Bitou Cape (aka Bitoujiao/Bítóujiǎo) is a scenic area of coastline in Ruifang District of New Taipei, along the northeast coast, with popular hiking trails, interesting geological formations, a refurbished tourist military complex. and steep sea cliffs. It is a beautiful area along the coast that you should be sure to not miss.
The sandstone that forms Bitou Cape was formed as sediment under the ocean millions of years ago and were then uplifted thanks to the collision of the Eurasian and Philippine plates. The rocks are mainly sedimentary and are part of the same formation that forms the special rock formations on the northern coast around Keelung. Because of this, there are many interesting eroded rock formations around the cape.
The name Bitou (鼻頭) means the tip of the nose in Chinese.
Bitoujiao Lighthouse was completed in 1897, built by the Japanese. Later it was repaired in WWII, and is still used today.
The ROC army/navy military base at Bitou Cape has been sitting dormant for over 20 years, and was finally opened to the public as a rainbow "pink" military base to attract tourists on May 1st, 2020.
The area is a popular weekend destination for many residents of Northern Taiwan.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: From Keelung, take provincial highway 2 east along the north coast until you reach the Bitou Fishing Harbor. There is limited parking near the harbor, and further free parking on the other side of the tunnel but it is a bit of a walk.
By Bus: From Keelung TRA Station, take Keelung Bus 791 east about two hours to Bitou cape.
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Heping Island Park is a geo-park and water park on Heping Island, just outside of downtown Keelung. Here you can find many interesting rock formations in the sedimentary rock along the seashore. There are also salt water swimming pools, amazing places to go diving, a playground, hiking trails, and historical sights. Some would say this island is the world's best kept secret. It is definitely worth stopping here along Taiwan's northern coast.
Heping Island was formed as sediment under the ocean millions of years ago and were then uplifted thanks to the collision of the Eurasian and Phillipine plates. The rocks have then been slowly eroded away by wind and water, creating odd shapes that you see today. You can see similar formations atYehliu Geopark.
Heping island is the closest island to the main island of Taiwan. It first part of Basay aborigine lands. Chinese fisherman first called the island Greater Keelung Island.
The island was first settled by the Spanish in 1626, as their first settlement in what became their rule of northern Taiwan until they were defeated by the Dutch and left Taiwan in 1642. On Heping Island they built Fort San Salvador (聖薩爾瓦多城), which was destroyed and abandoned by the Dutch in 1668. The ruins of the fort were not confirmed to be found on the island until excavations in 2019.
After the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, the island was renamed Sheliao Island (社寮島). After WWII, as part of the White Terror Movement, on March 8th, 1947 KMT soldiers kidnapped and shot some of about 30 civilians on the island that were suspected enemy conspirators, known as the Sheliao Incident "社寮事件." After this, the people on the island decided to change to island's name to "Peace Island" or Heping Island in Chinese, so that the KMT would stop harassing the local people and bring peace to the island.
The Island was under KMT military control until the 1970s, after which tourists were allowed to enter the island.
Now it is a popular daytime and weekend destination for many Taiwanese.
8 AM to 6 PM
80 NT per person
When to go:
During the summer (May to November) when the water is warm and calm for swimming and diving.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: Take provincial highway 2 north out of Keelung and take a left at Zhengbin Road. Cross the bridge over to the island and head to the park which is on the north side of the island. There is paid parking in front of the park.
By Bus: From Keelung, take Keeling Bus 101 to Heping Isand bus stop.
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The 99 Peaks Trail (aka Jiujiufeng Forest Trail or 九十九峰) in Caotun Township of Nantou County is one of the most unique and beautiful places in Taiwan. It features extremely steep grassy hills that look like they are from a cartoon. This is due to the easily eroding sediment that they are made out of. Taiwan's torrential rains and earthquakes have sped up the erosion on these hills, making them especially steep and pointy, and creating what looks like 99 peaks on the horizon. From the trail one clearly see the jagged 99 peaks as well as beautiful views of Caotun and Nantou.
The 99 Peaks are built on the same sediment as Huoyanshan, with iron rich soil that was deposited and lifted up due to tectonic forces.
Discoloration due to laterization (leaching and oxidation due to heavy rain) of minerals in the sediment has made the rocks near the top of the mountain here orange-red.
Like Tianliao Moon World (田寮月世界) and Liji Badlands （利吉惡地）, 99 Peaks is considered a badland due to fast erosion.
99 Peaks, Huoyanshan (火炎山), and Shibaluohan Mountain (十八羅漢山) make up the three "Huoyanshan formations" in Taiwan.
The slopes here are very steep, and average from 60-80 degrees, making them impossible to cultivate. The entire mountain area is like a bunch of mini slot canyons.
At it's highest point, the 99 peaks are 779 meters above sea level, but were only 777 meters above sea level before the 921 earthquake.
After the 921 earthquake, much of the soil on the mountain eroded away due to shaking, and the hills were left bare. Shortly after, the area was declared a nature reserve. 21 years after the earthquake, the hills are now covered in grass and shrubs.
The trail doesn't go to the very top of the peaks, and if you venture further be careful because the cliffs are very steep on either side and erosion could happen at any time.
As of March 2020, Nantou County has purchased the land of 99 Peaks for 100 million NT, in hopes of cultivating it for tourism, such as hot air balloon rides. Let's hope it becomes a major tourist destination!
1 KM one way
About 1 hour total
About 200 meters of elevation gain.
How to get there:
By Car: Take National Freeway 6 toward Puli and get off at the east Caotun interchange. Then drive east on provincial highway 14 until you reach Jianxing Rad intersection on the other side of the river. Turn left and keep going until you reach the trail head.
By Scooter: Ride east on provincial highway 14 until you reach Jianxing Rad intersection on the other side of the river. Turn left and keep going until you reach the trail head.
By Bus: Take bus 6268A east out of Caotun and get off at Pinglin Station. From there it is about a 20 minute walk to the trailhead.
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We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.