Wednesday, June 28, 2017

[TRAVEL] 1 Day Trip in Taiwan Yangmingshan National Park - Sakura, Volcano & Callalily Festival!


慢游台湾 · 阳明山国家公园1日游 / Yangmingshan National Park, Taiwan 

On Day 8 of our 9D8N Taiwan trip (It’s almost the end of our vacation and I feel like I have not even visited half of Taipei!), we spend a full day in Yang Ming Shan National Park (陽明山國家公園), followed by dinner at Shilin Night Market (士林夜市) and late evening stroll at Daan Forest Park. Yes, it is a fully-packed day and I am pretty excited for it because I can see cherry blossoms here!

S A K U R A, here I come! 



9D8N Itinerary in Taiwan
Day 1: KL - Taoyuan - Taichung
Day 2: Taichung - Sun Moon Lake (Blog)
Day 3: Sun Moon Lake - Qingjing - Taipei City (Blog)
Day 4: Ximending, Taipei
Day 5: Jiufen - Shifen - Pingxi - Ruifang, Taipei (Blog)
Day 6: Jiufen - Danshui, Taipei (Blog)
Day 7: Danshui - Daan District, Taipei (Blog)
Day 8: Yang Ming Shan National Park - Shilin, Taipei
Day 9: Taipei 101 - KL

So now we zoom into the details in Day 8 itself, let’s go!

DAY 8: Yangmingshan National Park (阳明山国家公园)
- Shilin Night Market (士林夜市), Taipei (台北)
 Jiabaobao Breakfast Shop (呷寶寶早餐店)
No. 212, Juguang Road, Wanhua District, Taipei.
(台北市萬華區莒光路212號Taipei, Taiwan 108)
Phone: +886 2 2302 9517

Day 8 begins with a hearty breakfast!

We have our breakfast at one of the quaint little cafes in Taipei. The shop is located along some quiet lane which not many would notice but locals go there for breakfast takeaways. We have our freshly-prepared sandwiches and burgers there, and quickly leave to MRT R15 Jiantan station for a direct shuttle to Yang Ming Shan.

How To Go:
❤ Go to MRT R15 Jiantan station (劍潭捷運站).
❤ Take Exit 1 (Shilin Night Market).
❤ Walk to the left-side bus station for the buses heading north.
❤ Take either city bus R5(紅5) or small van (PREFERRED) S15 or S17 to Yangmingshan station (陽明山).

*Small van is preferred because it takes a different route with more scenic views along the way.

$$$
NTD15 (=RM2)


Just sit the bus all the way until the last station for S8 bus route.


It takes less than an hour to arrive at Yang Ming Shan Bus Terminal, where all the buses are parked to transport you to other destinations within Yang Ming Shan National Park. In case you’re wondering, it is one of the 9 largest national parks in Taiwan, and in my opinion, is the most accessible one from downtown too.

$$$
Free entrance to Yang Ming Shan

Within the national park, there are several attractions which are located far apart, hence you can take different buses from the terminal station to explore different parts of the mountains such as:

❤ Yang Ming Park (陽明公園), a beautiful garden
❤ Xiao You Keng (小油坑), Taipei's very own dormant volcano
❤ Lengshuikeng (冷水坑), hot spring and ecological pond
❤ Zhu Zi Hu (竹子湖), bamboo lake with different blooming flowers during different seasons 
❤ Qing Tian Gang Grassland (擎天崗), 2.4km trail with lots of cattle on the grassland (Free guided tour everyday: 9.30am and 11.30am)

To get to these destinations, you can take Bus S8 (小8).
*It operates from 7:00am to 5:30pm daily, with 5 to 8 minutes interval time.

Based on the map, Yangmingshan is super huge! My advice is:
Just pick 3-4 attractions and you're done for a day trip here.

At the bus terminal station area, there is a Taiwanese pizza shop (where we have our lunch) and few other “standard” shops such 7-Eleven and Starbucks. Nothing really much to do there apart from taking a break from all the travelling and walking :)

Travelling Tips: Be sure to wear a proper pair of walking/hiking shoes because there are plenty of stairways, sloppy hills and muddy paths along the way.

During our visit in April, it is the Callilily Flower Festival, hence the bus route / frequency in Yangmingshan may be slightly different. Nevertheless, you can always refer to the leaflet for a complete guide on the schedule of the transportation provided in Yangmingshan. 

First Stop in Yangmingshan: Xiao You Keng (小油坑)

So we begin with the farthest destination from Yangmingshan Bus Terminal, Xiao You Keng (小油坑) which takes around 30 minutes bus ride. As the bus goes uphill all the way, the air gets cooler and we can see misty mountains right in front of us!

Travelling Tips: Due to the distance, only Bus No.108 will go to Xiao You Keng.

This is my first time seeing a real volcano and it is so near to us that we have to be warned by the staff there not to go too near because the bubbling water coming up from the ground is steaming hot!

 

The tranquil view here. Perfect!
As we go nearer, we almost get choked by the foul smell as the volcano has been gassing smelly poisons with traces of Sulphur. Nevertheless, Xiao You Keng is Taipei's very own dormant volcano that you shouldn’t miss if you have not seen a volcano before.

Hiking is recommended here if you want to have a better view of the picturesque mountainous landscape or enjoy the “world under your feet”.



Second Stop in Yangmingshan: Zhu Zi Hu (竹子湖)


From Xiao You Keng, we head straight to another destination in the national park – Zhu Zi Hu (竹子湖) which is quite near (around 15 minutes bus ride). You can also walk towards Zhuzihu - Dinghu (竹子湖 - 顶湖) if you'd like to have a top view of the entire lake.

Travelling Tips: Choose weekdays / non-public holidays to avoid the crowd / skip the long queue for buses.

#OOTD in Yangmingshan

Personally, Zhu Zi Hu is the part where I am looking forward to the most! My travelling partners find it very boring and lifeless here, but I am truly in love with this countryside Bamboo Lake because of the greenery surrounding me from all angles!


Travelling Tips: Highly recommended to visit this Bamboo Lake during the months of March, April and May for the floral festivals:
March: Pink blush cherry blossoms
April / May: White callalily flowers (海芋)

Zhu Zi Hu is probably one of the lowest points in this national park. And I realise the view from a low ground is not bad at all! The extremely vast lake is surrounded by layers and layer of mountains, which altogether wrap us with refreshing breezes and chilly air. However, approaching midday, the scorching sun can be burning to the skin.

Each ‘section’ of the lake is connected by streams of rivers and wooden bridges, with only a few country homes at the far end of the lake. If you don’t mind the hot sun, perhaps taking a romantic stroll while admiring the beauty of flowers here is the best thing to do.

It is also my first time seeing so many white callalily flowers in my life! They grow everywhere at the lake during early April, although not fully bloom, but are beautiful enough to be captured into the frames.

Third Stop in Yangmingshan: Yang Ming Park (陽明公園)

As time is not allowing us to visit more destinations (and we are crazily tired of walking by now), we choose our last destination in this national park – the lovely garden area called Yang Ming Park (陽明公園).

Yang Ming Park is reachable by walking from the main bus terminal, probably taking about 30 minutes for this 2km walk. It seems like a long distance for our tired feet, but trust me, it is totally worth the effort of going by feet because the scenery along the way is just too beautiful to fall in love with.

Travelling Tips: If you prefer not to walk, you can take Bus 125 from the main bus terminal to the park.

As we walk, we pass by beautifully-landscaped garden compounds which are filled with purple lavenders during that month, and also two broad roads lined with white cherry blossoms. I may not be a true fan of flowers, but when it comes to natural landscape like this, I just wish to stay longer here!

Cherry blossom is everywhere along the pathway to Yang Ming Park!

Yang Ming Park is so huge that it has several entrances. If you want to see the Flower Clock (花鐘), a large garden artwork, you can enter from the western entrance. My sole purpose here is to see how great is the Flower Clock, but to my disappointment, it does not look as appealing as I see on pictures.

Nevertheless, this is a great hiking place / budget-friendly tourist area which you can consider if you don’t want to travel too far from the city.


Shilin Night Market (士林夜市)
We leave Yang Ming Shan around 5pm and make our way back to Shilin, just in time for dinner and shopping at Taipei’s largest night market - Shilin Night Market! 

Braised Pork Rice in Cup (卤肉饭) + "Bak Kut Teh" (肉骨茶)

To be honest, by now (the 8th day of our trip), we are probably sick of visiting night markets. Everything we have tried over the past week is here in Shilin Night Market, but none of us truly “originates” from here. And I am surprised that the crowd on a Wednesday is extremely overwhelming and I don’t really enjoy being here with people pushing / sticking around.

FYI our first Taiwanese night market experience in Feng Jia Night Market is still the best throughout the trip!

Travelling Tips: If you want to enjoy more in Shilin Night Market, I’d suggest to put this into your itinerary early of the trip (not at the end like mine).

Some of the recommended snacks here are pretty interesting such as Carbon Onion BBQ in Bacon, Kurobata BBQ Sausage (玛拉桑 山猪肉香肠), Fried Chicken Chop (士林豪大大鸡排), Oyster Omelette (大头龙蚵仔煎), Stinky tofu (臭豆腐), Penis Waffle (大雕烧) and more.

The Cheese Baked Potato with Bacon (起士马铃薯) we have is excellent! So sinful though.

Anyway we just grab a couple of snacks here to fill our growling stomachs and head next to the largest public park in Taipei City – Da An Forest Park (大安森林公園).

How To Get There:
Take Exit 2 at MRT Daan Station

$$$
Free entrance to Daan Park  
Travelling in the local way, we are here at Da'an Park because locals hang out often here. During late evenings, the park is still very happening with kids playing roller skating, students practising dances, adults walking their furkids, seniors doing taichi etc. Watching the locals at this 26-hectare park with two ponds, pavilions and beautiful strolling paths, sums up to a great experience before we leave Taiwan on the next day.

P/S: Sorry no pictures at Da'an Park though, because it is too dark in the evening...
  


Overall, a trip to Yang Ming Shan National Park is a fulfilling trip for those who love nature. The best time to visit is during March for the beautiful Sakura season, nonetheless watching callalily flowers in such a vast lake is a great experience for me too.

If you enjoy the beauty of nature but don't want to travel too far from Taipei, then Yangmingshan is a must-visit place!

Feel free to read about the travelogues in Taiwan for each day:

1 comment:

  1. i have a heartfelt desire to visit taiwan after reading your blog post about your trip. i really envy you. by the way it seems like you had fun. and you are amazing please keep on updating

    ReplyDelete

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