Taipingshan is one of eighteen Forest Recreation Areas managed by Taiwan’s Forestry Bureau. Situated on the slopes of Yilan’s Datong District, Taipingshan’s current existence can be traced back to the time when the Japanese authorities ran extensive logging operations in the area. The park sites between 500 and over 2000 metres above sea level, and this altitude combined with its position on Taiwan’s east coast means that it’s known for being perennially foggy and damp. Far from being a drawback, these conditions have blessed the park with the most luscious moss carpets you will ever see, and a beautiful, otherworldly atmosphere.
Hiking in Taipingshan
There are numerous hiking trails in Taipingshan Forest Recreation Area, many of them suitable for beginners. On this page, you’ll find links to detailed descriptions of several of these trails, as well as the information you need to get there.
- Cueifeng Lake Circular Trail
- Jancing Historic Trail
- Maosing Loop Trail
- Maosing Main Trail
- Taipingshan Cypress Trail
- Taiwan Hemlock Trail
When to visit Taipingshan
The park is open year-round and is beautiful in any season,. However, the area is prone to heavy rain, so check the weather forecast before your visit. The park is open to guests from 8am to 9pm daily, and you should aim to arrive early if you want to see some views before the afternoon clouds roll in.
Tickets can be bought at the entrance to the park and cost $200 for a regular visitor on holidays and $150 on weekdays. There are concessions available for people over 60, kids under 6 years old, and people with some types of disability. There are also fees for parking (cars $100, scooters $20). For more information you can check here.
Bong Bong Train Tickets
You have to be physically in the park to purchase tickets for the bong bong train. Guests staying overnight can buy tickets for the following day before 5pm, which might be smart given that tickets for all but the first two trips (7:30am and 8:80am) sell out quickly. There are nine services every day (more on national holidays), leaving at half past the hour and returning ninety minutes later from 7:30am through to 3:30pm. To ensure that there are enough seats for people wanting to come back you, are asked to return on the service specified on your ticket. A regular ticket will set you back $180 while a concessionary ticket (kids aged 3-12 and those over 65) is $120.
Staying in Taipingshan
The park has accommodation in the form of Taipingshan Villa (which is actually five separate buildings, each named after a species of conifer). As of 2022, prices range from $1200 for a bunk in a four-bed dorm to $9800 for an eight-bed room. They can be booked through this website as far as two months in advance, but rooms tend to sell out early.
How to get to Taipingshan
Google maps address: Taipingshan is accessed by driving inland from Yilan, then crossing the vast expanse of Lanyang River and driving up Taiping Forestry Road. You’ll have to stop at the toll booth to pay the entrance and parking fee, then continue up the road for quite a way until you reach the carpark. The walk itself starts from in front of Taipingshan Villa Service Station.
Public transport: Kuo-kuang Motor Transport (also known as King Bus) run the 1750 once-a-day service which picks up passengers from Yilan Transfer Station at 7:40am and Luodong Transfer Station at 8:00am. The bus makes its return journey from Taiping Villa (where this walk starts) at 2:30pm with an hour-long stop at Jiuzhize (鳩之澤, also often spelled Jiouzhihze) on the way back. If you’re planning to walk more than one of the trails then you should definitely look into staying at the park in order to make the most of the trip.
Cueifeng Lake Circular Trail
Cueifeng Lake was Taiwan’s first ever officially designated silent trail, and the first trail in the world to receive Quiet Trail certification. The thick carpet of lush mosses and frequent cloud cover means that the area exists in a perpetual hush – it’s the perfect antidote to city life.
Jancing Historic Trail
Taipingshan’s Jancing Historic Trail is probably one of the most instantly recognisable trails that Taiwan has to offer, and for good reason. This easy stroll has won the hearts of locals and tourists alike for its mixture of stunning natural scenery and historical significance.
Maosing Loop Trail
Riding the bright yellow bong bong train is one of Taipingshan’s most memorable experiences. The twenty-minute journey takes you to Maosing Station where you have the choice of two short trails to explore.
Maosing Main Trail
Of the two trails accessible from Taipingshan’s iconic bong bong train, Maosing Main Trail is both the longer and flatter option. It follows the course of the old tracks for a gentle 1km wander through grand forest scenery.
Taipingshan Cypress Trail
Located high up in the mountainous forests in the South of Yilan County, Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area is home to spectacular old forests. The Cypress Trail offers a very easy introduction to this special landscape.
Taiwan Hemlock Trail
Taipingshan’s Hemlock Trail is an enchanted forest wonderland. If you’re planning your trip to the area, then make sure to include this spectacular route on your itinerary.