Revisiting Taipei’s classic gems amid new social distancing rules

Sunset from Shezi Bridge

TAIPEI (The China Post) — If you had summer plans to travel abroad and feel a bit hopeless with all the idle time the global pandemic has left in its wake. Here are a few ways to feel productive and spry. 

Taipei’s infrastructure was built around the theme of sustainability. Bicycle paths meander through the city and function alongside the well established public transport systems. During the long summer days, cycling during the late afternoon provides the perfect lighting for impromptu photoshoots.

One particular bike trail runs from Guandu to Yuanshan is accessible and impressive. Along the Keelung river, the gentle and refreshing breeze compliment the picturesque view.  

The Shezi Bridge (Photo courtesy of Saloni)

At Guandu, there are several kiosks and bike rental stores for those that don’t own a bicycle. Guandu Temple stretches wondrously over a hill and boasts a classic view of Taipei from its peak.

Throughout the trail, cyclists will observe wetlands and the island’s rich ecosystem. As the various bird species flutter overhead, the path advances into Beitou and widens to cater runners as well.

Cycling parallel to the river produces a remarkable sensation of tranquillity. The placid journey wholly juxtaposes the highway structures with vehicles speeding above. Arriving at Shilin, more and more people come into view.

Various parkgoers, walkers, and kids can be seen at the riverside parks. There is also an entire baseball field with many teams practising, the sheer magnitude of this area is baffling. Finally, at Yuanshan, the last rays of the sun can be soaked in alongside the stunning Grand Hotel.  

Sunset from Shezi Bridge (Photo courtesy of Saloni)

Yuanshan is the ideal getaway from the chaos of the city. Dajia Riverside Park is an expansive and developed recreational area for all demographics. It is secluded from the commotion and pollution of the city.

Located towards the central stretch of Keelung River, it’s a place that is far from tiresome; with activities and diversions to last an entire day. Aside from the Park and all its glories, Yuanshan is somewhat underrated for its infrastructure. 

Zhongyishan Trail (Photo courtesy of Saloni)

Beyond the MRT station, the luscious flower gardens and grassy hills are ideal for picnics. Maji Square, fitting for all ages, brims with restaurants, bars and markets. But the Expo Dome is the focal point.

Guizikeng Trail (Photo courtesy of Saloni)

Large wooden blocks are scattered across the area and make for the perfect seating structures. In the evening, people can stargaze, watch planes overhead, or listen to the steady murmurs of nature. The lack of noise pollution provides a splendid break from the restless city life.

Hiking trails are dispersed across Taipei City. Although this form of exercise is fused into the local culture, some trails deserve more recognition than they receive. The iconic Xiangshan track is jampacked with people wanting to take the iconic Instagram shot.

Keep in mind, various other trails provide views just as pleasing. The Guizikeng and Zhongyishan trails are towards the northern part of Taipei. They are accessible by Fuxinggang MRT station.

Guizikeng Trail (Photo courtesy of Saloni)

The Guizikeng track features two main recreational areas. There is a well-established camping ground. Here people can set up their tents and use the facilities free of cost for one overnight stay. As well as an ecological park that highlights the stunning Lovers’ Lake. Koi fish and turtles glide through the lake water.

Guizikeng Trail Lake
Hikers at Guizikeng Trail

Along the trail, there are a lot of stone stairs that lead to a plain on the top of the mountain with fields. One significant part of the track, emphasizes a tiny bridge where the dense forest envelopes people. Only the music of the trees and insects can be heard.

Hiking buddies at Guizikeng Trail

The trail is circular so the start and endpoints are pretty close to each other. Towards the center of the trail, there is a connecting point where adventurers can continue up to Yangmingshan and explore other tracks. The Guizikeng trail isn’t taxing on the whole and is suitable for inexperienced hikers.

Bridge at Guizikeng Trail (Photo courtesy of Saloni)
Guizikeng Trail Bridge Spot

If you loathe stairs, then the Zhongyishan trail is probably not for you. Stone steps represent the majority of this track and are draining, but the experience is rewarding. Arriving at the top of the stairs, Zhongyishan flaunts a large plain and rest area.

Zhongyishan Trail

During cooler days, the grassland is suitable for picnics; but as summer approaches, the spacious shade area would be better. The dirt path down the mountain is by far the most exhilarating part of the track. It evokes a daring and adventurous feeling. The steep and uncertain path down requires extra precaution, so be sure to use the assisting rope handgrips.

Not far from the trail is the Xingtian Temple, which is worth stopping by. The Temple presents a stunning view of the countryside and some notable buildings are also visible in the distance. 

The Zhongyishan Trail (Photo courtesy of Saloni)

These are just a few of the hidden gems in Taipei, so take the time to discover them for yourself!