Throughout this trip, I’ve been debating if I really wanted to go on this hike up a mountain called “Xiang Shan.” Xiang in Chinese is for elephant, so it basically means Elephant Mountain. I’ve read online that the hike was moderately steep and was worried about the mosquitoes since it’s in a wooded area. But I finally decided to go with my cousin and was deeply rewarded with an amazing view of Taipei and the 101 building.
Please understand though, that the word “hike” is a complete understatement. I ought to give the websites that said “moderately steep” a request for revision. No stair master machine could ever match up to this mountain climb. To get here, you take the subway and get off of the Xiang Shan stop. You’ll come out and see a park with a sign that will lead you around the side of the park then to the base of the mountain to begin climbing. At the very beginning and also placed at various locations throughout the hike, you will see the below sign as a trail map of where to go.
We started at the very bottom where that red dude on the map is and began to climb up. And I mean UP.
And then you go even more UP. The entire hike is stair climbing.
As you are trying to catch your breath and look down, you may see some placards reminding you that this is Elephant Mountain. No kidding.
After thinking you’ve passed out five times over, you will finally reach this location with a nice lookout view. However, there are buildings in the way so up higher we go.
Don’t think about the amount of steps you have to go, just keep focus on the step right in front of you and charge on.
You will then encounter this rock and right above it has a small lookout.
You can even stand on some of the rocks and take a higher picture. But do not be deceived or spend too much time there. A better shot and viewpoint is just a few steps away. My cousin took this photo of me taking a photo.
You will see this little pathway and go through. If you are super athletic and want to continue to go up, then knock yourself out. I wasn’t down and so I stayed with this level and was more than content.
You step onto a balcony and am immediately welcomed by the sight of 101. You are higher and can see further to the right of the building, and there’s even a bench there for you to sit and rest your feet and wait for the sunset.
You can see how Taipei is really nestled in the middle of the valley and has pushed its building to the limits, being next door neighbors to the mountain side.
An absolutely stunning view. On normal days, the sunset would have been more present but because we were expecting a thunderstorm to be approaching, the clouds had already set in. If you look back on the map and follow the red line, we only reached the flower. But that was good enough for me.Would I do this again? I would probably consider this to be a once in a life time hike. But the view was well worth every step.