A visit to Taipei will not be complete without a trip to the Yangmingshan National Park, one Taiwan’s eight national parks. This park is comprised of several peaks found in the northeastern part of Taipei. It is covered in various kinds of vegetation comprising about 1,200 species, among which are tall silvergrass, Japanese cherry trees, bamboo, and rhododendron. It is a relaxing getaway from the city.
The elevation of the park’s mountains is not as high as other national parks, with the lowest peak being 200. The Seven Star Mountain or Mount Qixing, the park’s highest peak, stands at 1,120 meters. Still, the place abounds with beatiful waterfalls, ridges and lakes. The park used to be called Grass Mountain because of the thick growth of grasses on its slopes. In the olden days, not many people went to visit the place. In 1950, during Chiang Kai-shek’s reign, its name was changed to Yangmingshan in honor of Wang Yangming, a Neo-Confucian philosopher from the Ming Dynasty. The designated areas for the park were determined in 1962.
The hot springs are some of the main attractions of Yangmingshan National Park. There are many sulfur steam vents in the park. The most famous and the biggest of these is the Xiaoyoukeng, which lies on the park’s northwestern side. Lengshuikeng, another steam vent, can be found on the park’s eastern side. In this area, there are public hot spring pools available to the visitors for free.
You can find accommodations in some lodging houses in the park. However, because the place has been designated as a national park, construction of new structures is no longer allowed. Thus, expect the lodging houses to be old and not as beautiful as those found in Beitou. Outside the park’s borders, the areas are more developed. Many rich Taiwanese and expats have built their residence in the surrounding areas.
One of the features of the park that people flock to see is the huge flower clock. The clock’s diameter is 22 feet. It is a beautiful sight particularly with the running water surrounding it. Music plays from the clock every hour to indicate the transition of time. Near the clock, there is a statue of Chiang Kai-shek. Both sides of the statue are flanked by cypress trees that were planted by the political leader himself. Other things you will see in the Yangmingshan National Park are the statue of Wang Yangming, after whom the park was named, and the Xinhai Guangfu Building, which was built in 1971.
You can reach the park by taking Bus 260, which waits at Civic Boulevard near Taipei Main Station and goes to the park at an interval of 10 minutes. You can also take the MRT to Jiantan Station where buses going to the park leave at an interval of 15 minutes. If you are coming from Beitou, you can take Bus 230, which leaves at an interval of 30 minutes. The Yangmingshan National Park is just an easy walk from the bus terminal. No fees are required to enter the park.