Taiwan July 2016 [Day 6 – Hualien, Taipei]

Taiwan Day 6 – Hualien, Taipei

Puyuma train to Taipei, Maokong Gondola, sunset at Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail, Tonghua and Linjiang Night Markets

This is a relatively short and easy day because we were exhausted from all the walking from the day before in Hualien.

We booked a Puyuma train which would only take us 2 hours to reach Taipei from Hualien, instead of a Zhiqiang 自强 train which would take 3 hours.

TRA Puyuma Train
TRA Puyuma Train

Maokong Gondola

You can use your Easy Card here to ride the gondola up to Maokong, which costs NT50/way on weekdays.

Skip the queue for the crystal gondola if you see more than 20 people queueing for it, unless you can wait half an hour.

Crystal gondola glass floor
Crystal gondola glass floor

It takes about half an hour to reach the top, and the gondola doesn’t have a fan or air-conditioning, so if you squeeze in a crystal gondola with 4 other people, it’s going to be a stuffy 30 minutes.

View of Taipei from Gondola
View of Taipei from Gondola

You can enjoy tea and ice cream at Maokong, but the trails aren’t really exciting. 

Water feature along a trail at Maokong
Water feature along a trail at Maokong

Must-go: 2/5 only if you have a thing for gondolas

Elephant Mountain Hiking Trail

We actually had a really late lunch at 5pm at the nearby convenience store.

Convenience store lunch
Convenience store lunch

Hence we only started climbing Elephant Mountain at 6pm.

Sunset view from Elephant Mountain
Sunset view from Elephant Mountain

There were many mosquitoes, and we kept left at forks to end up at a quieter lookout. We didn’t stay longer than 5 minutes to grab a few photos and leave.

Must-go: 3/5 there are other trails you can explore if you like.

Tonghua and Linjiang Night Markets

Both night markets are fused together to form a single line. We walked around but didn’t really buy anything except a toy. 

Tonghua and Linjiang Night Market entrance
Tonghua and Linjiang Night Market entrance

On the way back to the train station, we grabbed an oyster mee sua.

Postamble

We’ve actually been to Taipei a few times and have already gone through the major sights, hence our itinerary this time round is a bit different from the usual tourist spots.

If you’re visiting Taipei for the first time, stay at least 4 nights, there is a lot you can do here.

I’m just going to roll off a few spots depending on your various preferences.

For hiking lovers: 

-Yangmingshan

-Elephant Mountain

For hot spring lovers: 

-Wulai (skip the amusement park)

-Beitou

For shopping lovers: 

-Wufengpu

-Taipei Main Station and surrounding malls

-Ximending area (if you are the yuppie sort)

For night market lovers: 

-Raohe, most pleasant and organised

-Shilin, most messy and crowded

-Shide, most yuppie 

For day trip and scenery lovers: 

– Pingxi branch railway line (1 day), focus on the waterfall and Houtong

– Jiufen and Jinguashi  (1 day), focus on the exploratory trails of Jinguashi first

– Danshui (1 day) 


Also published on Medium.