Saturday, June 25, 2016

Staying Around Longshan MRT Area, Taipei

Longshan Temple (龙山寺) and its surrounding area, according to some tourism websites, was dull, not lively, lack of night life, and full with older citizens. Well, we found a more appropriate description- it was more traditional and peaceful. And, we couldn't deny an important fact- it is still in the heart of Taipei. 

We stayed in Longshan Hotel (龙山商旅) located right behind Longshan Temple. It was small, but clean, tidy and nicely decorated room, filled with enough amenity for a comfortable stay. The staff were friendly, talkative, and indeed resourceful. Their information were very useful, from food to weather.

The hotel is just 5 minutes away from Longshan MRT Station by foot, and 10 minutes away from Wanhua Train Station. Plus, 3 minutes away from night markets at Mengxia area, one MRT station away from Ximending, it is indeed a good place to stay. By the way, there is a small garden in front of Longshan Temple where senior citizens gather to play chess, drink tea, chit chat, and sometimes, to take a nap. We had been staying in the same hotel for 6 days and 5 nights.

We visited Mengxia Night Market and Huaxi Night Market nearby our hotel on the first day. Day 2, we visited Taipei Zoo, Maokong Mountain via Maokong Gondola, and Rauhe Night Market . Day 3, Yehliu Geopark, Sun-Yatsen Memorial Hall, Taipei 101, and Ximending. Day 4, Yangming Shan National Park, Shilin Night Market and National Palace Museum. Day 5, Jinguashi, Jiufen, and Zhongzheng Memorial Hall, and Day 6, we strolled around Longshan area before we departed to Taoyuan International Airport.

Longshan Hotel can be reached through the alley between Longshan Temple (wall on the right) and shop lot.

The entrance of Longshan Hotel (upper left) leads to the small lobby (upper right). The room is small with comfortable bed, kettle, complementary coffee and tea, hair drier (lower right), LCD flatscreen, mini fridge, and water heater in the bathroom.

This is what we can see from our window.

Longshan Temple is the center of the area. It is an old temple built around 270 years ago by settlers from China. It is a very popular place of worship in that area, but for us, it is just an old temple, without much significant attraction.
 
Longshan Temple attracts many visitors, but the night markets beside Longshan Temple are stronger tourist magnets. Mengxia Night Market and Huaxi Night Market are just at the opposite site of the road, left to the temple (if you are facing the temple).

Facing the temple, turn right and walk for 100 meters along Guangzhou Street, we will see a few rows of old shop lots, named Bo-Pi-Liao (剥皮僚) (Upper row). These are the old buildings built in Qing Dynasty. The area around Longshan Temple are peaceful (lower row). 

Food, souvenirs, clothes, local delicacies are the main items sold at the pedestrian streets around the area.

For food, we have plenty of choices- from giant international fast food chain (upper left), hundreds of choices along the pedestrian streets and night markets (upper right and lower right), to the delicacies available in convenient shops and supermarkets. We really need not worry about what or where to eat. By the way, we bought some local delicacies with really bargained price at Carrefour Hypermarket, which by foot, just 15 minutes away from our hotel. For the market and stalls, the food were mostly sold at NTD 50 - 150 per portion, while the food sold in the shops were more expensive (could up to NTD 300 per portion). 

 Nice street food are aplenty during the day time, but we need to get them in the street away from the main roads.

Another advantage of staying in Longshan area- less people in MRT station. This photo was taken at rush hour, and we can see the station was quite empty. Longshan MRT Station is located on Blue Line.

Staying at Longshan MRT area doesn't mean we are staying at old men's land in Taipei. Instead, it is a nice place to stay if we don't really wish to feel the hustle-bustle of this metropolitan right outside of our hotel. With MRT, it is indeed easy for us to travel around Taipei. Located on Blue Line, the interchange stations to Green Line (Taipei Main Station) and Brown Line (Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station) are just a few stations away. The fare for the public transportation in Taipei was cheap, while taxi charge was reasonable as well. However, due to the good coverage and high frequency, we used the public transports all the time in Taipei (even to Yehliu Geopark, Yangmingshan National Park, and Ruifang).

6-day-5-night trip to Taipei promises great experiences. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our friends and family, including our parents, Chin Yee, Boon Ling, Lian Huai, Livien, Bryant, Katty, Jenny, Kelly, LS's colleagues Dr. Chong, Ms. Chong, and many more who had shared their precious experience with us. We would like to thank Hui Hwa for bringing us for a night of food hunting in Taipei. Last but not least, all the good staff at Longshan Hotel for their advices from locals' perspective. You all had made our trip a wonderful and memorable one.

More about our experience in Taipei: 

Zhongzheng Memorial Hall (Taipei Trip Day 5)

Back to Taipei from Jiufen and Jinguashi at Ruifang, we headed to our next destination- Zhongzheng Memorial Hall (中正纪念堂). Zhongzheng Memorial Hall or Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall was built to commemorate Chiang Kai-shek, former president of the Republic of China. He was the first president of Taiwan as well. The memorial hall is much more larger than Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall that we visited few days ago.

The memorial hall was build with octagonal shape, representing prosperity, while staircase with 89 steps represent the age of the leader. The memorial hall is located at Zhongzheng area in Taipei. We took MRT to Zhongzheng Memorial Station, gate 5 led us right to the compound of the memorial hall. The entrance was free, but we need to climb the stairs to the hall installed a huge bronze Chiang Kai-Shek statue at the top level. Several exhibition halls were located at the lower levels. The honour guards changing ceremony was held hourly. During our visit, the last round of ceremony was held around 4:55 till 5:05 pm. Many visitors were there, but it was not squeezy as the hall was large.

The arch in front of the memorial hall was previously named Dazhong Zhizheng (大中至正) or Impartial and Rightous. However, the name was changed to Ziyou Guangchang (自由广场) or Liberty Square in 2007 by the government led by Chenshuibien. We took this photo at the middle of the square, with the memorial hall behind us.

 Zhongzheng Memorial Hall is a big white square building with blue octagonal roof. 
 We need to conquer stairs before reaching the main hall.

The Liberty Square from Zhongzheng Memorial Hall. We can see the National Concert Hall on the right and the National Theater on the left.

A closer look on the National Concert Hall.


National Theater looks similar in design as National Concert Hall.
 The honour guards changing ceremony was more interesting compared to the one in Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall.

We took a quick tour to the lower levels of the memorial hall, which a series of exhibitions were housed. Some of the personal items used by Chiang Kai-Shek was displayed. These exhibition halls had more items to display compared to Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall.

No doubt, Zhongzheng Memorial Hall was the biggest Memorial Hall that we had ever visited. It is a big structure, with beautiful garden within the compound. It will make our visit more interesting if we can do some research and prior reading on Chiang Kai-shek, the person who this big-white structure was built for. The guard changing ceremony was interesting, and we believed the ceremony and performance were the main attraction there. Is it a must visit site in Taipei? No, unless you know Chiang Kai-shek and the history of China-Taiwan. If you wish to watch the guard changing ceremony, then Zhongzheng Memorial Hall is a right place for you. 

We stayed in the hall for around 1 hour. We then went down town to Eslite 24 Hour Bookstore before having dinner at Du Xiao Yue Restaurant with our friend. Both Eslite Bookstore and Du Xiao Yue Restaurant were not far away from Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT Station.

Du Xiao Yue was famous with Southern Taiwanese food (upper left). We tried several dishes, including the famous noodle (upper right), the oyster (lower right), and some fried snacks. The food there was nice with reasonable price. The restaurant was popular and we had to queue for a while to get an empty table.

After dinner, we went to Dong Qu Fen Yuan for dessert. Fen yuan is made by tapioca, red bean, pumpkin and other plant-based ingredients, prepared in chewable way. It was special and tasted good.

We strolled around Mengxia Night Market again before we went back to our hotel. We took our opportunity to try onion pancake, and the taste was like roti canai in Malaysia and roti prata in Singapore. On day 6, we strolled around Mengxia streets and found a good place to buy souvenirs. Stay with us.

More about our experience in Taipei:


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Jiufen and Jinguashi, Two Old Mining Towns Near Taipei (Taipei Trip Day 5)

Jiufen (九份) is a little town in Ruifang (瑞芳) District. "Jiufen" means "nine portion". During Qing Dynasty, there were only nine families stayed in the village. Whenever the shipment arrived, the representative would request for "nine portion" to be brought back to the village. That's how Jiufen got her name.

Located on mountainous area, Jiufen developed into a mining town due to the gold rush in 1890s, and reached its peak during Japanese occupation. After the gold mining operation stopped in 1971, the town declined. The town again becoming the focus of tourists because of the movie "A City of Sadness" and anime "Spirit Away". We couldn't tell how true it was, but what we knew for sure- Jiufen was a small old town jammed by massive tourists.

Day 5 in Taipei, we departed to Ruifang from Wanhua Train Station. We were lucky to stay in a hotel around Longshan Temple in Taipei, where Wanhua Train Station was just 10 minutes away by foot. It was 8:30 am. Early trip promised comfort, quiet, and most importantly, plenty of seats. The train trip to Ruifang took around 60 minutes. After breakfast at Ruifang, we decided to visit Jinguashi (金瓜石) first. The taxi from Ruifang to Jinguashi took 20 minutes with fixed fare of NTD 270. The traffic was light in the morning.

Jinguashi is another old mining town developed during the gold rush era. We had only one place in our must visit list there- The Gold Mine Museum (黄金博物馆). The entrance to the museum was free, but we had to spend NTD 50 to enter Benshan (本山) mining tunnel 5. The museum opens from 9:30 am till 5 pm, and will be extended to 6 pm on holiday.

Wanhua Station was quiet on early Sunday morning (upper left). There were plenty of seat in the train (upper right). The train system is a bit different from the MRT. We can see there is no screen between the platform and the railway (lower right). We knew Ruifang Station was old by just looking at the buidling style of the station.

Looking out from the main entrance of Ruifang Station, we could see a line of yellow taxis awaiting for the customers (upper left). The taxi was running with fixed fare. In case of travelling by bus, we need to cross the road in front of the station (upper right), turned left and walked straight for a few minutes to reach the bus stop. We took our breakfast at one of the coffee shop nearby the taxi station- Yonghe Soybean Milk (永和豆浆)(lower right). The soybean milk was concentrated, while the tangbao (汤包) or the bun with soup inside was one of the best we had ever tried.

The old (upper left) and the new bus stop of Jinguashi (upper right) is located side by side to each other. The building of the old bus stop is now used as the tourist information center of the museum (lower right). The staff in the tourist information center were friendly and gave us a short briefing on what to see around the area.

Located beside the tourist information center, siliandong (四连栋) was the first building that we visited. It was in fact a terrace of four houses built in Japanese style. It was the old quarter for the high rank officers.

The terrace house was restored according to its original plan. The yard (upper left), underground tunnel (upper right), dining room (lower right), and bedroom were rebuilt according to the Japanese design.

Next to the terrace house is a square. The square is surrounded by the museum administration office, an old gold refining building, and a cafe. There is a staircase that lead to the second level of the museum- the Gold Building and mining tunnel 5.

The statue at the second level of the museum.

There are several gigantic air compressors exhibited around the 2nd level area (upper left), used to provide fresh air to the miners deep under the ground. The 200 kg gold bar exhibited in the Gold Building (upper right). It is the highlight and the main attraction of the museum. We had the opportunity to walk into a mining tunnel (lower right), with some models placed to reflect the working condition inside the tunnel.

For a better experience, visit the Gold Building first before jump into the mining tunnel. The exit of the mining tunnel is a distance away from the entrance, so try not to leave anything behind at the entrance. The museum is unique as the exhibits are scattered across a wide area. The visitors are exposed to natural elements. We would advise to bring an umbrella with you, just in case of raining. We need to walk a lot in the museum area, and the tunnel walk is very slippery, thus non-slippery footwear is the best. Food and drinks can be purchased in the museum area. We spent around 1 hour and 30 minutes in the museum. 

There are more places in Jinguashi such as the Japanese shrine at the third level of the museum, the Golden Waterfall, and the POW Memorial. All these places are not far from the Gold Museum, so you may visit them if you have time to spare. More information about Jinguashi can be found at Formosa Guide.

We were hinted by the taxi driver to return to Jiufen by bus. He told us that all the buses that going towards Ruifang direction would reach Jiufen. The frequency of bus was high, so it was not worth to take taxi from Jinguashi to Jiufen. We waited for less than 1 minute for the bus and 10 minutes we took to reach Jiufen.
Jiufen bus stop is located near to the Jiufen Old Street (upper left). The main road was narrow and it required experienced driver to drive the big bulky bus through the sharp corners (upper right). The entrance of the old street can be easily located by the gathering visitors (lower right). The old street is in fact a few feet wide walking path with stalls and shops on both sides.

This is the entrance of the old street.

We can see from here that the old street is narrow, and can be stuffy and squeezy with many people moving around the area.

We tried some food which were highly recommended by several food bloggers- the meat balls with soup (upper row), and the yam and beans dessert (lower row). Frankly, we tried the meatballs at two different stalls and found nothing special about the meatballs. Yam and beans dessert was special, but taste wise, just average.

We found the ice-cream wrap (upper row) and the red fermented meat wrap (lower row) were special, and tasted good.

The deeper we went into the street, the lesser the visitors we found on the street. 

Nice view over the small town can be seen at a few locations along the old street.

End of the old street marks the beginning of another journey into another part of the town. We could see a few beautiful coffee houses afar.

Jiufen no doubt is a peaceful old town. The terrace of houses built along the sloppy green mountain promises stunning view. We can choose to squeeze around with hundreds of visitors at the old street, or to escape into a quiet and peaceful zone far away from the old street. For us, we found the old street was indeed another version of night market in Taipei- food, drinks, souvenirs, clothes, and massive crowd. There were lack of attraction that we could really see the life of the people during the gold rush era (or maybe we didn't notice their presence). Claimed as a settlement since Qing Dynasty, the relics from Qing Dynasty could not be found as well. Personally, we found Jinguashi was more attractive than Jiufen, and we should have spend more time there.

We went back to Ruifang Train Station by taxi with fixed fare NTD 205. 3:30 pm, we hooped onto the train to Taipei. Our next stop- Zhongzhen Memorial Hall. Stay with us.

More about our experience in Taipei: 


Shilin Market and National Palace Museum (Taipei Trip Day 4)

Returning from Yangmingshan National Park, we decided to go to Taiwan National Palace Museum first before our dinner at Shilin Night Market. National Palace Museum keeps a huge collection of ancient China Imperial artifacts. Some source stated that with 700k plus artifacts, it is the biggest museum of its kind. Well, we need to agree that only the Palace Museum in Beijing, China can beat it on the number of imperial artifacts. The type of the artifacts exhibited are mainly paintings and calligraphy, the metalwares, jades, ceramics. The museum contains several exhibition halls. We went through the halls following the numbers. We were excited to see different versions of the painting of "Along the River during the Qing Ming festival" (清明上河图) and amazed by the meat shaped stone. One dissapointment- the Jadeite Cabbage (翠玉白菜) was exhibited in other museum and we didn't have the chance to see it.

Taiwan National Palace Museum opens daily from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm, and opens till 9 pm on Friday and Saturday. The entrance fee is NTD 150 per adult. More information about the exhibition, opening hours, and entrance fee are avaialble at the museum official website. From Shilin MRT Station, we took a 20-minute bus trip (red line no. 30, or R30) to the museum. Reached at 6:30 pm, we roamed around for 2 hours there (yes, it was Saturday). Then, we went back to Shilin MRT Station, then to Jiantan MRT Station. Be noted that Shilin Market is nearer to Jiantan MRT Station, not Shilin MRT Station.

The main gate of Taiwan National Palace Museum. The bus stop is located at the ground floor of the main museum building. If we go by bus, we need to walk out of the main building to see the gate. "天下为公" described that everything on earth belongs to community. It brings the point that everything inside the museum belongs to entire human race, not for the emperors only.

We can see a big metalware- a "ding" (鼎)in front of the museum building. It is an ancient cooking ware.

There are other buildings with exhibition halls (upper left) near to the main museum building (upper right). A closer look at the big "ding" in front fo the museum (lower right). Our bags and camera have to be left at the locker. We took the opportunity to see the music performance at the museum's lobby before we left.

Again, if we want to go to Shilin Market (or night market), the nearest MRT station is Jiantan Station. From Jiantan MRT Station, follow the signages first, turn left and cross the road once exit from gate 1. Then the flow of crowd will lead us to the market.

Clear signage, yes, this time with English to Shilin Market in the MRT station (upper left). From gate 1, we can see a flux of people walking to and fro Shilin Market (upper right). So what we need to do is crossing the road and follow the crowd (lower right). By foot, Shilin Market is 5 minutes away from  Jiantan MRT station.
There is a big food court at the basement level of Shilin Market (upper left). There are several entrance to the food court. The food court was really crowded on Saturday, but we still managed to find a place to sit (upper right). The fried oyster was really nice (lower right), while the beef noodle was average. We tried the cracker wrap (大饼包小饼) at another stall. We didn't like the wrap.
 
Moved back to surface. The area inside the market with cover itself is not big (upper left). However., the night market extends to the area with stalls beside the covered street (upper right), uncovered street (lower right), and the street with shops like Ximending.

This is how Shilin Market looks like during day time.

We tried several types of food along the streets, including the vermicelli with soup (upper left), grilled mushroom (upper right), flame-grilled beef cube (lower right), and fried chicken steak. All of them tasted good except the chicken steak.

There are some quiet corner at Shilin Night Market as well- inside the market buidling.

Shilin Market used to be a marketplace nearby a harbour. Today, it has been transformed into a tourism night market. The evidence of its humble beginning can be still found here and there.

 The site of the old market is quiet. Nobody cares about this old place in the middle of extravagant night life.

Shilin Market is really crowded, especially at the streets outside the market building. The pedestrian streets are much smaller and not well illuminated compared to Ximending. It is not as organized as Raohe Night Market (饶河夜市)as well. Although many souces consider Shilin as night market, but in our opinion, there are only one or two streets that can be considered as real night market- streets with stalls or shacks. The rest are more towards the pedestrian streets with shops. However, Shilin Market did fulfill our expectation in providing good variety of food. It can be a good place for shopping- souvenirs, local delicacies, clothes, footwear, IT gadgets, teas and we can even buy ourselves a new goldfish.

We left Shilin Market at around 10 pm. That was out last stop on day 4. Day 5, old town Jiufen and the abandoned gold mine Jinguashi were in our list.

More about our experience in Taipei:

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Yangmingshan National Park, a Must Visit Place in Taipei (Taipei Trip Day 4)

We visited Yehliu Geopark the day before and we thought that was the most beautiful place near Taipei. Well, that's before we visited Yangmingshan National Park (阳明山国家公园).

Fifth day in Taipei. We left our hotel at around 8:15 am and reached the park 90 minutes later. The park can be reached through public transports. First, take MRT to Jiantan (剑潭) MRT Station. Then go to the bus stop locates at the same building with MRT station. Take the bus no. R5 and it will bring us right to the Yangmingshan Bus Station. From there, we can continue our trip around the park with the park's shuttle bus.

The entrance to all attractions in Yangmingshan National Park was free. What we need to pay were the bus tickets (including park's shuttle bus), food, drinks, and souvenirs. The shuttle buses were operating with 10 - 20 minutes frequency, and the fare could be paid conveniently with Easy Card. However, at some popular spots, we were at risk of not able to squeeze into the shuttle bus. The shuttle bus required NTD 15 per trip per pax regardless the distance, even for the trip from the park down to the MRT station. One of the visitor in the bus joked that she wanted to get another round trip, just to enjoy the low fare.

Some important information about the shuttle bus. We found that Yangmingshan Bus Station was the first stop of the shuttle bus, and the stop at Yangming Tourism Information Center was the second. So, to avoid dissapointment of not able to get onto a crowded bus, we shall try to hoop onto the shuttle bus at the first stop. The shuttle bus is going around the park in clock wise direction. So if we missed one site behind, we need to go a whole way round the park to get there. 

Day trip ticket was available, but it would not worth the money paid if we planned to stop at 2 to 3 sites only. Last but not least, always tell the driver where we want to go. The drivers know the best place to stop. For example, there are three stops along Zhuzi Hu (竹子湖) area. The third stop which is next to the police station is the one that closest to the flower gardens. During our visit, the driver would make announcement once the bus reached the stop. A few drivers were very humourous, and tended to joke a lot. But there was one problem- the drivers spoke in Mandarin only.

All right, now back to Yangmingshan Bus Station. We queued for 20 minutes for the park's shuttle bus, squeezed into it, and squeezed out at the bus stop near Zhuzi Hu Police Station. We went to the paddy museum to get some information there. It was the blossom season for calla lily, and the flowers at Dinghu (顶湖) or the Upper Lake was the most beautiful one. There is a main road lead to Dinghu, but we recommend to take alternative garden's path, which offers nicer view and relaxing atmosphere. The path from the Paddy Museum to Dinghu took us around 15 minutes.

Yangmingshan Bus Station is the first stop for the park's shuttle bus (upper left). We could see people queued for the shuttle bus (upper right). The bigger bus which has plenty of space cannot be used in the park due to the narrow road (lower right). The shuttle bus is small and is always packed with visitors in weekends.

Bus stop nearby Zhuzi Hu Police Station is the one closest to Dinghu (upper left). There was a signage showing the direction of Zhuzi Hu, but it was in Mandarin (upper right). The Paddy Museum is around 50 meters from the police station (lower right). The staff there was very helpful. They gave us the map and showed us the way to Dinghu. The was a signage showing the direction of "the path to see flowers" right after the museum. 

The pathway to Dinghu was well shaded by trees (upper left) with well constructed walking path (upper right). With beautiful surrounding, we enjoyed the walk very much (lower right). We could recognize Dinghu by the patches of calla lily gardens.

We paid NT 100 each to enter one of the gardens there. It was really exciting to see so many calla lilies blooming around.

More calla lilies.

We could see Xiaoyoukeng (小油坑) from the garden. It looks near but it is actually 20-minute bus trip away from Zhuzi Hu.

Dinghu is a beautiful country side.

Most calla lilies are white, but some have different colours.

With the fee paid, we were allowed to pick 8 white flowers per person from the garden without extra charge. The one with red colour required extra NT 10 (upper left). We still had long way to go, so we picked only 8 instead of 16 flowers from the garden. The owner of the garden generously gave us NT 100 food coupon for 8 unused quota. We used the coupon at the food stalls in front of the garden (upper right). The meat balls and the fried sweet potatoes were really nice (lower right). We stayed at Dinghu for one hour before moving to our next stop- Xiaoyoukeng.
 
·         Xiaoyoukeng (小油坑) is around 20 minutes away from Zhuzi Hu by bus. Our advice- don’t try to walk, although it looks near on map. Xiaoyoukeng can be literally translated as "Little Oil Pit". It is a volcanic pit by the side of Qixingshan (七星山), or the "Seven Stars Mountain". The shuttle bus brought us to the bus stop of Xiaoyoukeng. We took another 3 minutes walk down the walkway to the observatory platform some 50 meters away from the pit. We could see the steam gushing out from the rocks with sulfur, but couldn't feel the heat due to the strong wind. 

Xiaoyoukeng from the observatory platform.

The observatory platform brought us close to the pit.

Closer look on the pit.

Beautiful green scenery around Xiaoyoukeng.

We roamed around Xiaoyoukeng for 30 minutes. The bus stop is nearby the pit and the tourist information center (upper left), so we can actually rest at the tourist information center while waiting for the bus. The path to Qixingshan is just beside the bus stop (upper right). There is a canteen for us to take a break (lower right). But the choice of food and drinks were limited.

Qingtiangang was our third stop in Yangmingshan National Park. It is a beautiful grassland, 20 minutes by bus from Xiaoyoukeng. It was a place for tea plantation and farmlands. In 1930s, Qingtiangang was transformed into cattle farms but the operation stopped many years ago due to the low market demand on traditional cattle farming industry. Now, cattle still roaming around the area, not because of the meat, but to serve tourism purposes. Mesmerized by the scenery, we stayed there longer than expected.


Once get off the bus, we climbed to the entrance to Qingtiangang, where clean grassland and strong wind awaited.

Endless grassland at Qingtiangang. This photo was taken from trail nearby the entrance.

Looking back after some 5-minute walk from the entrance. There were a few black cows grazing on the grassland.


Closer look on one of the cows.

Obviously there were more human beings than cows. Visitors were sitting on western-facing slope, awaiting for the sunset.

There were some old buildings abandoned by the farmers (upper left), and the bunkers abandoned by the garrison soldiers (upper right). We couldn't get any information regarding the bunker at the site. Some said it was left by Japanese after their defeat in World War 2. We went back to the tourist information center (lower right) to wait for the bus. The queue was long but manageable, and would be longer when the sunset worshippers came down from the hill.

We had a few options to go back to MRT station, and the fastest one (to beat the long queue) was by taking a mini bus no. 15 (小15) from Qingtiangan straight to Shilin (士林) MRT Station. It was far more convenient than taking the park's shuttle bus back to Yangmingshan Bus Station, then took another bus back to Jiantan MRT Station. It took us around 15 minutes to wait for the bus, and another 1 hour on the road to Shilin MRT Station.

Yangmingshan National Park is a must visit place in Taipei. Visiting 2 to 3 sites in the park was just nice for a day trip (with 1 – 2 hours allocated to each site). We would recommend Zhuzi Hu, Xiaoyoukeng, and Qingtiangang. By the way, most of the signages were written in traditional Chinese characters only. It was all right for us as we could understand both simplified and traditional Chinese. But for those who cannot, extra homework is required.

Our bus took one hour to reach Shilin MRT Station. From there, we decided to go to Gugong Museum (故宫博物院), or the National Palace Museum before visiting Shilin Night Market.

More about our experience in Taipei: