Are You Missing Out On This Breathtaking Taipei Day Hike?
Guanyin Mountain, or Guanyinshan, is an extinct volcano mountain standing 616 meters above Taipei City, Taiwan. A well-known hiking route among Taiwanese locals, Guanyin Mountain awards hikers and nature lovers with a breathtaking panoramic view of Danshui River and Taipei skyline after their climb. This is a day hike trail you definitely should not miss in Taiwan.
Guanyin Mountain in Taiwan is named after the Buddhist goddess of mercy, Guanyin. Shan simply means mountain. It is said that if you observe the mountain from across Danshui River, it will look like Guanyin lying on her back. Personally we do not see it, but we are always the less imaginative friend among my Taiwanese peers. You should probably see for yourselves!
Today we follow MyProGuide tour guide, American friend Michael, and the athletic Allen to this hiking trail. This is one of our favorite day hikes. The trail we chose starts from the visitor center and leads all the way up to the Tough Man Peak. Apparently, there are six different trails you can choose from, all of which are embellished with cute little temples and pavilions along the way. If you know where to go, you may even spot a drinking fountain provided by Guanyin herself.
Even though Guanyin Mountain is just a little less well know among foreign tourists, the visitor center and the entire route is surprisingly foreigner friendly. Also, if you can find a tour guide to guide you, it would be more easiler and safer. The maps provided at the center are bilingual, so are the road signs and the introduction boards along the way. Tour guide from MyProGuide told us a round trip will take approximately 80 minutes, but with a glance at Michael and Allen he said we could probably make it much faster than that. If you’d like to fill up your water bottle or go to the loo you can also do it here, just note that the visitor center closes at 5 pm each day.
The trails themselves are open all day. From the visitor center you can easily navigate yourself to the wooden pavement just across the parking lot. Here you go, the start of the hike! At the beginning it’s just a bunch of stairs leading all the way up hills. We started the hike at 4 pm on a July afternoon. It’s just the right weather, with not so much heat and just the right amount of breeze. Green shades covered us all along the trail. There were also a lot of flora and fauna (a wide range of caterpillars at least) for the hikers to enjoy.
Soon enough you’ll arrive at this little platform where again there’s a small temple, and where the Fenguidouhu trail intersects with the Yinghanling Trail. Yinghanling in Chinese means “Tough Man Peak”. It is said that the Taiwanese military used to utilize this path to train their new recruits, hence the name. Here you can get a great view of the ridge you’re later hiking on.
The name Tough Man Peak is quite apt for my hiking companion today. Allen is a two-time national cheerleading champion and a tough athlete. Even though I’m panting as hell, for him this trail is just a piece of cake. I chatted with him about the upcoming Universiade and his most anticipated discipline. “Tennis, without a question!” exclaims Allen, “ I even plan to visit Wimbledon Championships next year. Can’t wait for the Universiade tennis to begin!”
Remember Guanyin, the Buddhist goddess of mercy we talked about? Here is a water fountain in her name! When you see the Guanyin drinking fountain, you know you’re almost there. “奉茶”, the two Chinese characters written on it, reads “water dedicated to you”, so don’t be afraid to take a sip.
Finally, we reached the pinnacle, the Tough Man Peak itself. Here we are awarded extremely amazing view of the city, Danshui River and the Taiwan Strait. The sunset added a blush of rose-red hue to the buildings and the skyline. The ocean was shimmering warm gold. I wasn’t prepared for the spectacle before me, and I was simply blown away by the breathtaking views.
An award is definitely the word I’d choose for the scenery to behold. Before you leave, take a picture with the stone at Tough Man Peak. You might also want to look at the tablet that reads, “Choose the hardest way, and bear the heaviest.” Come to become tough guys, and leave as tough guys.” With this we conclude our trip.
Taiwan Mountain tours:
- Top 3 attractions – Sun Moon Lake Tour in Taiwan
- Must-visit – Taroko National Park Tour in Taiwan
- Shoushan National Nature Park Tour in Kaohsiung, Taiwan