Shimen Mountain

Yesterday I went on another hike, this time up Shimen Mountain near Taoyuan. Whew~ I’ve hiked up quite a few mountains in Taiwan now. This one was definitely not an easy hike compared to Tiger Mountain. It was drizzling too, so we had to be careful with our footing so as to not slip.

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We were rewarded with a beautiful view of the Shimen reservoir.

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It was like walking into a prehistoric jungle!

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Tiger Mountain

On Saturday, MM and I went hiking with the Pan brothers. We hiked Tiger Mountain, which is right next to Elephant Mountain. Elephant Mountain is probably the most well known mountain in Taipei City, because of its accessibility via the MRT as well as being an easy 15 minute hike, and the gorgeous view of Taipei at the scenic viewpoint. I’ve never heard of Tiger Mountain though, and after reading up about it, and after some explanations by the Pan brothers (they love to hike!), I learned that Elephant Mountain and Tiger Mountain belong to a series of mountains known as as the Nangang Mountain Series, and they are part of the “four animals mountains”, with the other 2 being Lion Mountain and Cougar Mountain. Lion and Cougar mountains are not accessible though as they have no trails, and unfortunately you can’t actually see real elephants, lions, tigers, nor cougars on these mountains… Elephant Mountain got its name because it looks like an elephant with a long nose from a certain angle, but I don’t know why the other mountains are so named.

It ended up being a relatively easy 2-hour hike up to the top and back down, but it only took so long because we stopped quite a few times along the way to enjoy the view.

There was a really beautiful temple at the foot of the mountain too, with the loveliest stone carvings. The stories told on the walls seemed to come alive with the 3D stone carvings.

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It was a pretty fun day overall. I’d do that hike again because it’s not too hard, but has lovely scenic points of Taipei City. Taiwan has so many mountains and hiking trails! Spring is a good time for hiking.

2/28/2014

First day of the 228 long weekend:

– Started off with the plan of visiting the cat village at Houtong train station
– Left my home too late, so had to wait for the 10:40am train
– Waited at Zhongshan train station instead of the usual Taipei Main Station, thinking that Zhongshan Station was before Taipei Main
– Turned out to be horribly wrong, and the 4 carriage train was more packed than 4 cans of sardines
– Gave up the idea of going to Houtong (Cat village will have to wait until next time!) and ended up going to Yangming Mountain to view the cherry blossoms instead

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It was a beautiful day up at Yangming Park today. It must have been… 10 years since the last time I visited Yangming Park. I saw many beautiful mansions on my way up too; they were actual houses instead of apartment buildings like the majority of Taipei housing. I had heard that Yangming mountain real estate costs a fortune, and now I finally see why: beautiful view of the mountains and the city, cool weather in the summertime, houses instead of apartments. Even though it’s slightly inconvenient because it’s a 20 minute drive out for groceries, it’s still a lovely place. The houses there remind me of the mansions back in Canada (North Vancouver!).

Yuanshan (圓山) hike + chocolates

This past weekend, I met up with a few friends (including Jun Jun, who came back from the States for a visit). We decided to go for a hike up Yuanshan, because it was convenient to get to by MRT (less than a 10 minute walk from Jiantan stn), and it was a relatively easy hike. It was a nice day for a hike, not too hot and not too cold. We got lost a few times along the way, but there were nice people who stopped to help us out! Too bad it was foggy that day, so the view wasn’t as nice as it could’ve been. That’s okay though, because I plan to go back during the Chinese New Year holiday (which starts tomorrow!), and take mom and dad this time.

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After the 2 hour hike, we had lunch, then visited a chocolate store near Yuanshan Stn, called “Is Taiwan Is Chocolates”. The chocolates were so cute, but so expensive! They had exquisite chocolate pieces that were molded to look like cups, and there were apple chocolates and strawberry chocolates, with the price ranging from NTD30 to NTD88 (1CAD to 3CAD). Their coffee uses coffee beans from Taiwan. Hazelnut, who knows a lot about coffee and loves coffee like there’s no tomorrow, said that Taiwan coffee beans don’t produce good quality coffee, and described it as being bland. I ordered a dark chocolate mocha, and it tasted alright, but less flavourful than other mochas that I’ve had. Their chocolates were good (we tried the passion fruit and lavender), but with their price comparable to Godiva, I’d still go for Godiva.

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All in all, it was a fun day, and it was really nice to catch up with all my friends and hear their stories. Now I’m off to work for one last day before my 6-day break for the Chinese New Year holidays. It’ll be the first time that I’ll be spending CNY in Taiwan in 10 years!

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone~

Day 4 morning: Mount Tengu

So I’ve been procrastinating on updating my Hokkaido trip, but I promise you… I’m almost done!!!

So on Day 4, we headed to Mount Tengu in Otaru. Apparently this place is a must-visit if you go to Hokkaido, because on a clear day, you can see the whole city from the top of the mountain! So, we took the gondola up to the top of the mountain on this fine Sunday, and what did we see… yep, you guessed it, we couldn’t see a thing. The fog covered everything. It was really unfortunate how the weather had to be so horrible on our trip.

I’ll just show you guys pictures from our ride up because at the top, there really was nothing to see.

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I visited Taipei’s maokong gondola this past weekend and I must say that the ride was a lot more fun than Mount Tengu’s gondola. I’ll blog about that in a later post as well!