trail (二子坪步道). Walking along the quiet path was a pleasure itself, it was an easy hike surrounded by tall green trees forming a half-covered canopy all along. But what greeted us at the end was better. At the end of the trail was a park with ecological ponds, picnic benches, toilets and a fantastic scenery of a rounded hill in distance.
Our last stop for the day was at Xiaoyoukeng (小油坑), a place where volcanic vents emit white clouds of gases and a pungent sulphur smell that can be detected even before you reach. Somehow it reminds me of the volcanic vents in Japan where you can cook an egg in! Besides viewing the vents itself, do hike up a really small hill (behind the visitors centre) to a viewing platform, which gives you a panaromic view of the mountainous area. Sweet.
By mid-afternoon, we called an end to our trip at Yangmingshan in a bid to visit Beitou for hot springs. Turned out to be a bad choice as we didn’t manage to find one in the end. In retrospect, I realised we missed a few other locations at Yangmingshan, such as the Yangming Park and Yangming Villa. If we were a little more sporty, we could also have hiked the trail up to Mount Qixing (七星山).
Directions: Take Red 5 bus from Jiantan metro station to the end, transfer to bus 108 to tour the area.