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Yangmingshan National Park | Conquering Taipei’s Highest Peak

Yangmingshan National Park is a mountain range located in northern Taiwan, north of Taipei. It is known for its hot springs, hiking trails and beautiful natural scenery. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, and is especially crowded during cherry blossom season in spring time.

Some of Yangmingshan’s main attractions include the Seven Star Mountain (Qixing Mountain), the Qingtiangang Grassland, and the Lengshuikeng Hot Springs. It is also home to a number of important cultural and historical sites, such as the Grass Mountain Chateau (former residence of late President Chiang Kai-shek), Yangmingshuwu and Chung Shan Hall.

How to get to Yangmingshan National Park

We took bus R5 (Red5/紅5) from Jiantan MRT Station and alighted at Yangmingshan Bus Terminal (last stop).

For more information on other bus routes (setting off from Taipei Main Station, Ximen MRT Station, Shilin MRT Station, Beitou MRT Station & more), please refer to this bus guide.

While I was trying to figure out where to go next, a friendly old uncle approached us and asked us where we wanted to go. I said we wanted to hike up to Lengshuikeng Visitor Centre instead of taking the bus and he kindly pointed us in the right direction.

If you don’t want to do this initial leg of the hike, you can take bus 108 from the Yangmingshan Bus Terminal to get to Lengshuikeng Visitor Centre and start your ascending from there. However, we were so ‘gung-ho’ then, we just wanted to ‘climb’ all the way up from the bottom, lol.

We walked about 250m to Section 1, Hushan Road, where we came across a 7-Eleven. So we went in to grab some sandwiches to fuel ourselves for the hike.

Thereafter, we walked another 350m to Section 2, Yangming Road, where the Chung-San Hall front entrance was. On the right hand side, there was this little road that marked the start of the Jingshan Road and Xinyuan Street Pedestrian Trail. We followed the directional signages and went all the way up.

By the way, if you intend to do this same route as us, instead of alighting at the last stop, you can alight 2 bus stops earlier at Teacher’s Center. From there, just need to walk straight ahead and you will come to this same Chung-San Hall front entrance.

Image source: Yangmingshan National Park’s website

This first part of the hike wasn’t as bad as it was on a stone path with low steps. Just had to pace ourselves and take short breaks whenever necessary.

Yangmingshan National Park

Lengshuikeng Visitor Centre

After about 1 hour and 20 minutes, we reached Lengshuikeng Visitor Centre. Took a toilet break here and also went around the vicinity to take pictures of the surrounding scenery.

There’s also a cafe at the visitor centre if you need any refreshments. We just got Pocari Sweat and a cheese tart to share.

Yangmingshan National Park

Milk Pond

Not far from the visitor centre, we came across the Milk Pond. No wonder it’s called the Milk Pond as the water is all white in colour. This area used to be a sulfur mine.

Lengshuikeng Hot Spring

Went to check out the hot spring area where some local residents were soaking their feet at the outside pool. There are also indoor hot springs that are segregated by gender and you enter the baths fully nude. All facilities are free of charge.

Lengshuikeng Pedestrian Trail

On the right hand side of the hot spring, you would see the start of the Lengshuikeng Pedestrian Trail. Off we went, scaling up the mountain!

Yangmingshan National Park

Yangmingshan National Park

Menghuan Pond Trail

From the pedestrian trail, we went on to Menghuan Pond trail. This trail offers great views of the surrounding peaks in the Yangmingshan National Park such as Mount Zhuzi, Mount Qigu, Mount Dajianhou, Mount Huangzui, etc.

Yangmingshan National Park

Menghuan Pond is one of the few wetlands in Yangmingshan. Due to the shape of the terrain, the area is often shrouded in fog hence creating this ‘dream-like’, fantasy atmosphere, hence the name.

Qixing Park

Before going up the peak, we made a detour to Qixing Park.

At the lookout point in Qixing Park

Yangmingshan National Park

Yangmingshan National Park

Mount Qixing East Peak

Almost there! This was 1107m above sea level.

Yangmingshan National Park

Another 13m of altitude to go!

Mount Qixing Main Peak

Woohoo! We conquered the highest peak in Taipei! 1120m above sea level. From Lengshuikeng Visitor Centre, it probably took us approx. 2.5 hours to get to the peak including all the breaks in between for photo-taking and for checking out the Menghuan Pond and Qixing Park.

We spent a considerable amount of time at the peak, just enjoying the cooling mountain breeze and admiring the breathtaking 360 degree view. So, so amazing!

One of the locals we met told us to start descending soon if we wanted to catch the bus in time. We went back down the same way we came up as there was a sign saying the other way was closed due to maintenance works. Took about 1.5 hours to get back to the visitor center. Waited for bus 108 for a long time. It was getting dark and no one was around. Thought we really missed the last bus so we walked all the way down along the road. Couldn’t use the same Jingshan Road and Xinyuan Street Pedestrian Trail as there weren’t lights along the path. By the time we reached ground level, another 1.5 hours had passed.

Went straight to 7-Eleven for cold drinks and took bus back to Jiantan MRT Station.

Image source: Yangmingshan National Park’s website

What an adventure we had! Doing a hike like this was really a one-day affair. But it was a day well spent! For a newbie mountain climber like me, scaling Mount Qixing was definitely an achievement and milestone in my life. Honestly, I thought I overestimated my level of fitness. Overall, the hike wasn’t too difficult but it wasn’t easy too. At one point, I was on the brink of physical and mental exhaustion because my feet were hurting so much as I was wearing ill-fitting shoes and I had blisters all over my toes. But my perseverance paid off. No words could describe how I was feeling that very moment. One thing off my bucket list!

Now that we are somewhat familiar with Yangmingshan, we set a goal to scale the mountain again in our next trip to Taiwan via Xiaoyoukeng i.e. the other route that we didn’t get to explore.

For an unforgettable trip to Taiwan, try a hike! I totally recommend it!

Tips

  • Wear proper hiking shoes/boots. Bring along hiking sandals in case you need a change of footwear as too much walking can cause your feet to swell.
  • Bring along a towel to wipe sweat off your face.
  • Sip water throughout your hike to keep yourself hydrated.
  • Pack some snacks (trail mix, bananas, chocolate bars, etc) along so you can refuel yourself whenever you need a boost of energy.
  • Use hiking poles to reduce pressure on the knees especially when going up or down hill.

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