Yangmingshan National Park

How fortunate Taipei is to have this national park (Yángmíngshān Guójiā Gōngyuán) at its doorstep, complete with majestic mountains, hot springs, tall grasses, forests of bamboo and broad-leaf trees and some handsome lodgings and restaurants. Among its 1200-plus species of plants, the area is particularly known for rhododendrons, azaleas and Japanese cherry trees. An excellent escape from the city for hikers, bikers (of the gear and motor-head variety), hot-spring lovers, twitters, or just about anyone getting away from it all.

Like Beitou, a major attraction of Yangmingshan is the hot-spring baths. The park is filled with kēng (sulphur steam vents), the largest being Xiaoyoukeng in the northwestern part of the park. To the east, Lengshuikeng has hot-spring baths open to the public for free.

Yangmingshan is protected and no new construction can take place. This can also mean that some of the lodgings are not as spiffy as those in Beitou but the trade-off is that they feel more historic.

The area just outside the park’s boundaries tends to be more developed. Many well-to-do Taiwanese and expats live on the mountains’ lower reaches and there are schools and churches serving the community.

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