Last February, when I was in Taiwan for the Chinese New Year period, I had the pleasure of being given a tour of Yangmingshan National Park, in the mountains near Taipei. Here are a few reasons this national park should be on your list if you’re looking to add a touch of nature to your Taiwan trip!
A bus runs from Taipei to the park. A knowledge of Mandarin is pretty helpful for the buses… or a serious sense of adventure. We caught a ride with some local residents who had a car.
This Isn’t Your Daddy’s National Park
I’m a huge outdoors guy, and I’ve been to many of America’s National Parks. Yangmingshan showed me a slightly different way of doing a national park. For instance:
There are food markets inside the park!
There’s This Weird Flower Clock!
There Are a Few More Paths and Structures Than You’d Find in a US National Park
In the Land of Dragons
Yangmingshan National Park has a few distinct areas. One of the coolest things we saw was the thermal vents. This is a area higher up with huge geothermic activity. Geysers, hotsprings, and dramatic steam vents characterize this area. It’s easy to imagine why people once thought dragons lived here!
Seek Solitude in the Highlands
After some motion-sickness inducing curves up steep switchbacks, we arrived at our final sector of the park. The high grasslands of Yangminshan National Park. A very cool environment, although it was also very windy!
Final Words on Yangmingshan
I don’t have any amazing stories to tell about this place, but it was definitely a cool spot. I was glad to have some locals take us there and recommend it, because we certainly wouldn’t have discovered it on our own, just looking for tourist attractions in Taipei. The steam vents were one of the most otherworldly things I’d ever seen, to that point.
We visited in early Feb, and were just a touch early for the cherry blossoms. But everyone says Yangmingshan is a great place to see the Cherry blossoms, too. Timing just wasn’t right. That’s the way it goes in life sometimes though. And in travel, more often than not.
But hey, a missed opportunity is just an excuse to come back 🙂