Ultimate Guide to Yangmingshan National Park Taipei Day Trip
你好！(Ni Hao) That’s ‘How are you’ in Mandarin. That’s the main language used in Taipei, which is where we are exploring today.
Have you been searching for a guide to Yangmingshan National Park in Taipei? If yes, this is the perfect spot for you!
Read on to find out how to plan for a Yangmingshan National Park itinerary for a day trip!
Part of the Four Asian Tigers, which referred to 4 Asian countries that went through economic boom from the 60s to the 90s, Taipei is a modern metropolis which has managed to retain their traditional roots.
Mixed in with skyscrapers are ornate temple complexes that dot the city. Taipei is a bustling city that’s easy to navigate and filled with a lively vibe.
Do you have plans to visit Yangmingshan National Park?
As part of our trip to Taipei, we decided to make a jaunt to Yang Ming Shan (Yangmingshan National Park).
We love cities like this, where the great Mother Nature is just an hour away from the city.
This really gives you the option to explore different facets of a destination.
For us, getting out into nature is top on our to do list, which is why we always try to plan our activities around such places. Do you do that too?
Just imagine, you can easily reach one of the most beautiful national parks in the country within an hour, using public transport!
Read on as we tell you more about Yangmingshan, the Yangmingshan National Park hiking trails, things to do there and how to plan your itinerary!
If you are in Taipei, you should visit Jiufen too, which you can learn more in this Taipei to Jiufen guide!
Yangmingshan National Park – Get it in Google Maps
How to use: Take note you need to be signed in to your Google account in order to save this map.
All the spots we cover in this post is in the map for easy reference.
Click on the top right hand icon to open up the map in a new window. If you are signed in to Google, you will be able to retrieve this map in your Google Maps app in future, under “Your Places” –> “Maps”.
Expert tip: Download an offline version of Google Maps! You never know when you might lose reception or maybe you do not have any data or WiFi.
What is Yangmingshan?
The word Shan means mountain in Chinese, but Yangmingshan is not actually a mountain, but a national park, officially the Yangmingshan National Park.
It is made up of mountain range elevations that are between 200m-1120m only, as compared to the highest mountains in Taiwan which is Jade Mountain at 3,952m.
Within this park, you get to experience subtropical and temperate climates.
If you are into hot springs, this is a great place to try them out, thanks to the lasting legacy when Japanese were in control of Formosa.
So this makes for a really nice day hike! If this is what you’re looking for, read on for our guide to Yangmingshan.
The park is situated north of Taipei, and spans across a number of districts in Taipei and New Taipei City.
There are a number of popular sights across the park, such as the Flower Clock, lilies, cows roaming flat plains, and hot springs.
Before you go, bear in mind that this is one of the most visited places for tourists and locals alike, with large numbers flocking there on weekends. Our advice? Best to go on a weekday.
When is the best time to visit Yangmingshan National Park?
The different seasons will offer different experiences for you the traveller. Here is a quick look at the typical Yangmingshan weather.
During the months of March and April, this is the time where flowers flourish, and it is a beautiful sight with calla lilies in full bloom, even stretching into late April.
This two months will have nice, cool weather, perfect for hiking the numerous peaks.
From June to September, temperatures rise to mid twenties degrees Celsius, and will bring warm breeze across the range, although it would be noteworthy that showers are susceptible during the afternoons.
From October to February, the weather is still pleasant enough to visit the area, and it will be time when the leaves turns orange and red.
Rainfall will ease a bit but it is still advisable to bring rain protection gear along.
Drizzles would be common, and if you are one of the lucky few, you might just see snowfall.
What to wear to Yangmingshan?
After reading through the section above, you would have a good understanding of the different weather in different times of the year.
The time of the year you are visiting will determine your outfit, but in general, you should have the following:
- Waterproof outfit
- Waterproof shoes
What is the best way to get to Yangmingshan National Park?
Getting from Taipei to Yangmingshan is a breeze.
Yangmingshan is easily accessible from Taipei and there are a number of ways to get there.
Here are the best ways to get to Yangminghshan National Park from Taipei.
Getting to Yangmingshan National Park
|Method||Directions||How long does it take to reach Yangmingshan from Taipei||Costs|
|Public Bus||From Jiantan Train Station, take either bus S15 or bus Red 5.||45 minutes||NT$15|
|Public Bus||From Taipei Main Station, take bus 260||60 minutes||NT30|
|Taxi||From Taipei City||25-30 minutes||NT$500-600|
1. Go to Yangmingshan National Park by Public Bus
From Jiantan train station (Red line), take Exit 1 and walk towards the bus station on the left.
You can take the shuttle bus S15, which is a mini bus, so keep a lookout for that. It costs only NT$15.
Take note though, this service does not take you to the bus terminal of Yangmingshan, where you can find the shuttle bus 108.
Not only that, you can find out where the Yangmingshan bus 108 stops are and plan accordingly.
Why is this important? If you wish to get around Yangmingshan, this is the shuttle that brings you to most of the scenic spots, such as Er Zi Ping, Meng Huan Pond and Xiao You Keng.
An alternative is to take bus Red 5 (NT$15) from the same bus stop as S15. Although it takes a less scenic route, it does drop you off at the Yangmingshan bus terminal.
Both S15 and Red 5 both takes about 45 minutes from the Jiantan bus stop.
There is an option to leave Taipei from Taipei Main Station too, which is to take the 260 bus route.
You can view more information about the bus routes here.
It’s easy getting there and getting around the park too, as public buses serve the area. But, one important thing to keep in mind is to cater lots of waiting time for the buses. This was our only gripe honestly.
First of all, they used mini buses. Second, the interval between rides is about 25-30 minutes.
Guess what, when the bus comes along, it’s too full for us to board, meaning another 25-30 minutes of waiting!
2. Go to Yangmingshan National Park by Taxi
Taxis are a good alternative to cut the travelling time, and also if there are 4 of you to split the cost. If you are taking a taxi, you should request the driver to drop you and your party off at the Tourist Centre.
From here, you can gather useful information from the helpful staff situated there. Maps are also available to help in your planning.
From the vicinity of Taipei Main Station, it will cost roughly NT$550-600 to reach the Tourist Centre.
Although we did not encounter any problems, it is always good to check with the driver that he will be charging by the meter, and not a random flat fee.
3. Go to Yangmingshan National Park by Private Hire
If you wish to follow a fixed itinerary, you may consider a number of options from tour operators such as Getyourguide.
This package starts off by picking up passengers from a centralised location, Ximen, and transports the group to Yangmingshan, starting at Xiao You Keng.
It allows for time at each individual spot and by mid afternoon, sends the group back to Taipei City, with a couple of drop off options.
There are of course several other options to choose from, but make sure to budget more if you go for a private hire.
Tour packages starts from about NT$480 per person for shuttle service or could be NT$3262 per car if you book a private car for 6 hours.
Make sure to check if the tour is available on the day you wish to visit.
There’s another type of private hire that you will notice or encounter while travelling within the park area.
They are usually in official taxis, and are found mostly at the public car park areas.
They ‘specialize’ in driving you short distances, charging you and your group NT$200 per trip. We had to use them once since we couldn’t get on the bus, and no longer wanted to wait.
Yangmingshan + Hot springs
4. Go to Yangmingshan National Park By Rental Car
Again, this option makes sense for groups of 4 who wish to enjoy some flexibility around the national park, and who loves road trips. Who doesn’t?!
Besides, you can continue to drive to other locations since most rental agreements will require at least 24 hours of booking.
Around Yangmingshan National Park, you will be able to find numerous public carparks at the main sights. Make sure to check this map while planning a drive up.
The roads on the mountain are well paved and wide, but you do have to be aware that most of them are winding and lots of buses ply these roads.
If you wish to have a stress free drive, this might not be for you!
Lastly, if you intend to hike up Mt Qi Xing (which is what most hikers will go for), a car will not make much sense.
You see, you will start on one side of the mountain and exit the other way, so who’s gonna retrieve the car?
If you really wish to drive, then check out the deals from down below.
What’s UP in YangMingShan National Park?
During our own research, we couldn’t really find a guide to Yangmingshan that combines all relevant information in a single place.
Hence we have decided to take matters into our own hands.
There are a number of places to visit in the park.
You can opt to go for leisurely strolls, smell sulphur from fumaroles or brave it and hike up Mt Qi Xing, the highest point in YangMingShan.
Should you wish to visit every single scenic spot, one day is unlikely to be enough.
There are some Yangmingshan accommodation situated near the park though. Here are some recommendations for hotels near Yangmingshan National Park:
- Landis Resort, from US$151 per night
- Shan Yue Hot Spring Resort, from US$75 per night
- American Village, from US$81 per night
You can use these hotels to explore Yang Ming Shan easily, due to their proximity and they are well served by the public buses in the area too.
When visiting Yangmingshan, it will be better to pack your bags with plenty of water and some light snacks, but of course, you can buy them at one of the Yangmingshan cafes.
Read on to find out our recommended route for exploring Yangmingshan. Bus 108 will be the main bus service that will take you around this route.
First Stop: Main Tourist Center
From the main bus terminal, you can choose to join the queue right beside the depot office for bus 108, where you can pay NT$60 to have unlimited rides around the park. Find out where the bus service stops here.
Or you can skip the queue and start your Yangmingshan excursion with a short walk through the woods towards the Headquarters Visitor Center, situated about 700 metres away.
From the bus queue, walk in the opposite direction of the bus park and make a left turn. Well posted signs will lead you there quickly.
As the start of your day out, the visitor centre offers you useful information about the flora and fauna, the history and all the different areas of the park.
You can also find a gift shop located right beside the cafeteria, which is just around the corner of the visitor centre. Prices are quite reasonable, pretty much the same as in the city.
Next Stop: Xiao You Keng
From the Visitor Centre, exit towards the main road and you will find a small bus stop right outside. The bus stop has an electronic sign board that displays the time when the next one will arrive.
But take our words, it is not gonna be entirely accurate to the minute as there are no world class GPS positioning here!
Reminder again, buses are small and waiting intervals are long, so make sure you provision for it if you are going to use this way to explore. In a few minutes, you will reach Xiao You Keng.
Do you know what a fumarole is?
We had no idea but now we know.
Essentially, it is a hole in our Earth’s crust that is spewing steam and gases, and here at Xiao You Keng, you will smell the sulphur in the air around the area.
Not only that, keep a lookout for bubbling puddles and sulphuric crystals.
This area offers you a unique experience of being on a once active volcano.
In this part of the park, you can walk up a tiny trail that is lined with arrow bamboo.
It is just off of the back of the tourist centre, and within a few minutes, you will reach a wooden platform that offers you a lookout point.
If you continue further along this hiking trail, it should lead you to a lesser known area known as Xiao Guan Yin.
However, if you had set out to hike up Mt Qi Xing, then you should walk out towards the carpark and locate the trailhead to begin your ascent.
To the top, it takes about an hour.
Unfortunately, we did not attempt it this time as the sky was rapidly turning dark, and we would have needed a total of 2 hours to either return or get to the other side.
In fact, there are lots of other hiking trails you can explore in the park.
If you have the opportunity, we say go for it!
But make sure you bring along sufficient water and possibly a raincoat as weather conditions change quickly in the mountains.
Third Stop: Er Zi Ping / Datun Nature Park
If you had gone up Mt Qi Xing from Xiao You Keng, it is very likely that you will continue along the trail and reach Leng Shui Keng towards the Southeast.
But if you are touring around Yangmingshan National Park in search of leisurely activities, you could instead head to Datun National Park.
Continuing on the bus 108, alight at the Er Zi Ping stop. Er Zi Ping in itself is one of the most famous attractions in YangMingShan, or in fact Taipei.
Follow the trail from the visitor centre, which is approximately 1.9km, to explore the beautiful scenery, marked with 3 ponds and well paved footpaths.
This location makes an excellent outing for families. Set aside 90-100 minutes for a round trip.
For the more adventurous and less time challenged, continue on the trail and choose from a few options here.
You can head towards Miantianping, then Datunping, ascending several peaks of Mt Datun, before finally reaching Mt Datun, the second highest elevation in the park.
Take the route towards Anbu and continue on to the Erziping visitor centre.
Again, you got to remember to set aside enough time if you intend to complete the route or explore further beyond this. Erziping/Datun alone can consume the whole day!
Next stop: Leng Shui Keng (possibly Qingtiangang)
If you had taken the Mt Qixing trail, it will bring you to Lengshuikeng after your descent. While coming down the mountain, you can take a detour to Menghuan Pond.
It is a tranquil spot, and if you’re a bird lover, it might make for a good place to do some spotting.
However, it is quite underwhelming, so you might want to pass and head straight to Lengshuikeng.
For those taking bus, Bus 108 will bring visitors to this popular stop on the mountain route.
Translated to English, it means Cold Water Pit, but surprise! It’s well known not because of cold water, but the hot springs here.
It’s just that the hot springs’ temperatures are colder, making it more comfortable to soak your feet in.
Get it? Oh, and they are free for visitors too.
By this time, you might not have enough time to explore further, or the energy.
Go for a dip in the spring and from here, decide if going back to the city or continuing is better.
Around Lengshuikeng, you can take a short 1 hour walk to Qingtiangang, another super popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
Lush green grassland will be the reward for your efforts.
You are likely to catch sight of some wild cattle grazing away, and couples having their photo shoot.
Talk about some weird combination.
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Ready to go back to the comforts of your room now?
To return to Taipei, simply board the S15 bus from here, which takes about 45 minutes to reach the Jiantan MRT station, where you might have started off in the morning.
You know how to get back from here, don’t you?
Before you go, remember a few key points:
- Check the weather before you go. Besides that, download the app and get access to live cams placed around parts of the part to get real time info
- Bring enough water to last well beyond your day’s activities
- Small headlamp or torchlight
- Light jacket/raincoat
- Spray DEET insect repellent, making sure to reapply regularly
- Make sure you are covered by travel insurance, better be safe than sorry!
There are some other spots that you can check out in Yangmingshan, such as the Yangmingshan Flower Clock, the Yangmingshan hot springs, or stay in a Yangmingshan hot spring hotel.
Just a short distance away, you can explore the Beitou hot spring resort area where they are famous for hot springs.
So, that wraps up your day in Yangmingshan. Although we spent an unwanted amount of time waiting for buses, we still enjoyed our day out.
The park was serene, and when the clouds cleared, offered us stunning views across multiple hillsides and green fields.
I guess you are ready to Zip Up And Go now?
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How did you do? What were your favourite spots?
We love Yangmingshan and we hope that you enjoyed it as much. Leave a comment!
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