Taipei, Taiwan is known by many as a developed and busy city, famous for its amazing bridges, towering skyscrapers, and the bustling metropolitan area with great restaurants and shops. Sure, the city is great, but there are times when it simply becomes too crowded and too noisy. In these times, many people run into the mountains and nearby countryside in order to escape. So where in Taipei can you run to?

Elephant Mountain

Also known as the Nangang District Hiking Trail, it takes a steep climb to the top of the mountain, about 200 metres or so, give or take. Usually the walk up takes about anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour, depending on how physically fit you are and the equipments you will be carrying. Yes, equipments like cameras and tripods are absolute necessities when you climb Elephant Mountain. Why so? Well, the climb to the top may be very exhausting, but the views from there are breath taking. You get to see the whole of Taipei and the surrounding areas, while breathing in the fresh mountain air and cooling off with the mountain breeze. The best time to go there would be at least an hour or so before sunset, as the place is a popular place among photographers (20-30 photographers climb there per day) to take pictures of the setting sun as it floods the city with its crimson light.

Yangmingshan National Park

If you have a whole afternoon off, why don’t you try hiking in the Yangmingshan National Park? Here you can enjoy relaxing walks amidst green, rolling mountain sides or indulge in a filling picnic in gardens of flowers. Although the park is open all year round, the best times to head there is during spring, as this is when the flowers are in their full bloom and the temperature is just right. There are trails that lead to fabulous views of the surrounding mountains and the geysers and volcano, too. There are also hot springs in the area which can be enjoyed for free.

Ping Hsi Branch Railway Line

Well, not all of us are keen on walking, are we? So here is another way to escape the city life – go on a road trip – and here is Taipei, one of the best and most relaxing road trips you can take is on the Ping Hsi Branch Railway Line. Grab yourself a ticket and reserve a whole afternoon for this joyride. If we are alike, you will also find relaxation in just sitting on the train and looking out the window. The train passes by some countryside farms, with their quaint and charming communities and houses. You’ll pass by rolling hills and plains as well as rail bridges built hundreds of feet from the ground. The simplicity of the countryside folks and the natural beauty of the surroundings will surely rejuvenate your tired mind and body.

Despite being a city, Taipei did a magnificent job of preserving and taking care of their natural resources which are now enjoyed not only by the locals but by all travelling tourists who are looking for that unique and therapeutic vacation away from the city.

Photo by peter576 on Flickr