An undeniable truth of Taiwan life is that summers here are long and unpleasantly hot. For some people that means that outdoor activities are put off until the mercury starts to dip again, for others it signals that it’s time to head to the nearest ocean or river, but there is a third option to explore: hiking at night. As well as saving your skin from the worst of the sun, night hikes during spring and summer will bring you face to face with a spectacular array of wildlife.
Qixing Shan attracts walkers year-round for its expansive views, bamboo-lined paths and volcanic geology. As Taipei’s highest mountain, it is a must-climb for the city’s population of avid hikers, but how many of them can say they have climbed it in the dark?
There are lots of trails close to the city that offer opportunities for exploring after dark. The ever popular Jiantan Hiking Trail is one such route – although if you visit at night you can expect to have the paths almost entirely to yourselves.
Cuei Lake in Xizhi District is one of several firefly spotting locations in New Taipei City. Visit in April to enjoy this beautiful annual event.
Scissors Rock is up there with Elephant Mountain in terms of its popularity among the easily accessible trails of Taipei. But unlike it’s Xinyi District counterpart, this trail in Neihu falls quiet as soon as night settles on the city. Travellers willing to brave the dark will be treated to peaceful city views and maybe even a flying squirrel (or two, or five)
Close to the city, Battleship Rock Trail is an ever popular walk, and on weekends in particular you are likely to find it pretty crowded. But for those who are feeling brave it offers an easy after dark hike and a stupendous night view of Taipei.
You don’t need to travel to the remote mountains of central Taiwan to experience the magic of seeing fireflies lighting up the evening forest. Hushan has a trail within walking distance of the MRT which is adapted for firefly viewing in peak season. If you visit Taiwan in April or May, you should definitely set aside an evening to step into this enchanting realm of fireflies, night birds and noisy frogs.