April 20, 2014

Yangmingshan Flower Festival 2014, Taipei

            With the arrival of spring, the much-awaited flower festivals in Taiwan starts and one of the best places to visit is the Yangmingshan National Park.

            Yangmingshan National Park is located in the northern part of Taipei and it covers a total of 11,388 hectares. An abundance of activities can be found in the park. For the adventurous, there are numerous nature trails available from entry-level hiking to mountain climbing and there’s also biking. For those who want a relaxing trip, there are simple nature trails and footpaths you can tread or you can visit the museums around the mountains. Additionally, Yangmingshan is a volcanic-type park, so there are a number of hot springs in the area as well as crater lakes, steam vents and sulphur fumaroles.

             Going to Yangmingshan, my friends and I started our adventure by taking Bus #260 located in Taipei Main Station Exit Y6. The ride took around 45 minutes until it stopped in Yangmingshan Bus Station. Then we transferred to Shuttle Bus #108 which goes around the scenic spots of Yangmingshan Park.

            Our intended stop was the Visitor Center but we missed it so we just got off on the 4th stop. It was a blessing in disguise though because the views are breathtaking:

            After an hour of sightseeing [and waiting], we then hopped back to Bus #108 and this time, we finally managed to locate the Visitor Centre. My friends asked for directions on where to go see the cherry blossoms and the guide gave us a map for the Spring Blossom Trail.

Spring Blossom Trail

            The trail is +/- 5 kilometers with sloping paths and a myriad of stairs, but all in all, it’s relatively easy except for people who hate stairs [btw, I’m one of them].

            The first magnificent view is from the elevated Gallery Flower Stand where you can see a formal garden with pine trees, cherry blossoms, camellias, rhododendrons and a pavilion atop.

            After a series of stairs, we reached Zhongxing Road. There’s a small market where they sell an assortment of street food, winter apparel and souvenirs.

            We also passed by some trees with vibrant-colored barks and a small bridge where there’s a waterfall.

            After about 30 minutes into the trail, we finally got to the cherry blossoms! Yangmingshan is home to about a thousand cherry blossom trees. I think we’re lucky to witness some cherry blossoms in full bloom.

            Aside from the flowers,  other interesting spots to see in the trail are:

Wang, Yang-Ming Statue
Waterfall #1
Waterfall #2
The Lotus Pond
I don't know what plant this is but it looks like lettuce or cabbage to me.
            There are a lot of pavilions in the park, most are used as resting stations for tourists.

            Aside from the cherry blossoms, the most famous spot in the trail is the Flower Clock. The clock is covered in plants and flowers and it also plays a melody, I think at the top of the hour.

            Moreover, there’s a unique exhibition which features the latest works of sculptor A-sun Wu surrounded with Taiwan’s unique flora.

            A-sun Wu's exhibition was the last stop in the trail. Then we had a quick snack in the parking lot and decided to go to the National Palace Museum. But before we went to the bus station, I saw this tree-lined service road which for me is the most breathtaking scene in Yangmingshan Park.

            Here ends the Spring Blossom Trail in Yangmingshan National Park.

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