One of the best free things to do in Taiwan is visit Elephant Mountain Taipei (象山 in Chinese). Located on the East side of the city, the sprawling metropolis seems to suddenly end and give way to a hillside forest with fantastic views of the city below. If you’re interested in getting one of the best views of Taipei city, here’s how to get to Elephant Mountain.
The Best Time To Go
The early evening tends to be very busy – and for good reason; the sunsets are phenomenal over the city. If you’re looking for the best pictures, that’s the time. Feel free to head there any time of the day or night. During the summer months, I would recommend avoiding it during midday – even at night the heat is unbearable.
How To Get There
Take the MRT red line to the final station (象山, Xiangshan station) in the Eastbound direction and exit the station through Exit 2.
Once at the top of the escalator, simply walk straight along the sidewalk with the park to your left until you reach the end of the street.
Note: If you need to visit a convenience store before hand, the closest one is a right turn from here, down the street.
Once at the end of the street, turn left and start heading up to the hill. As you climb, the hill will curve to your right. At the top of it you’ll see a large staircase heading into the trees – that’s the trailhead for Elephant mountain.
Generally the climb takes about 20 minutes, but if you’re in decent shape you could probably do it in as little as 5. There are a few spots to rest on your way up, and the stairs tend to be a little steep and not too well lit, but it’s a generally easy climb.
On your way up you will first reach a viewing platform which offers a stunning view of Taipei 101 overlooking the city. Continuing further there are several large boulders (whom will likely be dotted with tourists hopping from one to the next, snapping great photos). Continuing further up is another (very busy) viewing platform. The trail continues into the mountain and actually leads to another part of the city, but I wouldn’t recommend hiking it without doing the proper research first.
- Bring water
- Bring a friend (or get really good at your selfie skills)
- Head during the night time or sunset
- Visit the Linjian street market before or after for some cheap eats