Taking a perfect shot with the iconic Taipei 101 is probably one of the reasons why you visited Taiwan. Well, Taipei 101 is considered as one of the famous skyscrapers in the world and was officially classified as the World’s tallest in 2004 until the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was completed in 2011. If you'll just go directly outside the Taipei 101, you cannot take a decent shot and perfect view of the skyscraper as it is too tall to fit into your camera and it might look terribly short. Though there are a couple of areas around Taipei where you can see its view, hiking through the Elephant Mountain (Xiangshan Hiking Trail) will give you the most exceptional view of not just the Taipei 101, but the whole Taipei City! And guess what? It's so easy to go there and the experience is all for FREE. You can hike to the top for about 10 – 25 minutes depending on your pace and how much break you need in between.
The place is not just jam-packed with tourists and locals trying to get the perfect photo, but it is also famous for those people who love to hike. The best time to visit this place is in the late afternoon since you can be able to catch the sunset, the daytime view, and the nighttime view of the city. A lot of amateur and professional photographers gather here to capture the superb view, especially during sunsets on weekends.
When you get there, you will notice that there will be a lot of people lining up for their turn to have their photos captured at the top of the big rock. The long queues are so worth it! You will definitely have a perfect shot with the view of the whole Taipei City and the iconic Taipei 101.
As we go on with our hiking adventure to the top, we encountered a lot of our fellow Filipinos “kababayans” along the way, so expect that you will meet a lot of people from all over the world. Actually, there was even a group of foreigners bringing along their National Flags when we went there.
Here are our few reminders when going to the top:
- Wear comfortable shoes. The journey up there ain’t an easy hike. You need to walk through steep stair steps so better wear shoes that are comfortable enough for your feet while enduring those steps.
- Bring a mosquito repellant. Along the way, you will be passing through trees and plants that might bring mosquitos especially at night.
- Hydrate yourself. As what we have mentioned above, this ain’t an easy hike, so bring water to keep yourself hydrated.
- Smartphones / Camera. I’m sure that once you get to the top, you will swear to yourself that you’ll not be coming back again and endure those more than 500 steps in going up (except of course if you are into hiking), so better bring whatever camera you have to capture the whole view.
- BE PATIENT! You will be bombarded by a lot of people, even on weekdays, so patient is the key to keep your mood on the go!
HOW TO GET THERE:
Take the MRT (Red Line) going to Xiangshan and leave from Exit 2. There will be sign boards along the way directing you to the Xiangshan Hiking Trail. You will not get lost because there will also be a lot of people going to the trail. From the station, it will take around 10 minutes of walking to reach the entrance of the trail.