Seeing migratory birds dashing over the verdant Guandu Plain brings such a sense of bliss. In the distance, the Tamsui River winding through Mt. Guanyin provides a panoramic backdrop for the landscape of downtown Taipei. It is surprising that the distance from the MRT station to the skyline-viewing area is not at all intimidating, thanks to the extraordinary scenery that is revealed with each step toward higher altitudes. Popping up upon entering the skyline-viewing area is a secluded, tree-shaded mountain trail in a primitive forest. While rock and broken trunks scattered by the trailside add to the thrills of adventure, don’t forget to hold onto the rope and heed loose rocks on the steep trail, which is a poplar walking exercise spot in the neighborhood. Having climbed 2,500 meters uphill, including the skyline-viewing trail with occasionally high gradients, people love to catch their breath on the vast mountaintop platform, watching egrets hanging around a huge cemetery, while getting ready for the challenges ahead. Not only are stone steps built throughout the downhill footpath to make it more manageable, but hikers looking for some extra fun are also offered two optional routes. Those who feel hungry after their workout should stop by an organic farm on the left route for a vegetarian meal, besides a Kung Fu practice session and a shopping spree for fresh produce. Those who take the right route will be greeted with the ＂back garden of Xingtian Temple, known for its refreshing shaded tracks. The garden boasts intricate roots of aged Banyan trees, a common sight in the garden that never fails to amaze city dwellers, as well as pavilions that are popular rest stops for the exhausted temple-goers. Despite a confusing system of footpaths, the temple’s conspicuous red-tiled roofs give sure directions to people on their way home!
Lane 30, Sec. 4, Zhongyang North Rd.
From MRT Guandu Station: head in the direction of Guandu Elementary School passing Sec. 4, Zhongyang North Rd. and Xueyuan Rd. to reach the hiking trail entrance.
1. Take bus No. 216, 223, 302, 308, 632 or Minibus 23, and alight at “GuanduElementary School” Stop. From there, pass through Sec. 4, Zhongyang North Rd. and Xueyuan Rd. to reach the hiking trail entrance.
2. Return trip: After reaching the foot of the mountain, head towards TaoyuanJunior-HighSchool, follow Sec. 4, Zhongyang N. Rd. to reach MRT Zhongyi Station.