If you want to have the best view of Taipei City, hike up to the top of Elephant Mountain! A little bit of work for a stunning skyline!
At the time I was staying at Mono’tel they offered a free guided tour to the Elephant Mountain. For a solo traveler like me the perfect opportunity to meet other people from the hostel and have a great experience together. The Elephant Mountain also known as Xiangshan is located close to the Xinyi District and Taipei 101.
If you are interested in a guided tour like this just ask the staff at the reception for the next tour. If there is currently no tour planned they will be happy to arrange it for you. If you don’t want to go on a guided tour, no problem! You can also do it on your own or with a friend.
From Mono’tel (or any other place in Taipei) take the MRT line red and get off at the last station called Xiangshan. Take exit 2 as you arrive. It is only a 13 minutes walk to the start of the hike. After you leave the MRT station you turn to the left and walk along the Xinyi Road. The Zhongqiang Park has to be on your left side. At the end of the street you turn to the left again and walk up a little hill. Then you take the first street to your right. You will find the starting point of the hike after a few meters on your left side.
The hike takes in total 15-20 minutes to the top and can be described as an easy hike. But don’t underestimate it! There are lots of stairs before you reach the top and you will definitely sweat walking up this one. Just remember to take a left at the fork in the path.
On your way up you will reach the viewing platform after 15 minutes. It is a nice and big platform. We did the hike in the late afternoon which is definitely the best time to do it. This way you see the city at day time, you can catch the sunset and the stunning nighttime view with all the city lights. On the weekend the hike can get very crowded.
We went a little bit further then the viewing platform and had an even better panoramic view of the city. As I already mentioned, it can get very crowded on the Elephant Mountain as it is easily accessible by the subway system. The majority of people only get as far as the viewing platform and then turn around to head back to the MRT station. I absolutely recommend to go further up the trail and leave the crowd behind. The Elephant Mountain is part of a larger set of mountains known as the Four Beasts. So there are way more trails to walk. The view might be even better at some points and the best thing is you have the view for your own.
If you are travelling to Taipei and want that iconic shot of the city, take on some sports clothes and get to the top of Elephant Mountain step by step.
It is really worth it!