On my second day in Taipei, after exploring the city for a bit, I decided to go on an afternoon hike to the popular Elephant Mountain at 183 m., where the view of the city is said to be spectacular.
I had some trouble finding the beginning of the trail and when I eventually did, I ended up half running up the steep trail, as I only had about an hour until sunset. I soon realized that running wasn’t necessary, as the trail is quite short and easy, although very very steep and tiring with hundreds of steps to climb.
When I had reached the summit of Elephant Mountain and saw how many people had done the same, I decided to follow a trail to a nearby mountain – Muzhi Mountain at 350 m, in the hopes of finding a private spot to watch the sunset.
The trail to Muzhi Mountain starts at the summit of Elephant Mountain by going downhill a whole lot. Walking downhill wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be doing – I wanted to get UP the mountain, not down. But eventually, when I felt like I was on sea level again, the trail started going upwards. It didn’t take long for me to reach the end of the actual trail, but what I didn’t see coming was that the last bit of the way to the top was via rock climbing! There was a rope to hold onto, but since it was almost sunset and there was no one else about, it didn’t seem like the smartest thing to do. I went up a little bit of the way, but when I thought about how dangerous it would be to climb down by myself in the dark, I decided to stop and walk back to Elephant Mountain to see the rest of the sunset that had already begun.
I got there just as the sun had disappeared below the horizon and the summit was still crowded with people with selfie-sticks and large cameras. I was lucky enough to find a spot, where I could stand and watch day turn to night and get some snaps of one of the most beautiful sunsets that I’ve ever seen. Taipei looks stunning in sunset colours.
Since Muzhi Mountain is taller than Elephant Mountain, the view would probably have been slightly better from there, but I couldn’t complain. The view from Elephant Mountain was pretty spectacular. And the main thing was that I was safe and got back to civilization before it got too dark to see anything.
In order to save some money, I decided to walk all the way from my hostel to the beginning of the trail and back, which was about 9 km. extra. So I walked a lot of kilometres that day and I must admit that I could feel it in my legs afterwards! But it was great to have an active day; something that I wish I could have back home in Denmark. Imagine going mountain hiking in your own city! How amazing would that be!?
Elephant Mountain and Muzhi Mountain were the first, but not the last mountains that I hiked in Taiwan. I’ve found a real obsession here; I just feel the need to hike, hike and hike. It’s awesome! Stay tuned for more stories of my hiking adventures in Taiwan!