Taiwan's northern coast is an amazing, beautiful area with unique geology and rocks, lots of sandy beaches, amazing mountain views and hikes, old streets, night markets, historical sites, and much more to discover. Don't not come here.
Here is a map of the locations we will cover in this blog:
Taipingshan (aka Taipingshan National Forest Recreational Area 太平山國家森林游樂區) is a magical mountain paradise in Datong Township of Yilan County in Taiwan. It has an old Japanese era logging railroad track which has mostly been abandoned, but part of it has been restored with a working train. In addition there are hot springs, Taiwan's largest alpine lake, hikes, wildlife, and endless mountain scenery to explore.
In 1906, the Japanese Indigenous affairs police officers sent a team of men to Fanfan Mountain, where they discovered huge ancient cypress trees. Later the Japanese renamed the area Taipingshan, and began logging the mountain in 1915.
The Taipingshan Forest Railway was completed in 1934 and had at least 12 stations, with the grade up the mountain ranging from 2-3%. Loggers relied heavily on wires and pulley systems to haul logs to the railway, which differentiates it from the Alishan Railway. Because of the extensive use of wires or iron donkeys, it was difficult to convert the entire railway to a tourist railway, therefore only a short section at Maosing remains for tourists.
The logging industry continued in Taiwan until it was banned in the 1980s, after which the area was converted into a forest recreation area in 1983 and opened to the public.
The mountains in Taipingshan range from 500 to 2000 meters high, and is part of the northern central mountain range. The highest peak here is Nanhu Mountain at 3,740 meters high. The terrain generally consists of high mountains and deep valleys, which have been pushed up by the convergence of the Eurasian and Philippine plates, and eroded by torrential rains.
Taipingshan is 12,929 hectares, and includes six major areas: Tuchang, Jioujhihze, Jhongjian, Taipingshan, Maosing and Cueifong Lake.
Taipingshan holds the record for 24 hour rainfall in Taiwan of 1015 mm, recorded in 2016 during Typhoon Megi. The area is also one of the most accessible places in Taiwan to see snow during winter.
The forest recreation area is now a popular place for nature enthusiasts and hikers, and is one of the top three most popular forest recreation areas in Taiwan.
6 AM to 8 PM (open 4 AM on weekends)
150 NT for non-holidays, 200 NT for holidays
Cars: 100 NT
Scooters: 20 NT
Jioujhize Hot Springs: 250 NT in winter and 150 NT in summer
Bong Bong Train: 180 NT
For more info click here.
How to get there：
By Bus: Kuo-kuang departs from Yiland and Luodong at 7:40 and 8 AM, and arrives at Taipingshan at 10:30 AM. The bus then departs Taipingshan at 2:30 PM.
By Car: From Taipei, take National Freeway 5 to Yilan, then turn southwest on provincial highway 7 until you reach the turnoff to Taipingshan via Yijhuan Route 1.
Please see below of the places covered in this blog:
Kuolai Old Trail was a major intersection along the Danlan Old Trail that connects Keelung to Yilan through the mountains of New Taipei. There are three pedestrian bridges, multiple camping locations, lots of swimming spots, and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Also, there are some great hiking trails along multiple sections of the original Danlan Old Trail to discover.
Kuolai was originally a small village create in the late Qing Dynasty. In the early days during the Qing Dynasty, the Han Chinese settlers here mainly grew tea and leeks. During the Qing Dynasty, Kuolai was an important stop along the Danlan Old Trail (淡蘭古道 which means the road between Tamsui and Yilan), which was split into three paths, and Kuolai was on the middle path. The middle path winded from Nuannuan to Shifen, then to Kuolai, and then finally over the mountains to Wai'ao in Yilan. Part of section connecting Kuolai to Wai'ao through Wantan is known as the Wantan Old Trail.
Kuolai also intersects with the Beishi River Old Trail which connects Shuangxi to Pinglin.
During the Japanese Era until the 1980s, the major industry in the area besides tea growing was coal mining, The coal mining industry winded down in the 1980s and 90s in Taiwan.
Currently Kuolai is a popular stop near National Highway 5 in northern Pinglin. Besides the history, there is also some great hiking trails and scenery nearby.
About 8 AM to 5 PM.
How to get there:
By Car: Go east on National Freeway 5, then get off at the Pinglin interchange. Continue north east on Pingshuang Road, which follows the Beishi River Old Trail. You can find the many suspension bridges on the side of the road.
By Scooter: From Taipei, take highway 106 east from Shenkeng toward Shiding, pass over the mountain to Pinglin, then once in Pinglin continue north east on Pingshuang Road, which follows the Beishi River Old Trail. You can find the many suspension bridges on the side of the road.
By Bus: From Taipei City Call MRT station, you can take bus 912 to Bafenliao Station, the switch to bus 923 to Pinglin Station. The ride should take about 2 hours. From Pinglin, you can take the F721 bus up along the Beishi River Old Trail. This will take up a lot of time.
Please see below.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling 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.