Take a break from your busy schedule and the hustle and bustle of the city, go on a tour to Yangmingshan National Park and Beitou District, and embrace the beauty of nature.
Yangmingshan National Park is located in the north of Taipei City, spanning Beitou District and 6 other districts in Taipei Metro Area. As the world’s first Urban Quiet Park certified by Quiet Park International, the park is known for the gorgeous flora and abundant geological features, including the fumaroles, lava terrains, craters, hot springs, etc, offering close-up views of the rocks and landforms.
In addition to the park, the Geothermal Valley and Beitou Hot Spring Museum offer you insights into the history of development of hot springs in Taipei, from the source of heat to the historic relics.
Hot spring bath is another unmissable experience in Beitou. Before the end of the tour, you will enjoy a hot spring foot bath to unwind your mind and body.
Your first stop is Taipei Public Library Beitou Branch, also known as Beitou Library. Located in Beitou Park and near Beitou Hot Spring Museum, because of its sustainable design, this beautiful library was selected by the famous travel website “When on Earth” as one of the 10 Coolest Examples of green buildings. The New York City–based online culture magazine “Flavorwire” also recognized it as one of The 25 Most Beautiful Public Libraries in the World.
The unique appearance of Beitou Library also makes it a popular attraction for photography. So pull your phone or camera out of your bag, capture the view and make your travel memory tangible.
The next stop on your Yangmingshan tour package is Beitou Hot Spring Museum, which was built during the Japanese colonization.
The two-storey Tudor-style building of the museum has a brick and wood façade, and black tile roof. The first level consists with a small bath and a large bath; as you walking along the arcade you can see the baths up close. Additionally, the display of “sento” simulates the facilities of a traditional public bath, where you can have an understanding of how the communal bathhouse worked in the past.
The second level consists with a huge Tatami lobby and a balcony with a special exhibition area where the early Taiwanese film documents are displayed. This is a good place to learn about Beitou’s rich hot spring culture and history.
Geothermal Valley, the next stop on your Yangmingshan day trip, is not far away from Beitou Hot Spring Museum.
This place is also called “Hell Valley” or “Ghost Lake”, because of the sulfuric steam fog that it emits caused by the high temperature. It is also one of the heat sources of sulfur spring that supply the hot springs located in its vicinity.
Your tour to Yangmingshan National Park and Beitou continues with a visit to the Yangmingshan Flower Clock—the centerpiece of the national park, which is near the bus terminal and the visitor center.
The flower plants change by season, visitors can enjoy the bloom all year round. Every year during the cherry blossom season, there are crowds of people flocking to see the beautiful cherry blossom that surrounds the flower clock.
You will then visit Yangmingshuwu, formerly known Zhongxing Guesthouse. It was the summer residence of the late president Chiang Kai-shek for reception of important foreign dignitaries.
This place was originally an old-growth forest; after the mansion and its associated buildings were completed, part of the forest was still preserved. Today the mansion has become an important site for Taiwan’s history and nature conservation.
Home to Yangmingshan’s calla lily and hydrangea, Zhuzihu is a farming area hidden away in the mountains. It was originally a lava-dammed lake created by volcanic eruptions; the geological factors and fertile soil making Zhuzihu a suitable place for farming.
Besides the seasonal flowers, Zhuzihu is also well-known for the mountain vegetable cuisine. Since you are here in Zhuzihu, don’t miss the chance to try the local specialties.
After that, you will visit the most popular attraction in Yangmingshan National Park —Xiaoyoukeng (literally “little oil pit”), a post-volcanic geological landscape area.
The scenic trail around Xiaoyoukeng offers close-up views of the pit from different angles, where you can see and smell the steam coming out of the cracks, and the sulfur crystals around the fumaroles, as if you can feel the breath of a dormant volcano.
Then you will visit Qingtiangang, a vast lava terrace formed when the lava flowed north after the eruption. The terrace was once a ranch for water buffaloes grazing during Japanese colonization; even today you can still see the naturally bred water buffaloes there.
The last stop is Lengshuikeng (literally “cold water pit”), a barrier lake formed by the volcanic lava flowing down from the mountain. The hot spring water is colder than the other areas (around 40 degrees Celsius), hence the name.
Before your Yangmingshan day tour comes to an end, you will enjoy a rejuvenating hot spring foot bath to relieve the tension and stiffness in your legs after walking for hours.
After your Beitou District and Yangmingshan National Park tour, you may choose to disembark at Shilin Night Market, considered Taiwan’s most famous night market. There, you can eat tasty street foods to your heart’s content. Or, you may choose to disembark at MRT Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station after the tour.
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