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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Spring in Taiwan 2017 - Yang Ming Shan and lots of Calla Lilies

Yang Ming Shan was supposed to be the first destination of our trip. Supposed to be, but weather played with us, so we ended up coming here on the second day when the weather was a bit better than the first day

According to our itinerary, we will be going on the brown Metro line to MaoKong and then on proceed to Jiufen via Muzha. But since weather seemed good, so, we decided to go to Yang Ming Shan instead then proceed to take a train to Jiufen for the night. Twisting the Jiufen-Muzha route back to front.

We went to two locations on Yang Ming Shan
a) Qing Tian Gang 擎天崗
b) Zhu Zhi Hu 竹子湖

Qing Tian Gang 擎天崗

First stop in Yang Ming Shan will be Qing Tian Gang 擎天崗. To go directly to Qin Tian Gang, we took bus S15 at Ji He Bus Stop at Jiantan Metro Station. Take note that there are a few bus stops at Jiantan Metro Station. Bus fare was TWD15.

The bus was not on time.

time in red stops at QingShan. Take the ones in black.
From the first station to JiHe bus stop, it's about 5 minutes away

The bus stopped at Leng Shui Keng and we were instructed by the bus driver to switch to a van waiting nearby. He gave us a coupon to be given to the van driver.

It was really misty and we were worried that it will be just as misty at Qing Tian Gang 擎天崗. But anyway... we were already there!

It was a beautiful grassland. Too bad that it was horribly misty that morning. The wind was strong, and many times, and we had to face down and walk to avoid getting 'misted' right in the face, like a thousand blunt needles being thrown right at us. We went back to the information center, and the rangers told us, that the mist will be around until June. Oh well.......

And we didn't see any cows on that day.There's wild cattle in this area.

This place is closed during the winter months and is only open from April to November. For more information, please visit this website. There's an information center, a washroom and a small convenience shop at Qing Tian Gang, and this convenience shop sells raincoats too. We brought ours from Malaysia.

After doing our morning walk at Qing Tian Gang 擎天崗, we headed to our next destination on Yang Ming Shan.

Zhu Zhi Hu 竹子湖

We took  bus #108 from the Tourist information center and headed to Yang Ming Shan station to board S9 or S8 to ZhuzhiHu 竹子湖 . Either one will be fine.

When at Yang Ming Shan station, both S8 and S9 buses going either direction boards at the same bus stop. So, one must be careful to board the right bus going to the needed direction. Fare is again TWD15 flat rate. If one prefers to head straight to ZhuZiHu from Taipei, the S8 can be boarded at Shipai Metro Station and S9 can be boarded at Beitou Station.

Every spring, the calla lily on Yang Ming Shan's ZhiZuHu comes into full bloom. That's why we are coming here. In a few more days, the calla lily festival will be held and we came before the festival begins to beat the crowd.

Most people will go to the main calla lily area, of which is 水尾 (red circle area), but I prefer to go to  頂湖 (blue circle area). The main area has more tourist facilities, but it lacks that serene feeling. And the blue area has views of XiaoYouKeng , the volcanic pit. It's a quiet vast area with not much infrastructure to block the view. Sadly on the day I went, it was too misty that the volcanic gases were hidden by the mist.

Both S9 and S8 stops at FengJiaKou 風架口bus stop. The bus driver will announce to the passengers that they have arrived at ZhuZiHu, and that is the red area. I didn't want to get off there. We don't know where is the FengJiaKou bus stop, so we told the bus driver we want to stop at FengJiaKou. The bus driver stopped and told us we have arrived.

To return to Taipei, take S9 to Shilin or S8 to Shipai at the same bus stop. The bus goes in a loop from hill top back to town.

If one comes during calla lily festival, there will be additional buses coming from Taipei directly to Zhizihu. For more information, please visit this website (English).

We walked up hill, and followed the crowd on the right of the cafe.

Just follow the path....

and very soon.... the calla lilies will greet you.

We didn't stay for long, because of the mist. I almost wanted to give Yang Ming Shan a miss, because we needed time to get there for just half a morning's tour, but I'm glad I didn't.

The other locations of Yang Ming Shan didn't interest me at all, besides the Sulfur Valley but alas, we didn't have the time to stop by because of the rearranged itinerary.


Useful links
1. Bus #S15 Tracking
2. Bus #S9 Tracking 
3. Bus #S8 Tracking
4. Yang Ming Shan's offical website
5. Calla Lily Festival Official Website (Chinese)
6. Calla Lily Festival  (English).

Next...... along the red line Metro....


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