Taipei Day 2: Yang Ming Shan

On our second day, we decided to head out to the scenic faraway place of Yang Ming Shan. This was the first half of the day, after which we headed off to Xi Men Ding (Wait for my Following Post)

Actually, it was one of the sites that I was looking forward to the most!!! Yet, the view was slightly disappointing, due to the presence of the overwhelming mist that enveloped the whole area.

We took Bus 260 from a bus stop outside the Taipei Main Station. You have to cross a bridge, and find a small stand that is the bus stop. The ride takes about 1 hour, so we took naps and slowly saw the scenery change from city to mountain scape. Evergreen trees were surrounding us, all green and lush despite the temperature. The Bus took us up the hill, and soon enough they dropped us off at the car-park lot of the mountain.

Yang Ming Shan is a really huge place, but the directions are few. We did not know where to go next, since there was no Visitor Centre nearby, nor a guide trail. When we followed the map, it led us to nowhere. All we did was walk down a sloped road, and we couldn’t see anything but a few Cherry Blossom Trees scattered here and there. We were also cold, wearing only 2 layers of clothing in the misty mountain. So another word of advice: Don’t underestimate the cold of the mountain!! Wear properly and with good walking shoes.

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We came across some Pretty Red Trees at the site. They made the whole environment really beautiful, with its crimson red leaves. It reminds me of Autumn, where the trees are all auburn orange and fiery red. Few trees made such an appearance in Yang Ming Shan. Either that, or the mist hid everything else. We could not even see the top of the mountain… Everything was mysterious.

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After aimlessly walking around for about an hour, we still got to nowhere. The waterfall that the signboard supposedly pointed to was nowhere to be found. Frustrated and tired, we decided to head back to take Bus 108. It is a bus that takes you around the mountain… Each bus ride requires a certain fair, and ours cost around 15 NT.

The bus brought us to random bus stops. We were confused at where we were supposed to get off at, since every bus stop looked like it led to nowhere. Each stop was beside a main road, which led further up the mountain. No one told us which bus stop led us to which location, so we thought that remaining on the bus till the last stop would be wise. We didn’t want to be dropped off at a place with nothing to see after all. However, the bus then swerved up to higher places. The place became even more misty. The whole surrounding was enveloped with clouds of mist, blocking out our vision. We could not see the road up ahead, neither could the driver. He had to change to a lower gear, and each inch forward was thrilling and scary at the same time. The headlights provided little visibility in the overwhelming amounts of cloud that was before us. The last stop of the bus was smack in the middle of a misty car park, and we were confused. Where were we supposed to go from here?

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Other tourists were as equally confused. We were all lost, cold and rather tired from aimless wandering. We then asked the driver to bring us to a place to see some flowers. Alas, it was disappointing too. All we got was a small flower area, and we continued walking alongside the road, in hope of a view, and flowers.

All we got was a small flower stand in the middle of the road, selling a unique white flower that grew in Yang Ming Shan. It was a long elongated flower, with the petals long like a cup. Locals went up here in motorcycles, stopping by this flower stand, and then driving back down after their purchase. We were disappointed. Was that it?? We then queried once again. Turns out the waterfall we were trying to get to, was a 40 minute hike up into the misty clouds. We did not know the mountain, or where that 40 min hike even began, so it wasn’t feasible. The volcano spring that we were trying to find as well, was so far away that it would probably require another hour on the bus, which we were not keen to get on again. We could see shoals of tourists, all wandering around the roadside, up and down the pavement, looking for something to see. I guess we weren’t the only ones.

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Disappointed, we decided to head down the mountain. So one word of advice: Come here on a sunny day, where the scenic view is more visible, and also, come here by car. Driving would get you to more places that mere walking up/relying on the bus. And last of all, much walking and full day hiking is required to see anything. Perhaps, w guided tour should be arranged around here. Call someone up before coming, cuz going alone and exploring doesn’t seem to work here!

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