From climbing volcanoes to bathing in sulphuric hot springs.
Full of night markets, skyscrapers, and a bustling atmosphere, Taipei may seem like an unlikely spot for eco-travelers. However, the capital city boasts countless spots for the perfect instagrammable photograph amidst a sea of flowers and greenery. From climbing volcanoes to bathing in sulphuric hot springs, Taipei is an eco-tourist’s paradise. Here are the top five places to see in Taipei in its natural beauty.
1. Yangmingshan National Park
Yangmingshan National Park is located between Taipei city and the northern coast. The small park is comprised of rainforests, hot springs, dormant volcanoes, and hiking trails. There are numerous hiking trails inside the park, some of which will lead to the highest volcano in Taiwan. The Seven Stars Mountain (also known as the Qixing Mountain) offers breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding coastal scenery. Along with the hiking trails, the park is also composed of a web of roads. Discover the forests of the park with Alan’s Mountain Bike, which offers rental bikes and guided tours. Other trails lead to benign water buffalo sightings, vibrant hydrangea fields, and rare bird sightings.
Tired from hiking mountains and biking through steep descents? Relax in the public hot springs of the park. Locally known as the Bayan Hot Springs, these naturally steaming springs are heated from the volcanoes and are full of sulphur (locals claim the water is good for the skin).
Located 20 Kilometers from downtown Taipei, one could even bike to the location.
2. Yehliu Geopark
The Yehliu Geopark is Taipei’s love letter to Dali. Formed by erosion, weathering, and earth movements, the park is full of teardrop-shaped rocks that creates an otherworldly atmosphere. Each year, thousands of visitors are encouraged to discover the park’s most exquisite-looking formations, including the Queen’s Head, Fairy’s Shoe, Candle, and Dragon’s Head. Adjacent to the Geopark lies the Oceanarium, where 200 rare species of aquatic life swim over a 300-foot glass tunnel.
From the Taipei West Bus Station, it is a 90 minute bus ride to the front of the park entrance.
3. Maokong Village
Located in the mountains of the Wenshan District, Maokong Village is composed of tea plantations, hiking trails, and teahouses. The Maokong Gondola (a series of glass-bottom cable cars) is the only mode of transportation to the village. Lush, green forests are reeled underneath as the car ascends to the top of the mountain. Inside the forests of the village, visitors hike to the Yinhe Waterfall, where they can visit the temple which is located behind the waterfall. The teafields of Maokong are abundant and are also welcome to the public. Along with the fields, potholes and the small holes in the rocks of creek beds also give the village its distinct character (“maokong” means cat-hollow).
The most popular teahouse in Maokong is the Ya Yue Teahouse. The restaurant is praised by both tourists and locals for its authentic, high-quality tea and 24-hour service. Eco-travelers can take on the landscape from the hiking trails, or simply by taking from view with a cup of tea at one of the many teahouses.
4. Guandu Nature Park
Guandu Nature Park is located in the Beitou District of Taipei. The park is composed of freshwater wetlands, rice paddies, open fields, and a nature center. The park hosts the annual Guandu Flower Festival, which lasts from late-August to late-February. Over the six-month period, the fields grow a variety of flowers, including Zinnias, Garden Cosmos, Yellow Cosmos, Angel Flowers and Sunflowers. The park is also known for bird-watching, as hundreds of exotic birds can be seen throughout the vicinity. Arrive at the park during the months of October to March to observe the most diverse species.
If you’re taking the MRT, take the Tamsui line to the Guandu Station. After arriving to the station, the park is a short ten-minute journey.
5. Taipei Botanical Gardens
The Taipei Botanical Gardens offers a break from the bustling nature of the city. Located in the Nanhai Academy on Nanhai Road, the gardens were built during the Japanese rule, a place for experimentation and research on plant life. The area is now both a research center for the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute and a public park. The gardens house over 2,000 species of plantlife, and the layout of the area is divided into 17 districts. Each district conveys a specific theme depending on the plant classification system. The gardens include areas such as the Lotus Pond, Chinese Zodiac Garden, and Succulent Plants Garden. Each district conveys a specific theme depending on the plant classification system. Residents of the city don’t have to travel far to escape the noise of a bustling city.