The night before, we were deciding on which destination to go to first. Since our legs were three quarter dead we decided to opt for the less tiring trip.
Our choices were:1. Yangmingshan-Beitou Hot Spring-Danshui fishermans wharf/sunset.2. Yeliou-Jinguashi(GOld Ecological Park)-Jioufen(Old mining town)-Keelung.3. Taroko Gorge National Park-not decide yet.
We choose option number one. Since we needed to take an hours bus ride up to the mountain it would be the more relaxing choice.
We got up early as usual, had breakfast around 730am at the hotels restaurant. Was out of the hotel by 8am. There is a park along the way to the MRT station and there is this workout machine(elliptical machine, i think this is what its called). We saw a man using this machine and was very curious to see one in a PUBLIC PARK(more about this later)!
Itinerary for Day 2
Hotel -(MRT)> Jiantan MRT station -(Red bus No.5)-> Yangmingshan -(Internal bus No.108)-> Siaoyoukeng -(Internal bus No.108)-> Clock flower festival -(Taxi)-> Yangmingshan Bus station -(Bus No.26)-> Xinbeitou Mrt station -(walk)-> Lung Nai Tang Hot Spring -(MRT)-> Danshui -(MRT)-> Shilin Night Market -(MRT)-> Hotel
We took the MRT to Jiantan MRT station
and took the Red No.5 bus to Yangmingshan
.Traveling tips: At Jiantan MRT station take exit 1, turn left and left again and look for the Red 5 bus stand sign. There are two queueing lines, those that line up gets priority to the seats and those who stand by the side need to wait for the bus driver to ring a bell telling you that all the seats are taken and you can go into the bus to stand and wait for a seat.
So as i was saying turn left and wait for the bus on the left side of the station. I did the opposite and took Bus 26(this bus also goes to Yangmingshan) on the right of the station and was heading back towards town and we got off at the next stop and walked all the way back to the MRT station and took the correct bus.
Standing in the bus is not fun when your feet are aching but it was alright, we didn't stand long before seats were available. The bus ride took about one and a half hours to reach the bus depot where you can take the internal bus to travel around the mountain.Traveling tips: When you reach Yangmingshan you can take bus no:108, it does a round trip around the mountain and back to the bus depot if you just want to see the mountain and not explore individual spots. They have a package for the bus fares but i didn't find out what the package was cause i used my EasyCard.
We didn't want to spend much time on Yangmingshan fearing we would not have enough time for the other places we wanted to see. We only visited one place on Yangmingshan and that is Siaoyukeng
. Siaoyukeng is at an elevation of 800 meters and contains a host of volcanically-created fumaroles, sulfur crystals, hot springs, and landslides. Sulfur vents noisily spew forth gases, and hot springs discharge endless streams of boiling water. We walked around to see the sulfur gases coming out of the mountain walls and the grounds as well. There is a small convenient stall at the back of the visitor center and we had a cup of coffee and some candy. These is nothing much there to see except for the sulfur gases. The real action is hitting the trails and going hiking.
After staying there for about an hour we took the bus back to the depot. We passed the rest of the scenic spots on the way back. It was a good way to do some sight seeing without getting down. There are hot springs at Yangmingshan as well but we didn't try any cause we were going to try the hot springs at Beitou
. When we reached the bus depot we found out about a Clock Flower festival. Walking there takes about 20mins and taking the bus is only 5-10 mins. Took the bus to the Clock Flower festival instead of walking and killing my feet further.
Lots of flowers and a huge clock flower. There is a Temple and cafe on top a long flight of stairs at this location. We decided to leave as it was already 1130am. We had some grilled stinky tofu on the way to the bus stand. We asked a staff working there, when the next bus would arrive and she told us that it would arrive half and hour later. So we decided to take a taxi(NT$150) back to the bus depot. We then quickly located the bus stop to catch Bus 26 which goes to Beitou. While waiting i suddenly felt an urge to go pee! So i quickly walked back towards the bus depot to look for the toilet but i always kept looking to my back to see if the bus was coming. Just as i found the toilet, i suddenly heard my name being called! Lynn was shouting for me, cause the bus had arrive and you would need to wait half an hour for the next one. I quickly turned around and ran down the hill, holding tightly onto my camera with my 70-200mm lens.
Needless to say, we caught the bus and was on our way to Xinbeitou MRT station
. We did not know where to stop and was on the look out for any signs or landmarks that would indicate that we have reached our destination. Finally i spotted the MRT station and we got off at a traffic light, not exactly a bus stop but the driver allowed us to get off. Not knowing where we were or where the Hot Springs are, i took out my map and soon found out that it was just 5 minutes walk from where we got off. While walking along the side of the MRT station, there are many signs and road maps and information boards telling you about Beitou and its hot springs and tourist information guides.Traveling tips: When you exit the station walk straight towards the traffic light and walk towards your right. Once you cross the road towards the park, you should be able to see a 2 storey KFC opposite. Walk towards Starbucks and Wellcome to get to Guangming Road. From there onwards you should be able to find the tourist spots.
Our purpose for visiting Beitou was to try out its Hot Spring. We decided to try "Lung Nang Tai". In 1896, a Japanese man named Mr. Hirata came to Beitou to recover from illness. Impressed by the area's combination of lovely scenery and hot springs, he built Beitou's first bath-house, the Tengu Cabin, on the opposite bank of the Beitou Creek from the site now occupied by the Beitou Hot Springs Museum. Tengu Cabin was the precursor of today's Lung Nai Tang Hot Springs.
One hundred years later Beitou Creek is lined with hot spring establishments, but this undistinguished-looking building, which houses men's and women's public pools, is still in business. For many of its regular bathers, Lung Nai Tang has been used by the family for three generations.
They were not kidding when they said its Beitou's first bath-house. The entrance is the size of two doors length. You are greeted by the owner sitting at his desk facing the entrance. Behind him is the public bath area which is three quarters size of a badminton court and on his left is the corridor leading to the private rooms. Let me tell you how big these private rooms are, they are the size of maybe two or three cubicle toilets. These rooms are really small and ancient looking. The rooms are long but narrow, there is a cement tub filled with cold water for cooling down and at the end of the room is the hot spring bath tub on the ground. Just as you enter the room, is a sort of dry area for you to change and clean up.(pictures on this later)
After soaking for 10-15 minutes, we were sort of rejuvenated and left soon after. We took our time walking back to the MRT station and decided to take a break and chillout at Starbucks. The Hot Spring bath proved too good cause you sort of get lazy and are too relaxed and feel sleepy after the bath. We chilled out at Starbucks for quite sometime.
To be continued...