Taipingshan is a must-visit destination for nature lovers, especially those who enjoy mountainous terrains and lush forest trails. The area is predominantly covered by ancient forests that were once major logging sites. Even though many years have passed, remnants and old logging equipment such as old forest railway tracks, aerial ropeways for uphill transportation, and engine-powered winches can still be seen.
In this trip, I will guide you through various exciting trails including the Jianqing Huaigu Trail and Maosing Reminiscent Trail, both offering beautiful atmospheres. A highlight of this trip that everyone should witness is the old railway tracks covered in moss, transforming them into vibrant green paths amidst the damp forest. Moreover, if you visit Taipingshan early in the morning, not only will you be immersed in the beautiful nature, but you will also witness the stunning ‘sea of fog’ that blankets the forest, adding a layer of mystery to the area and inviting further exploration.
Get to Know Taipingshan
Taipingshan, located in the northern region of Yilan, is one of the most important national forest reserves in Taiwan. Its humid climate and frequent rainfall contribute to a richly diverse environment teeming with valuable trees such as Taiwan Cypress, Japanese Cypress, and Taiwan Hemlock.
In addition, Taipingshan’s Cuifeng Lake Circular Trail was recognized as the “World’s First Silent Trail” on July 18, 2022, coinciding with World Listening Day. The quietest sound measured on the trail was less than 25 decibels, almost complete silence.
Even if you don’t walk the Lake Circular Trail, you can still experience the forest atmosphere filled with various species of cypress trees and thick moss that covers the forest floor. This moss acts as a natural sound absorber, creating a tranquil environment where you can hear the wind, the trees, and the occasional insect. It’s like walking in a naturally sound-controlled room, providing a peaceful retreat for the mind.
Given all these features, it’s no surprise that Taipingshan has become a popular relaxation spot for Taiwanese locals and tourists alike. I can guarantee that Taipingshan, with its lush greenery, mountainous landscapes, and natural beauty, is absolutely stunning. If you don’t believe me, read on for the full review!
Taipingshan Travel Plan
For my Taipingshan travel plan, I started my trip from Keelung, then to New Taipei, and finally to Yilan where ended at Taipingshan. The main activities in Taipingshan are walking trails and exploring the Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area. You can make a day trip here, but I recommend staying overnight at the park’s accommodation inside Taipingshan or finding it near the park the night before so you can start early in the morning and save travel time.
To enter the Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area, there is an entrance fee collected at the gate, similar to our national parks. Tickets can be purchased on-site, but if you want to save time, you can also buy them online in advance through platforms like Klook and KKday. This way, you can maximize your time exploring the beautiful nature of Taipingshan. [Purchase ticket via Klook] [Purchase ticket via KKday]
|1. Jianqing Huaigu Trail
2. Bong Bong Train
3. Maosing Reminiscent Trail (Lower Loop + Upper Loop)
4. Cuifeng Lake Circular Trail (* if you have time)
|Sun Hola Villa
How to Get to Taipingshan
There are several ways to reach Taipingshan. I drove there with a friend, which was quite convenient as we could decide our own schedule. However, if you don’t have a car, you can still reach Taipingshan from Taipei using public transportation or by taking a train and then a bus. However, be aware that this can be quite challenging as there is only one bus service per day. Here are some options for you to consider:
Jianqing Huaigu Trail
Let me start by saying that the night before I drove up to Taipingshan, I stayed at Sun Hola Villa near Dadong Township, which is on the way to Taipingshan. It took about 40 minutes to drive from there to the Jianqing Huaigu Trail, located in the Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area. When you drive into the national forest area, there is an entrance fee of NT$50-NT$200, collected at a booth
For those who drive themselves as I did, the parking lot is about 1 kilometer past the trail entrance. From there, you have to walk back down the road through the hilly landscape and lush green trees to the trail entrance. However, if you’re touring with a driver, you can ask them to drop you off at the trail entrance first. They can then go find a parking spot to wait for you. When you’re done with the trail, you can call them to come pick you up.
The Jianqing Huaigu Trail is a 900-meter trail (1.8 kilometers round trip) and is one of the easiest trails to walk. It was built on the Jiancing railway line, which was once a logging area during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan. Logging here was divided into two periods: from 1914, known as Old Taipingshan, and later in 1937, the logging area was moved to a new area, New Taipingshan, which is now part of the Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area. The two areas were connected by a cable car, and the original railway line was 2.35 kilometers long. However, due to a severe typhoon in 2013, only 900 meters of the railway line remains.
The trail leads through a green forest with an old railway line running alongside the path. At some moments, it feels like walking in my country, the Death Railway in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. The path here is well made, and the atmosphere inside is like being in a natural music box. The sound of birds singing, and the wind rustling through the forest, creates a magical ambiance. It’s like being cradled by nature. In some parts of the forest, you can experience the mist that covers the area. If you like hiking in high-humidity forests or enjoy the feel of Alishan, you will love it here. I think the atmosphere is very similar.
The first highlight of this trail is the old railway track that passes through a gap supported by wooden bases. The beauty of this area is the overall mood where the railway track is covered with green moss, accompanied by a parallel walkway. It’s really beautiful and impressive.
After passing this point and walking a little further, you will come across a small waterfall where you can enjoy the beauty of nature and the fresh atmosphere. It’s really nice.
Soon, you will reach the second highlight, an old railway bridge that is elevated from the ground and extends to the other side. There is a small waterfall flowing under the railway track. This is another great photo spot. For these old railway bridges, they don’t allow us to run or stand on the railway track because the track is quite old and they want to preserve it for future generations to see the history of this area. So, we have to walk along the path they have laid out.
Before reaching the end of this trail, you will encounter a rope suspension bridge used to cross to the other side. The ravine is not very high, but it’s a bit thrilling because the bridge can only be crossed one person at a time. The stepping area is about the size of two of our feet. When crossing, we have to balance ourselves well and hold onto the rails on both sides because it swings quite a bit. If you’re afraid of heights, it might be a bit scary, but there’s no other choice. If we want to walk to the end of the trail, we have to cross this bridge. Hahaha!
fter crossing the suspension bridge, you can continue walking along the path until you reach the end where there is a wooden gate and some wooden chairs for you to rest and recover. After that, you can walk back out the same way you came in. This concludes the chill trail walk. Most people spend about 30 minutes walking this trail round trip. But since my friend and I took a lot of photos, it took us about an hour to finish the trail. Haha.
Bong Bong Train
If you’ve ever seen a review of Taipingshan, I think you must have seen the image of a cute yellow train running on a curved track in the green forest. This yellow train I’m talking about is the Bong Bong Train, which is another highlight of Taipingshan. Everyone who rides the Bong Bong Train has the same destination, which is to walk the trail at the top of the Maosing Reminiscent Trail, one of the most popular trails in Taipingshan.
The Bong Bong Train has two stations: Taipingshan Station, located at Taipingshan Villa, and Maosing Station, where the Maosing Reminiscent Trail that we are about to explore is located. The train departs every half hour, starting from 7:30 to 14:30. You can buy tickets at the station. If you buy a ticket for a certain round, the staff will issue a return ticket with a specified return time. This means you only have one hour to walk the trail at the top. Is that enough time? I can tell you, it’s barely enough. Haha.
The Bong Bong Train is a cute yellow steam train with a metal frame. The moment everyone is waiting for and usually takes photos is when the Bong Bong Train bends along the hill. The small train contrasts with the green hills and the red fence along the track, amidst the lush green trees. While riding, you can hear the sound of the train going ‘bong bong’ echoing throughout the forest, which is a characteristic of the train. I must say, the atmosphere and the view are truly beautiful. It’s a highlight that people want to experience more than the trail walk above. Haha.
After a 20-minute train ride, we arrived at Maosing Station, the only destination on this route. So, you don’t have to worry about getting lost or getting off at the wrong station because there’s only one station at the end of the line.
Maosing Reminiscent Trail
Maosing Reminiscent Trail is one of the most popular nature trails among tourists. It is divided into three routes: Lower Loop, Upper Loop, and Maosing Trail Main Line. If you’re not focused on taking a lot of photos like me, but are serious about hiking and enjoying nature, you’ll have plenty of time to explore all three trails in the one hour you have up here. As for me, I only covered the Lower Loop and Upper Loop because I was busy taking photos. After finishing these two, I still had about half an hour left, but I decided not to cover the Maosing Trail Main Line because I was afraid I wouldn’t make it back to the train on time.
The Lower Loop is a 250-meter trail that descends from Maosing Station. Even though it’s a short route, the path is surrounded by tall cypress trees, as if they’re hugging us. There are also many mossy trees along the path, and there are strange-looking tree stumps at various points along the trail for us to explore and imagine their shapes. If you’re worried about the trail being difficult to walk, I can tell you that the Lower Loop is very easy to walk. It’s suitable for people of all ages and genders.
In my opinion, the Lower Loop is a fantastic trail. Walking it feels incredibly refreshing. No matter where you look, it’s green and pleasing to the eyes. The atmosphere is also very peaceful. If you stop walking and listen carefully, you can hear the sounds of small creatures amidst the soft wind rustling through the trees, like a natural symphony. Overall, the Lower Loop is a trail that allows you to listen to the sounds of nature and spend more time with yourself.
If you’re not satisfied with just one trail, you can continue to the Upper Loop, which is located opposite the Maosing Station. The Upper Loop is the same length as the Lower Loop, but it’s a bit different, with a more natural and rugged path. The atmosphere is still lush and has the same mood as the Lower Loop. The path is lined with tall cypress trees and the ground is covered with moss. There are also strange-looking trees that are unfamiliar to the eyes. Amidst the damp atmosphere, you feel refreshed with every step.
Maosing Trail Main Line
The last trail in the Maosing Reminiscent Trail is the Maosing Trail Main Line, the main trail, which is 1 kilometer long. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t walk this trail because we had to prepare to catch the train to go back down. The Maosing Trail Main Line is a trail that follows the old railway line from Maosing Station. It’s a winding path along the hillside filled with cypress forests and old railway tracks. If you still have time, you can continue on this trail.
In conclusion, if you ask whether we can complete all three trails in one hour, I can confidently say yes. However, since I went with three other friends and we all love taking photos and creating content, we spent a lot of time taking photos at each spot (like a lot of time, seriously. Hahahaha!). So, we didn’t continue to the main trail. For those who love hiking and enjoy the tranquility, and want to immerse themselves in the sounds of nature, the Maosing Reminiscent Trail is a place that’s worth visiting. It’s really great!
This concludes my trip to Taipingshan in Taiwan. This is my fourth visit to Taiwan, and I must say, Taipingshan is one of the most lush forests I’ve ever visited in the country. If you love hiking, you’ll definitely fall in love with this place. It offers various hiking trails, each of which is incredibly peaceful. Moreover, the trails are easy to walk, making them suitable for people of all lifestyles. For those who have visited Alishan and loved its natural beauty, you should add Taipingshan to your Taiwan travel list. This place is another beautiful natural site that is worth visiting. It’s a perfect place to let go and immerse yourself in the healing power of nature.
Accommodation in Taipingshan
When it comes to accommodation in Taipingshan, I highly recommend spending at least one night here. You have two options: the first, and my top recommendation, is to stay at the top, right in the heart of Taipingshan, at the park’s own accommodations, Taipingshan Villa and Cueifong Villa. They offer everything from hostels and private rooms to entire houses. However, they only open bookings two months in advance through the park’s website, and rooms fill up very quickly due to their limited availability. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to secure a booking in time.
So, I was left with the second option: to stay at the base before heading up to Taipingshan. I chose to stay in the Datong Township area in Yilan City, which is the closest area to the entrance of Taipingshan. The drive from here to Taipingshan takes about 40 minutes, which is quite reasonable. The accommodation I chose was Sun Hola Villa.
Sun Hola Villa
Sun Hola Villa is a large, hillside bed and breakfast located on the route to Taipingshan. The atmosphere of the place is excellent, offering far-reaching views of Yilan City and the surrounding mountains. It’s a great alternative for those who couldn’t book a room in Taipingshan but still want to stay in a natural setting outside of the city. The cost for a room here was $NT3,670 per night, which, divided by four people, is quite reasonable.
The room I stayed in at Sun Hola Villa was a large duplex that could comfortably accommodate four people. It had two large beds and was fully equipped with amenities such as a sofa, TV, refrigerator, and a very spacious bathroom. It was truly excellent.
As for breakfast at Sun Hola Villa, it was okay. The food options were not extensive, and the taste was average, but it was enough to fill our stomachs.
Overall, Sun Hola Villa has a homely feel. It’s like a large vacation home that the owners have divided into separate accommodations on different floors, giving it a feel of staying at a friend’s house.
1. ไทเป (Taipei) #1
2. ไทเป (Taipei) #2
3. หยางหมิงซาน (Yangmingshan)
4. จิ่วเฟิ่น-จินกัวสือ (Jiufen-Jinguashi)
5. ปี๋โถวเจี่ยว (Bitoujiao)
6. ซินจู๋ (Hsinchu)
7. จีหลง (Keelung)
8. นิวไทเป ซิตี้ (New Taipei City)
9. เถาหยวน (Taoyuan)
15. ฮัวเหลียน (Hualien)
16. ทาโรโกะ (Taroko)
17. ไถตง (Taitung)
18. เกาสง (Kaohsiung)
19. เขิ่นติง (Kenting)
20. ไถ่ผิงซาน (Taipingshan)
21. อี้หลาน (Yilan)
ส่วนลดจองโรงแรมจาก Agoda, Expedia, Booking และบัตรสวนสนุก ตั๋วรถไฟ กิจกรรมท่องเที่ยวจาก Klook และ KKday ปี 2023
⚡️ สำหรับใครที่กำลังจะจองที่พักและหาส่วนลดจองโรงแรมอยู่ ลองดูตามลิงค์ด้านล่างได้เลย มีทั้ง Agoda, Expedia, Booking รวมถึง Hotels.com ด้วย ประหยัดไปได้อีกเกือบ 10-20% ใช้ได้กับโรงแรมทั่วโลก
หลายคนอาจจะไม่รู้ว่าเว็บไซต์จองโรงแรมพวกนี้ มีส่วนลดท็อปอัพจากบัตรเครดิตเพิ่มเกือบทุกธนาคาร ไม่ว่าจะเป็นบัตรเครดิต Citibank, KBANK, SCB, Krungsri, KTC, Bangkok Bank, UOB และ TMB หรือแม้แต่ส่วนลดจากค่ายมือถืออย่าง AIS, DTAC หรือ True ซึ่งส่วนลดพวกนี้จะเปลี่ยนตลอดทุกเดือน และเก๊าก็อัพเดทให้ตลอดเวลาเน้อ 🧡