Bagua Shan's giant Buddha is one of the most instantly recognisable features of Changhua, the smallest county in the Taiwanese mainland, but it's just one of many interesting sights to be seen on a stroll around this diminutive hill.
Jiuzhuang Shan is a small hill in Taipei’s Nangang District, immediately opposite the campus of Academia Sinica. A wander along the trails will introduce you to a number of distinguished academics who were associated with the institution during their lifetimes.
This is one for the picky completists out there. Back when the Taipei Grand Hike was first announced, I was excited by the idea of a Taiwanese long distance trail, but it always rankled that the trail didn’t encircle the city entirely. Well now it does. (Almost.)
The southern stretch of the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails starts from the historic centre of Wanhua and heads through urban parks and market streets on its way to the edge of the city.
The northernmost span of the Tamsui-Kavalan Trails follows the course of the Keelung River upriver from Taipei almost as far as the coast before veering south towards Jiufen. The section between Xizhi and Ruifang jumps from small town to small town, passing lots of temples and traces of history along the way.
Much of the original Tamsui-Kavalan Trails have been swallowed up by Taipei's urban sprawl. In this section you follow the course of the city's subterranean train tracks past some of the old factories that spurred on the development of the railway network, past grand historic temples, and on towards Keelung River.
18 Peaks Mountain Park is one of Hsinchu's most easily accessible outdoor leisure spots. Not only does it draw outdoor fans in search of a scenic place for a stroll (or a jog), but its layered past means it also has much to attract history buffs.
The west bank of the Tamsui River makes an excellent short excursion. To get the most out of your adventure make sure you leave time to enjoy some of Tamsui's street food and savour the sunset.
This really easy walk in Neihu is suitable for pretty much anyone who can climb a few steps. In the summer remember to bring a towel so you can have a paddle in the stream that runs through Dagouxi Park.
In this quiet suburb of Taipei sits a hidden gem of a trail. Suitable for people of all ages and abilities, the trails of Zhishanyan have layer upon layer of history to reveal. On these slopes you can encounter a potted version of Taiwan’s past lives, the walk takes in prehistoric bones, the waves of mass immigration from China, a tragedy from the Japanese colonial era and Taiwan’s recent military past.
As with almost all of Taipei’s large rivers, the Xindian River has well-maintained cycle paths stretching for many kilometres along its banks. This gentle ride upriver towards Bitan is a great way to stretch your legs and enjoy scenery that becomes more and more dramatic the further south you go.
A very short and simple stroll around a pretty lake. This walk should be an easy one to do if the weather isn’t being cooperative, or if you want to bring the kids.
A short and simple river bikeway which can be combined with a trip up to Maokong. For the more adventurous, you can turn this into an all day, three-modes of transportation trip by then walking down from Maokong via Yinhe Cave.
If you look at Sanchong and Luzhou on a map, they seem to form an island, cut off from the rest of Taipei by rivers and parks. Luckily for the residents of this area, these unbuilt-up spaces house a great network of cycle paths where you can enjoy either a good bit of exercise or a laid back bike ride depending on your mood and energy levels.
This easy cycle route will show you around a less often visited nook of Taipei City. Jutting out between the Keelung and Danshui rivers, Shezi island has lots to offer avian aficionados. Those less interested in the birds can still enjoy the scenes of a quieter way of life.