Yangmingshan National Park makes for a great day trip during a visit to Taipei. The park is in close proximity to the city, and it is a popular place with the locals. Public transportation options make it easily accessible, as long as you’re willing to navigate a connection or two. That may sound a bit daunting to some, but it’s really not at all difficult to get to Yangmingshan National Park from Taipei, no matter where you are staying in the capital.
Why Yangmingshan National Park is Worth Visting
Based on the crowds at the bus stop during our second day in Taipei, Yangmingshan National Park is a very popular place with the locals. It’s a beautiful green escape not far from the middle of Taiwan’s bustling capital, so I’m not at all surprised people love coming here. The flower fields at Zhuzihu were especially popular. I spotted a few other foreigners, but the vast majority of those visiting the areas of the park that we did were Chinese.
Whether you hike all the way up Mount Qixing to (hopefully) enjoy a view, tour the Yangming Shuwu residence, or explore some of the further reaches of the park, it makes for a great day trip from Taipei. Mount Qixing (literally Seven Star Mountain) is actually the tallest in all of Taiwan! It is a ridiculously strenuous ascent, probably the most brutal hike I’ve ever done of that length, especially given the oppressive heat. You could also enjoy (I guess?) the sulfurous fumaroles at Xiaoyoukeng, enjoy the hot springs, or head all the way out to Qingtiangang Grassland. We didn’t get to do the latter two, given that I only budgeted one day to enjoy the park.
Depending on how much time you have in Taiwan, I may or may not include a visit. If you’re only stopping over for a couple days, there is plenty more to see (and eat!). But if you’re here for a week or more, take a break from the crowded cities and enjoy Yangmingshan.
How to Get to Yangmingshan National Park from Taipei
The first step to get to Yangmingshan National Park from the center of Taipei is to take the Tamsui-Xinyi (red) MTR line to the Beitou, Jiantan, or Shipai stations. These are the most convenient and offer the most options to get you to the park. You can catch a bus from any of these locations that will take you straight into Yangmingshan. Depending on the line, you may be able to stay on the same bus that will take you to wherever you’re headed within the National Park. Here are your transportation options from the metro line:
Direction from Beitou MTR
The bus station to Yangmingshan is directly adjacent to the MTR station, making this a convenient transfer point. Depending on where you want to go within Yangmingshan, you have the following bus options with approximate ride lengths:
- S9 – Runs every 25-40 minutes serving: Yangmingshan Flower Clock/Fountain (0:40), Main Park Visitor Center (0:45), Zhuzihu (1:05)
- 129 – Runs approximately every 45 minutes on a similar route to the S9 serving: Yangmingshan Flower Clock/Fountain (0:40), Main Park Visitor Center (0:45), Zhuzihu (1:05)
- 230 – Run approximately every 30 minutes and will take you to the Yangmingshan Bus Station outside the park (0:50). From there you will need to take Line 108 or another bus into Yangmingshan National Park, so budget additional time.
Directions from Jiantan MTR
If you head to the Jiantan MTR station, you can catch a few different buses that will take you into Yangmingshan National Park. If you’re going to Zuzhihu, I would suggest sticking with stepping off the MTR at the Beitou station and catching one of the buses that will take you directly into the park.
- R5 – Runs as commonly as every 4 minutes on weekdays, up to 15 minutes on holidays. You’ll be taken to the Yangmingshan bus terminal (ride length 1:20) from where you’ll need to catch another bus into the park.
- S15 (Full) – Runs approximately every serving: Juansi Falls Trail (1:00), Lengshuikeng Visitor Center (1:10), Qingtiangang Grassland (1:15).
- S15 (Shuttle) – Very limited service departing Jiantan on weekdays at 0640, 0720, 1140, 1640, and 1730, serving: Juansi Falls Trail (1:00) and Jingshan Recreation Area (1:05).
- 303 – Runs every 30 minutes on weekdays and every hour on weekends and holidays serving: Yangmingshan bus terminal (0:55) and Juansi Falls Trail (1:05).
Directions from Shipai MTR
The bus station to Yangmingshan is directly across the street from the MTR, making this a convenient transfer point. Depending on where you want to go within Yangmingshan, you have the following bus options:
- S8 -Runs approximately every 40-45 minutes, serving: Yangmingshan Park Visitor Center (0:40), Yangmingshan bus station (0:50), National Park Management Office (0:55), Zhuzihu (1:00).
- 128 – Runs approximately every 10 minutes, serving: Yangmingshan Park Visitor Center (0:45) and National Park Management Office (1:00)
The S8 bus from Shipai MTR was the option that we chose. The connection was easy, and we were able to stuff ourselves onto the first bus with the Taiwanese crowd. The ride to Shipai had taken a little over half an hour from our hotel, and the ride up the mountain took roughly another hour. I wish we would have stayed on the bus, as I didn’t know it continued on to Zhuzihu at the time! There were no seats on our first bus, although a nice lady let my son take up most of her footroom so he could sit.
From Taipei Main Station
You can actually get from Taipei Main Station to Yangmingshan fairly easily as well. There is one primary bus route that will drop you off just outside the park at the Yangmingshan bus terminal. This is different than the multi-route bus stop near the National Park Management Office. Here’s the route you want:
- 260 – Runs approximately every 15 minutes from Taipei Main Station to Yangmingshan bus terminal (1:20). Budget additional time to get where you’re going within the park.
From there you can take the Line 108 into Yangmingshan National Park, which is a good option on weekdays for getting to several places within the park.
- 108 – Runs weekdays. Starts at Yangmingshan Bus Station and serves the following: National Park Management Office/bus stop, Zhuzihu, Xiaoyoukeng, Qingtiangang, and intermediate stops.
Getting Around Within The Park
There are a few bus routes that run within Yangmingshan National Park. Once you get to the park, you can then hop on any of these to get to other destinations. I would suggest hopping on a bus that will take you directly to your intended destination, if possible. If you want to get your bearings at the visitor center, that is a fine option as well. There you can inquire which bus you want to take to various places within the park. Line 108 (above) runs to most of the main areas.
Other Ways to Get to Yangmingshan National Park from Taipei
If time is of the essence, you could request an Uber from your hotel that will take 40-60 minutes in light traffic. If traffic is heavy, this will almost certainly take you over an hour.
You could also consider a tour of Yangmingshan that includes transportation to the park. However, with the numerous public transit options to Yangmingshan, using the MRT and bus to get to the park and navigate within it is highly suggested. And it is far the cheapest option.
First, get there early! I thought we were heading out early leaving our hotel before 7:30 AM, and I was blown away by the number of people at the bus stop. Our bus was packed. We were able to easily get up to Zhuzihu, but later in the day, traffic was completely congested. I suggest getting to wherever you want to go and spend the rest of the time hiking or getting to locations deeper into the park. The road up to Zhuzihu was by far the worst.
Second, bring extra water. No matter how little walking you do, the heat and humidity will get to you. We visited in May, which is one of the warmer months, but still not in the middle of their oppressive midsummer. Winter is actually a great time to visit Taiwan, with cooler temperatures and less rainfall.
While Taiwan’t transit system is easier to navigate than I expected, the bus routes are certainly a bit more difficult than the metro. Hopefully this is enough of a rundown on the easiest ways to get to Yangmingshan National Park from Taipei (and back) using mass transit.