BANPING SHAN AND TEAPOT MOUNTAIN LOOP (半屏山/無耳茶壺山O型)

img_0487-1 This is the perfect half-day hike for adventure-seekers who want to explore the many and varied delights of Taiwan’s marvellous northeastern coast.

XIONG KONG NAN SHAN and YUNSEN FALLS (熊空南山/雲森瀑布)

This has definitely been one of my favourite hikes of the year. The walk starts with a reasonable climb through quiet and multi-layered forests to a peak that remained cool and breezy even in the summer heat. Then tracks down again to follow the playful Zhongkeng Stream as it spills and bounces it’s way through the valley. There are mountain views, grand waterfalls and even swimming holes to be enjoyed along the way. I will be adding this to my list of places to take visiting friends.

YONGHE RIDGE LOOP

img_9589 Whilst Taipei’s northern and eastern hills tend to get most of the attention, this trail to the southwest of the city has plenty to offer the traveller who strays from the well-trodden trails of Yangmingshan Park. Indeed, as the locals know, Yonghe District has well-trodden paths of its own to explore. This route takes in ancient banyans, views to both the north and the south, all manner of trail types and enough temples to satisfy the very keenest of temple aficionados.

MOUNT HEMEI TRAIL (和美山步道)

Once a highlight of Taiwan’s domestic tourism industry, Bitan is now a relaxed feeling, end-of-the-line destination, mostly populated by families looking for an easy day out. To see a different side of this weekend hotspot you can cross over the suspension bridge and take a walk up one of the trails up to Hemei Peak. With it’s abandoned amusement park and the return trip on the lone surviving paddle ferry, this really is a wander into Bitan’s past.