Friday, 6 June 2014

Things to do in Yangmingshan (陽明山) and Zhuzihu (竹子湖)

Friday, 6 June 2014
If you're planning a day trip to Yangmingshan, you can consider the following itinerary:
Yangmingshan Hotspring -> A short hike up Yangmingshan -> Zhuzihu

Part I: Hotsprings
If you research "hotsprings" in Taipei, Yangmingshan will probably come up top on the list together with Beitou, Xin Beitou. The above 3 places are probably the more popular ones for a hotspring, not forgetting Wulai and Jiaoxi.
For a first timer in Taipei, you might be curious to find out if there are any difference between all of them or which is the "better" one since you will only have time to visit one. To be honest, I personally feel that all hotsprings (for tourists) are the same.
I heard from a local that each hotspring is known to have some unique feature about them. Example, able to cure headaches, able to cure cancer etc etc. For me, the main purpose is to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings, away from the hectic city life. So if you have the same purpose as me, you can choose either one of the 3 (Yangmingshan, Beitou, Xinbeitou) for a dip!
Take note:
From what I have experienced, Yangmingshan's hotspring has more locals, it's cheaper and it's more traditional (meaning you need to go in completely naked) haha, yes its a little awkward at first but once you see naked ladies (and I believe men alike) walking around freely, you will be able to cease the tension within 5 mins HAHA.
On the other hand, Beitou is more comercialized with more tourists and hence many allow you to go in with a swimsuit (e.g. Bikini). Of course, it's slightly more expensive but if you're shy about it then maybe Beitou is a better choice.

My opinion would be to visit Yangmingshan's hotspring (there are tons of them!) and go all naked! It's an experience of a lifetime HAHA. Plus wearing a swim suit for a hotspring is apparently not very healthy cos' the chemicals in your swimsuit will "de-purify" the water.

How to get there?
If you decided to go Yangmingshan for a hotspring, take to "Shi pai" station on the red line (Danshui line) and take a bus up to Xingyi Sec 4 onwards. That is where all the hotsprings are! I can't remember the bus number but ask the locals once you're there, they should know as there are many buses that go up! (About 20 mins)

Getting to Beitou for a hotspring is straight forward. Just take to "Beitou" station (Danshui line)

Part II: Yangmingshan
If you're not a morning person and wish to jump straight to Yangmingshan in the late morning (11am perhaps?), you can consider a hike up Yangmingshan.

How to get there?
Take to "Jiantan" or "Shilin" station and take R5 (Red 5) from the bus stop. It takes you all the way up to Yangmingshan so drop at the last stop!

From there, you can hike up the path (if Tricia can do it, so can you. Why? Cos' I'm not that atheletic HAHA) where you will be able to experience all these!

This is the ending of the waterfall! You will see this 6-10 mins after you walk up HAHA. You can walk all the way up to see the waterfall. There's a museum at the top as well showcasing the place where the first president and his wife used to stay (30NT per entry).

 When I saw this view, I screamed "TAIWAN'S MOUNT FUJI!!" For someone that hasn't seen Mount Fuji before, this is what I imagine it'll look like from afar HAHA.

Hehehe further up Yangmingshan! This is like an Emporium! People stop by to get water and rest by the benches. If you're here on a weekend, you'll see many old folks climbing Yangmingshan! (Most are stronger then me SIGH #weak)
 This is the flower clock (花钟) that people climb up to visit! Not that fantastic in my opinion. Nonetheless, great experience for a Saturday morning!
From the bus station to here takes you approx 30-45 mins so it's really quite a refreshing experience if you want a short getaway from city life! I would recommend you come before 12 noon so you can finish before lunch!
Of course, it will take another 20 mins or so if you want to get to the waterfall and the museum further up Yangmingshan.
PART III: Zhuzihu
What I did was I proceeded to Zhuzihu after my short refreshing hike up Yangmingshan.
How to get there?
From the flower clock area (above), walk towards the carpark, down the slope and cross the road (about 4-5 mins). Take bus 8 or 9 (locals call it 小八 (xiao ba),小九(xiao jiu)) If in doubt, ask the locals! You can find them around and they are mostly very friendly.
Before you board the bus, ask the driver if it goes Zhuzihu. The ride should take you 20 mins or so!

THIS IS THE PLACE I RECOMMEND ALL TO GO!!! You can skip Part II but you cannot skip a trip up to Zhuzihu! It is beautiful be it for couples, for families or even a solo trip up. Will show you why:

This place is known for the lilies and the whole place is practically a lily plantation!

Walk a little up on the path and you will see on your left a japanese looking store selling this! This is something like grilled mochi with soy sauce and seaweed flakes. DA BOMB I tell you. Must try!

As you continue walking straight up the path, you'll be able to see many shops selling flowers at an incredibly reasonable price! For guys, you can get a bouquet of FRESH ROSES (colour of your choice) at only 150NT! Thats about 6SGD for ONE. WHOLE. BUNCH. Imagine the money you spent on each Valentine's Day HAHA.

There are also cafes like the one above where you can enjoy a scenic lunch here! I didn't have my lunch here but the prices are a little more costly. Perhaps 10-20SGD or so. Most cafes/restaurants own their own lily plantation so if you eat in their place, you would be able to walk in their lily plantation for free!
But like I said, I didn't have my lunch there and hence I visit a free lily plantation that is open for all HAHA. You can pluck a lily for 10NT (0.40SGD) :O I don't suggest plucking cos there are better things to pluck.

Cos TADA!!! Beautiful Hydrangeas plantation!!!! HIGHLIGHT OF MY TRIP. From where the bus drop you off, cross the road and walk down the path. You will see people walking towards that direction so just follow them! The place is huge and amazingly beautiful. I see many people (couples young and old, families and people alone) all gathered here.

Because, for a entrance fee of 100NT (4SGD), you get to cut off 3 pom poms from any part of the garden!!

I picked white, purple and blue!
A pic of myself and the flowers I plucked
Another pic of the flowers and me
OKAY lastly a selfie! Sorry there are so many of me and the flowers. I was especially happy that day HAHA. Dont they look gorgeous! Thats why I say its a must come!
I suggest coming here last as you dont want to lug the flowers everywhere you go right!

Of course, there are other things you can see/do here besides seeing flowers
Like wash your feet in water and slack on the benches
Take picture with lepak (chill) cats

But ultimately....
SEE FLOWERS!!! Take a look at the beautiful scenery behind me and spare the unglam face.

Yup that's about it for a one day trip to Yangmingshan -> Zhuzihu.
Hotsprings open around 9am so you can be there early for a dip before hiking in Yangmingshan or going straight to Zhuzihu.

In the event that you choose Beitou as a hotspring destination, you can still go Zhuzihu and Yangmingshan! There is a direct bus from Beitou station so don't worry!

How do I go straight to Zhuzihu?
Take R5 (red 5) from "Jian tan" or "Shilin" station and drop one stop before the terminal (You should see a Starbucks at that stop!). Cross the road and take bus 8 or 9 (locals call it 小八 (xiao ba),小九(xiao jiu)) straight up to Zhuzihu.
Sorry my posts have been so freaking long as I'm trying to give as much detail as I can on how to get to these places. For my friends and family interested in my solo adventures in Taiwan, you can just browse through the pictures hehehe.
P.s: I LOVE YOU ALL! Thanks for all the concern texts and skype while I'm in Taiwan.
Bringing you the ultimate Taiwan Experience.


  1. Hi! How do you get from the hot springs in YMS to where to hike?

  2. hi Trish, did you dip in the hotsprings?! as in naked?

  3. Hi Trisha! Thanks for the info! I have the same question as jl too, how to get from hotsprings in yangmingshan to hiking place