Day 10.  A visit to Yangmingshan National Park and Beitou Hot Springs 

We woke at 7.00 am but struggled to get out of bed for another half an hour.  Fortunately the monsoon shower head invigorated me and we were soon ready to experience our first breakfast in Taipei.  The hotel’s restaurant, located on the 2nd floor was called ‘Find the Life Kitchen’ and had modern furnishings.

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Breakfast dumplings in Taipei

There was a good selection of Taiwanese dumplings in various colours (we were soon to discover the significance of this and how they varied in taste), noodles, eggs, other hot dishes as well as fresh fruit and toast.  The coffee tasted good too, I dislike strong coffee but this was just to my liking and I happily returned for more.

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Flower Clock, Yangmingshan National Park, Taiwan

Having a full schedule ahead of us, we took the MRT to Taipei main station and then searched for the bus stop servicing route 260 to the Yangmingshan National Park as we planned to visit the final day of the Cherry Blossom Festival.  This volcanic park is located across parts of Taipei and New Taipei City and is famous for its cherry blossom.

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Yangmingshan National Park

The bus taking 40 minutes, terminated by the Flower Clock which was very attractive and fully functioning.  Cherry blossom trees were coming towards the end of their flowering season but still looked a beautiful sight.  Being a Sunday and the final day of the festival, there were many people enjoying a day out in the warm sunshine, so warm in fact that we paused under a shady tree to apply some sun cream.

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Temple, Yangmingshan National Park

In addition to cherry blossom, azaleas bloomed profusely and we followed the small paths admiring the flowers amid the delightful national park scenery.  Coming across a stage we paused to watch some Taiwanese folk dancing and a local orchestra entertain us with some tunes.  There were various cafes dotted around and we stopped off for our morning coffee in one of them.

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Folk dancing at the Cherry Blossom Festival, Yangmingshan National Park

It had then been our intention to visit the Hot Springs but whilst queuing for our bus we noticed crowds of people waiting for other minibuses and wondered where they might be going.  Fortunately for us, the bus station supervisor spoke some English and informed us that, at a higher elevation, it was peak viewing time for calla lilies and suggested we take a look.  Joining the lengthy queue, by the time it was our turn to board a minibus no seats remained so we had to stand and hang on for dear life as the bus navigated the hairpin bends along its route.

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Calla lilies at Yangmingshan National Park

Arriving at the lily farms, it seemed utter chaos, the whole of Taipei appeared to be there, narrow roads were congested and people were everywhere.  The only map we could find was in Mandarin and was impossible for us to understand so we asked a girl who had also been on our bus if she knew which way to go.  She was actually from Singapore and it was her first visit too, but at least she could understand Mandarin and suggested that we follow the trails together which proved to be an excellent idea as she was so nice and interesting to talk to.

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Calla lilies in Yangmingshan National Park

There were fields of calla lilies as far as the eye could see and we followed a marked trail for about an hour admiring the blooms.  Passing some street food vendors we bought some sweet, soft dough buns, one coffee and the other a sweet savoury combination of cheese and chocolate which tasted delicious and was recommended by our new friend.  It was much cooler up here with low lying mist, so different from earlier in the morning when we felt the sun burning our skin.

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Sign inside Taiwanese buses indicating payment method

Bidding farewell to our companion we caught a minibus to Beitou, this time managing to get seats.  Paying bus fares by EasyCard is quite complicated as sometimes one has to tap in when joining the bus or at other times one needs to tap in only on alighting and sometimes both – depending on the length of the journey.  The above illuminated sign explains to passengers when they need to pay but there still seemed to be some confusion, even with locals.

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Beitou Public Library

On arriving in Beitou our first stop was to the gorgeous public library which has been included in a poll of the 25 most beautiful libraries in the world (you can read the article here) and it was easy to see why.  We strolled around and looked out from the wooden balcony where people were sitting on wooden benches reading.  The library was busy with people working at tables and browsing book shelves which was pleasing to see and also that it opened on Sundays.

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Beitou Hot Springs Museum

Next door to the library stands the Beitou Hot Springs Museum, admission is free but visitors are requested to remove shoes and wear the slippers provided to prevent damage to the polished wooden floors.  The small museum was very interesting and after learning something about the history of Beitou Hot Springs we went outside to follow the Beitou Hot Springs Trail where we were able to both smell the sulphur and feel the hot steam rising from the stream.

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Bath Inside the Beitou Hot Springs Museum
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Stained glass windows in the Beitou Hot Springs Museum

Combining visits to both the Cherry Blossom Festival in Yangmingshan National Park and the Hot Springs in Beitou worked well being only a short distance apart and with our unplanned detour to view the lilies we had still managed to fit both in without needing to rush.

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Entrance to the Beitou Hot Springs trail
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Beitou Hot Springs

To complete our first full day in Taiwan, we took the MRT from Xinbeitou to Tamsui, a popular riverside resort in the north of the island on the banks of the Tamsui river, being a 40 minute metro journey if travelling from central Taipei.

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Tamsui waterfront, Taiwan

Darkness was just falling as we arrived in this lively resort and we enjoyed strolling along the tree lined promenade where we found a large number of food stalls to tempt us.

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Tamsui Promenade

Ordering two steaks from a street vendor, he chopped the beef into small pieces and then cooked them to perfection using a blow torch, handing them to us to eat with skewers.  A little further on some pork filled steam buns also tempted us, the dough being soft and the inside tender and juicy.

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Steak cooked by blow torch at the Tamsui Night Market, Taiwan

From another stall we sampled some squid and for a sweet treat we bought two cakes to share – one with a vanilla filling whilst the other had a red bean paste filling.  We both preferred the sweeter, vanilla cake but it was interesting to try the red bean to see how it tasted.

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Bathroom with LCD television at Green World Hotel Grand Nanjing, Taipei

Having eaten our way along the night market and experienced another fun filled day in Taiwan, it was time to return to our hotel and soak in the bath tub whilst watching television!

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65 thoughts on “Day 10.  A visit to Yangmingshan National Park and Beitou Hot Springs 

  1. Thank you for this enchanting glimpse of Taiwan! How reassuring to learn of the beauty and usage of their library. Sometimes we hear from those who say that libraries are no longer needed since we now have the internet. No way!! Libraries are our records of our histories and or cultures

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read my post on Yangmingshan National Park and Beitou. The library was indeed beautiful. Libraries are just as important today as pre internet days. It’s nice to use the library to Research family History and I always order guide books for places I intend to visit, too.

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  2. nancylovespie

    Love this! We went to Beitou during the evening, so unfortunately didn’t get a chance to tour the lovely library. Sounds like we’ll have to go back next time, and check out the national park as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks like a wonderful first full day in Taipei you had there. Thanks for including information about the public transportation you took while getting around. We love public transit when visiting cities as it’s a great way to immerse in local life.

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      1. If you follow the links to the original article, they also list beautiful university, public and private libraries in separate articles. The Oxbridge schools rate a number of inclusions, natch. There are a few British public libraries, as well as some in India, clearly originating from the colonial era there. Fascinating. Travel safely!

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        1. I’ve just taken a look at the library links and it’s very interesting. I had no idea that Bristol library in the U.K. was so beautiful. I’ve been in the New York public library but unfortunately the famous Rose reading room was closed for refurbishment when we were there.

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  4. Such an interesting day – finishing off with television in the bath too!! I love cherry blossom so this would have been totally my thing, the lilies look stunning too and how nice that you had a companion to take you there.

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    1. We had a splendid first full day in Taiwan. The flower festival was beautiful and the girl from Singapore was so nice. She was on a business trip and had the weekend off to explore so I think she enjoyed our company. The lilies could be picked and purchased for a small cost to take home.

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      1. Quite a few people we know that have been to Taiwan and Hong Kong rave about Taiwan. We have yet to get to Asia. We were debating Thailand and Japan. We ended up going to Vancouver Island again. We wanted to see grizzly bears. We figured the temples can wait a bit. We tend to be nature starved. I get to live through posts like yours for now 🙂

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        1. Thank you for your interesting comments. I’m sure you will enjoy Asia but there are so many amazing other parts of the world to visit. Quite a long time ago we visited Vancouver and Vancouver Island and had a great time there, too.

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    1. Thank you for your welcome thoughts on our first full day in Taiwan. The steak was cooked medium rare just as we ordered but cooking by blow torch was new to me! The calla lilies were beautiful and we were so pleased we had an opportunity to see them.

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  5. Yangmingshan National Park looks absolutely amazing. The floral clock is unique. We have azaleas here, so, for some reason, I figured they were only native to North America. Boy, do I really need to get out more. LOL The Calla Lilly farm looks fabulous. I guess they grow so well there because it is damp and cooler there. So glad that you found a new friend who could help you navigate. The library is beautiful. I, too, think it is great that a lot of people were utilizing it. The bath in the hot springs museum looked a little dirty and gross to me. Was that just because it is sulphur water? It is interesting that the steak was cooked with a blow torch. Certainly have never seen that one before. Sounds like you had another wonderful day. Thanks for sharing. I learned a lot.

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    1. We had a brilliant day out, the calla lilies seem to like growing in a damp soil and there were just so many of them to see. People could also pick them and buy the ones they had selected. The library was gorgeous, I’m sure that it encouraged more locals to use it. As for the bath at the Hot Springs Museum. It’s probably stained partly due to the sulphur and partly because due to its age and usage over the years. I’ve never eaten meat cooked with a blow torch before but he asked our preference and our medium rare was just right! Thank you for your welcome thoughts on our first full day in Taiwan.

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  6. One of the most attractive things about Northern Asia to me is their love of beautifying their surrounds. Where urban living makes that difficult they try to bring some of that beauty into their flower boxes windows and where possible outside shops. Thanks for refreshing my memory on the beauty to be found in Taiwan.

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