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Nature around Taipei

semi-overcast 36 °C
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First stop today is a National Park just outside Taipei, Yangmingshan National Park. It's about an hour from Taipei. The park is famous for its unique volcanic geology and topographical sights. There are several (dormant) volcanoes located in the park. Mount Qixin is the highest mountain. There are several fumaroles in the area so you can smell the sulfur everywhere and see the steam coming up, the proof that there still is volcanic activity even though the volcanoes aren't very active, some have been dormant for quite some years. There used to be sulfur mining in the area, but that was a long time ago. DSC01015.JPGDSC03025.JPG

There are several hiking trails in the park up the mountains. The area is very nice to be around, There are also several scenic spots. At the visitors center there is a little exhibition on how the park came to be what it is now with all the volcanic activity, how it works with the continental plates and so on. Taipei is located near the ring of fire, and the guide told us there are actually several (small) earthquakes every day, most of which you don't even notice, but there always is the risk of earthquakes. That's why everything that is being built on the island is as earthquake proof as possible, like with the Taipei101 and the damper. It is interesting to take a look in the visitors center, but the short film they made with explanations is really made for kids and school/educational purpose, so you don't really need to watch that.

Next we went to Yehliu Geopark. This park has a lot of rock formations and parts of it really look like a moonscape. As is common with the rock formations you sometimes need imagination to really see what they mean, but it is worth visiting. We were still getting used to the hot weather so it was all a bit challenging with the heat.

We first visited the mushroom forest. It is a part of the park with rocks that look like mushrooms. No touching though, or the guard will start blowing his whistle very often and very loud to give a warning. There is also a rock called 'cute princess' on that side. This is one of the two main attractions of the park. The other one is located on the other side, called 'the queen's head'. Along the way we saw several others like tofu rock, ice cream rock, the sandal, and gorilla rock. The middle one is the cute princess, the last one is the queen's head.

The park is located near water. So everywhere on the edges they put down red lines. Do not cross them. Besides the guards that will whistle at you to move back as soon as you cross it, if you fall there is no shore to climb back on. Also the sea currents are very strong so swimming is actually not a real option. A while a go a student who crossed the line fell down into the sea. A fisherman tried to help him and dove after him. The fisherman now has a memorial statue that is located in the park near the place where he and the student drowned.

Today we also visited Jiufen Village, it's a village built up against a mountain slope. It isn't very big, but it is nice and you can get very nice views over the countryside. Unfortunately it is also very crowded with tourist, because it is said that the (down)town was a model for the town in the anime Spirited Away even though the director of the film denies this. A lot of (Japanese) tourists want a picture of the tea house that supposedly stood model for the bathhouse in the movie.

Other then that there are a lot of shops, food and drink stalls, and other teahouses where you can enjoy tea or lunch with a breathtaking view. We went to Shifen, a place where you can buy (and release) sky lanterns. It was fun decorating it and letting it fly. We went back to Taipei after that.

Posted by Astreia 17:00 Archived in Taiwan Tagged nature taipei taiwan

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