The last couple days I’ve spent exploring the area around Taipei. The first day was on foot hiking around the Taipei 101 area (I’m living about two miles away) and the second was with the mom of the family I’m staying with going for a hike in the morning and to a bath house in the afternoon.
Keelung Riverside Park
I’m staying near Keelung River, one of the major rivers in Taipei. The river itself is pretty standard and mundane but what Taipei has built around it is really interesting. Both banks have a fairly wide open space and then tall walls with giant gates which makes me think flooding is pretty common. They have taken this space though and used it to make a big park along the entire length of the river. It’s pretty and popular, I really liked it.
Four popular hiking trails around Taipei are the “4 Beast Mountains”, they have great views of the city. I hiked up the most popular of them – Elephant Mountain! It’s really popular and with good reason. The hike itself was just a few minutes long once you get to the base, the most interesting thing about Taiwan to me is how close the city is to the jungle. I literally walked from the Taipei 101 to a jungle in a half hour.
Shilin is a district north of the city center which I know it best for being the home of Taipei’s biggest night market. Jean, the mom of the family I’m staying with, took me to a hiking trail she knows of there. It was a nice an easy path with some stairs and such, but the highlight was definitely seeing monkeys!
Beitou Hot Springs
Beitou is further north from Taipei and is known for it’s hot springs. During the period of being a Japanese colony many Japanese style bath resorts were constructed and are still popular today. Jean took me to her favorite and it was an experience! The Japanese style is for there to be separate guys and girls area, you take a shower before getting in the hot springs, and everyone is naked. It was actually pretty fun and I was there by myself for a while so I could take some pictures :]