On returning to the city from Long Dong we headed to the hot springs area of Beitou. After filling up on street food we went for a soak in the local public baths where you can relax in the mineral rich hot spring water. Beitou is well positioned for access to the Yangmingshan National Park by local public bus. From the national park website frequently asked questions you can see a whole range of buses leaving from major MRT stations in the city. The park has several well marked hiking trails taking you up high for views down on Taipei, as well as shorter trails for spotting wildlife. We saw some road cyclists enjoying the mountain air as the bus climbed up the road towards the national park visitor centre. You would really need to love hills to want to cycle there!
The park has quite unique volcanic geology and natural hot springs and furmaroles can be seen in several places. We had planned to hike up Mt Qixing but first we went to check out Xiaoyoukeng near the base of the path on the northwest foothill. This is a ‘collapsed terrain’ horseshoe shaped area releasing steam and on a clear day you should be able to see some sulphur crystals. We then headed up Mt Qixing which has many stairs up the mountainside through the high grass. Unfortunately the clear sky from the day before had been replaced with a swirling cloud and so the view points along the way were somewhat useless. On a clear day the top, at 1120m, would have offered us wonderful views down on the city and across the national park. I still really enjoyed the hike however, the cloud was atmospheric and the air cool and refreshing, a lovely break from the heat and humidity.
We finished our day back in the city, taking in the sights, smells and tastes of Shillin night market.
Yangmingshan National Park (Check the FAQs for information on getting there by bus):