YANG MING SHAN NATIONAL PARK 陽明山國家公園
MRT: Take Danshui (Red) Line to Jian Tan Station 劍潭站 Exit 1
Bus: Red 5 or 126, 127, 128, 129, 130 to Yang Ming Shan Terminal then take leisure bus no. 108, which travels to various Yangmingshan National Park scenic spots.
Yang Ming Shan, the gently sloping dormant volcano that sits in a national park on Taipei‘s northern edge.
If the weather is clear, consider walking up to Mount Cising, which at 3,674 feet is the highest summit in the greater Taipei basin. The wind-swept high meadows are covered in waves of silver grass.
Located in Shanziahou on Yangmingshan, the 20m-high Silk Falls doesn’t have much water, but looks as graceful as a strand of silk falling through the air.
Because the water contains iron oxide, the rocks below the waterfall are stained deep red color.
Since the lake is a nature reserve, an observation deck and a trail have been built to prevent damage to the ecology. The lake acquires a poetic beauty when winter winds shroud it in mist.
CALLA LILY FARM
BEI TOU 北投
MRT: Take Dansuei (Red) Line to Beitou Interchange Station 北投站change to Xin Bei Tou 新北投站
Due to the smell of sulphur and the constant rising of steam, the Beitou valley had the appearance of a witch’s cauldron, and so the Aboriginal inhabitants of the area named it “paktaaw”, meaning ‘witch’. Beitou is the Sinocized form of this name.
BEI TOU PUBLIC LIBRARY
Bei Tou Hot Spring Museum is just beside the library.
BEITOU HOT SPRING MUSEUM 北投溫泉博物館
Walk: About 10mins walk from Xi Beitou MRT Station
Ticket: Free Entrance
Beitou Hot Spring Museum was built by the Japanese as Taiwan’s first public bath house in 1913 and it was the biggest hot spring bath house in East Asia then. This is a very good place to learn about Beitou’s rich hot spring culture and history.
Before we entered the museum, we were required to take off our shoes and changed to slippers provided by the Museum. This is to prevent scratches or damages to the museum’s delicate wooden floor.
HELL VALLEY 地狱谷
Walk: About 20mins walk from Xi Beitou MRT Station
Ticket: Free Entrance
Hell Valley originally called Geo-thermal Valley 磺水头, is a natural wonder, situated next to Beitou Park. The valley is named after the sulfurous gases and scalding hot springs that give it the very image of Purgatory.
Hot Spring at the park, covers an area of 3,500 square meters. The spring water here is the hottest in the Datun Mountain area, can reach temperatures of 90°C and has an extremely high sulfur and mineral content.
HOT SPRING 温泉
Traditional Public Hot Spring bath etiquette requires that bathers thoroughly wash and rinse off their bodies and to be naked upon entering hot spring. This is the Japanese style public bath etiquette.
Most of the public outdoor hot springs in Beitou area are now modeled more after European spa centers and require swimsuits. Finding a real traditional Japanese style public bath is increasingly rare.
Walk: About 8 mins walk from Xi Beitou MRT Station
Ticket: NT40 per person, swimsuits is required.
Millennium Hot Spring is an outdoor public hot spring located at Zhongshan Road, just after the Hot Spring Museum. The entrance to the hot spring is on the right. They have a number of rules, available on English and Chinese, please read before enter.
1. The spring water in Beitou is acidic, so don’t wear anything that could be damaged by acid, such as pearls.
2. People with high blood pressure, heart disease or open wounds should not enter the baths.
KETAGALAN CULTURE CENTER
Walk: About 3 mins walk from Xi Beitou MRT Station
Ticket: Free Entrance
Open: 9am to 5pm, closed on Monday
Beitau was the area where Ketagalan People, one of Taiwanese Aborigines, lived in old times, and Ketagalan Culture Center was set up by the government to preserve the Taiwanese Aboriginal culture and art.
There is a regular exhibition of Taiwanese Aboriginal historic relics on the first floor. The second floor has a special area for Pepo Aborigines (Plain Aborigines) Culture displays, including TV walls, old pictures and models. The third floor is for the displays introducing Mountain Aboriginal history, cultural features, traditional life styles, and religions.
DAN SHUI OLD STREET 淡水老街
MRT: Take Danshui (Red) Line to Danshui Station 淡水站, roughly 40 mins from Taipei Main Station
Walk: Turn left as you exit the MRT and then right along the river.
Danshui Old Street and waterfront is along the Danshui River, is located right outside the north side of the MRT Station and stretches north to the ferry docks.
This pedestrian shopping area offers tourists a wide selection of restaurants, arcades, and stores specializing in traditional handicrafts and food. Do try the food vendors which are located up and down the strip.
Danshui’s Local specialties:
- Iron eggs 铁蛋 are eggs which have been stewed in a mix of herbs and spices until pickled in dark brown color. Similar to the “century egg” but harder.
- A-Gei 阿给 is crystal noodles stuffed in fried bean curd, served with a mild hot sauce. It is often served with a spicy sauce.
- Fish Balls 淡水魚丸 are balls of fish paste stuffed with meat and garlic served in a light broth.
- Fish crisps 魚酥, a texture comparable to shrimp crackers.
- Muah Chee, black sugar muah chee that is very nice.
DANSHUI FISHERMAN’S WHARF 淡水镇渔人码头
Bus: take Bus R26 red in front of Danshui station, about 15 mins ride
Ferry Ticket: NT$100 (2-way) from Danshui Ferry Pier, about 10 mins ride
Close: The last boat depart from Fisherman’s Wharf is 8.45pm. Close in the event of bad weather.
The Danshui Ferry Pier is located near the north end of the waterfront area and offer ferries across the river to Bali Township and Danshui Fisherman’s Wharf.
When taking the ferry don’t stand outside unless you enjoy getting wet!
Danshui Fisherman’s Wharf is a popular location for viewing the sunset. It’s offers a boardwalk, chic coffee shops, food and some seafood restaurants.
Fisherman’s Wharf is also a departure point for tourist boats traveling along Taiwan’s scenic northeast coast.
The Lover’s Bridge 情人桥, a single slanted tower cable stay pedestrian bridge, that is modeled after a sailing ship’s mast and rigging, spans the harbor.
The bridge’s illumination changes color at night, making this romantics area a favorite with local couples and tourists, and is also a popular site for shooting Taiwanese drama serials.
Outdoor concerts are sometimes held in the amphitheater, and some of the restaurants feature live music at times.
Note: Be at the Danshui Fisherman’s Wharf at around 5pm where you can catch the sunset. The lighting of Lover’s Bridge is at 7pm. This place is beautiful and very windy.
FORT SAN DOMINGO
Fort San Domingo was built by the Spanish in 1628 but was later seized by the Dutch. It is listed as a Grade 1 historical site.
The exceptionally-beautiful red-walled fort consists of the main fortifications, the former British consulate, and the southern gate. A Qing dynasty cannon mounted in front of the fort is of great historical value.
With a superb view of Danshui Old Town and Mt. Guanyin, the upper floor of the fort is ideal for painting or photography.
We have missed this place. Thanks to CK for the photos.
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