Fascinating Evening @Hushan Away From Taipei’s Bustling Streets 虎山游记:俯瞰夕阳西下的繁华台北市景色

Taipei, as the capital city of Taiwan, is probably the most-visited destination for travellers to the country. Not only is Taipei the gateway to other parts of Taiwan, with major international flights landing at the nearby Taoyuan International Airport, the capital city is known for its busy shopping streets & of course lively night markets for mouth-watering street food. However, since it wasn’t our first time to Taipei, I thought of doing something different from the usual eating & shopping. Coincidentally, through a Singapore TV travelogue series screened earlier this year, I got to know about Xiangshan (also known as Elephant Mountain), where visitors could grab cool views of Taipei City, 183 metres above sea level.

贵为台湾首都的台北市,应该是游客到访台湾必游的城市。除了因为各大国际航班都可通往台北以外,许多游人也特别喜欢到台北逛街以及到著名的观光夜市品尝道地的街边美食。既然我们不是第一次到台北,这次的台北行,我想做些不一样的行程,不再只是吃吃喝喝及瞎拼。刚巧,年初从新加坡的一个旅游节目认识到象山,知道它是一座海拔183米高的山,在山峰上可以俯瞰热闹的台北市区。

After some research online, I found that Xiangshan is actually quite a popular tourist destination in Taipei, & many visit it for the mesmerizing sunset/ night views of the city skyline. But to reach the top, one would need to climb countless stairs. That prompted me to seek alternatives for Xiangshan, preferably 1) not as touristy, & 2) easier to climb. 😛 So, when I stumbled upon write-ups of Taiwanese bloggers sharing about their experiences on Hushan (also known as Tiger Mountain), which belongs to 1 of the peaks of the Si-Shou Public Forest (aka Four Beasts Public Forest), I was excited. The “four beasts” includes Xiang (elephant), Hu (Tiger), Bao (Leopard) & Shi (Lion), with the latter two not really suitable for novice hikers like us.

上网搜寻更多资料后,发现象山其实是个蛮受游客欢迎的景点,因为在市区就可以爬山,欣赏绚丽的夕阳和璀璨的城市夜景。但要登顶,必须爬数不尽的梯级。这促使我搜寻看台北是否有其他的登山步道,最好是:1)没那么多游客,2)比较容易走的步道,😜。结果,我发现台北四兽山的存在,就是以象山、虎山、豹山及狮山为名的四座山的统称。读了好几篇台湾部落客分享他们的登山经验后,我觉得虎山好像较符合我们两个“菜鸟”的条件,所以就锁定去探访虎山了。

While instructions on how to get to Hushan weren’t as clear as Xiangshan, & even a check with the Taipei hotel management proved fruitless as they didn’t even know of Hushan’s existence, the “stubborn” streak in me decided we must check it out. So with notes of the best online directions to Hushan that I could find, we made our way towards our virgin hike in Taipei. 🙂

在网上找到如何前往虎山的指示并不怎么清楚,而且我们问了下榻的台北饭店后,还是没什么头绪,但“铁齿”的我不打算放弃前去虎山。我们就这样“勇敢”地前去台北登山的初体验了。🙂

How To Get There 交通指南

There are a few buses to get to Hushan, including bus #257 that stops at Taipei Main Station (Zhongxiao). Although the bus will bring us directly to the bus stop nearest Hushan (alight at Fude Elementary School), we didn’t know how long it would take since bus travelling times is subject to traffic conditions as well. So here’s the route we took:

前往虎山有几种方法,包括在台北车站(忠孝)站可以搭到的257号巴士。虽然我们就住在台北车站附近,巴士也可直达最靠近虎山亲山步道的巴士站(福德国小站),我们还是决定不要冒这个险,因为毕竟不熟悉台北的交通状况及巴士路线。因此,我们选择以下方式前往:

1. Take the MRT to Taipei 101/ World Trade Centre Station (Red Line towards Xiangshan).

1. 乘搭捷运到台北101/ 世贸大楼站(超红线的象山站去)。

2. Leave the station at exit 3. There is a bus stop about 1 min walk from the exit (walk along the same road but against the traffic) where we could board either of the 2 buses: #88 or #207. We took #88 as it was the first bus that came along.

2. 从台北101/ 世贸大楼站3号出口,步行大概1分钟(就沿着道路走,但与往来的车子反方向),搭乘88号或是207号巴士就能抵达。由于88号巴士先到,所以我们就上车了。

3. Alight at Fude Elementary School bus stop, 6 stops away (for bus #88). After alighting, just walk along the road & we could see a temple entrance with the Hushan trail directional signage, right next to the 7-11 convenience store.

3. 6个站后(88号巴士路线),在福德国小站下车。洗车后,沿着道路走,很快就会看到虎山亲山步道的指示牌,就在7-11便利商店隔壁。

Bus #88 at Fude Elementary School bus stop (taken at point of departure that night)
可以搭这趟88号巴士到福德国小巴士站下车

Actually, we weren’t 100% sure of the best route, in terms of time & convenience before the hike. All I knew was we needed to get to Fude Elementary School bus stop, & we could transfer to a bus from either Taipei 101/ World Trade Centre MRT station or Taipei City Hall MRT Station to get there. But my sixth sense told me it was more worthwhile to go to the former as we would be nearer to Hushan, & if we couldn’t find the right bus stop, just grab a cab. 😛

就如刚才提到,登山前,我们根本不肯定如何最快捷方便地前去虎山。我只知道我们必须抵达福德国小站,无论是搭乘巴士直达,还是从台北101或台北市政府捷运站转乘巴士抵达。但直觉告诉我从台北101捷运站好像比较方便,不止靠近虎山,而且,真的迷路的话,就叫德士咯,😄。

Upon exiting the gantry at Taipei 101 station, we were happy to see a tourist information centre right in front of us. Thinking this would be the best place to confirm where we should board the bus to Hushan, we asked 1 of the staff. Here’s how our conversation went:

一踏出捷运闸门,就看到前方的旅客咨询中心,太好了,心想问他们哪里可以搭巴士到虎山一定不会错吧。以下是我和中心的一名职员的对话:

Me: Hi, could you please let us know where can I board the bus to Hushan?

我:嗨你好,请问我们可以去哪里搭乘巴士到虎山?

Staff: You should go to Xiangshan MRT instead, 1 stop away.

职员:你应该搭捷运到象山站,只有一个站而已。

Me: (shocked) Erm… but I am not going to Xiangshan, we want to visit Hushan.

我:(惊讶)欸……我不是要去象山,我们要去的是虎山。

Staff: (bewildered) Erm ok… Why don’t you visit Xiangshan?

职员:(讶异)蛤……为什么你不去象山?

Me: Because Xiangshan is too crowded with tourists (can’t believe a tourist info centre staff is asking such a question)…

我:因为象山太多游客去!(难以想象游客中心问我这种问题)……

Staff: Oh (still giving the unbelievable shocked look)… OK let me check for you how to get there.

职员:哦(还是一脸讶异的样子)……好的,让我查一下再告诉你怎么去。

😳, both of us were very surprised that even for staff stationed at the tourist info centre, Hushan sounds so foreign to them. 😭 But I guess, this also meant Hushan is indeed off the beaten tourist path haha. Nonetheless we made it eventually to the trail, which was not as difficult to get to as others had claimed. 😉

😓,对于游客咨询中心职员这样的反应,我们都很惊讶,看来虎山真的不是一个热门旅游景点吧😅。这样也好,至少符合不要人挤人的条件。这个令许多人感到陌生的景点其实并没有想象中的难找哦,我们也很快就抵达。

During the hike 登山的过程

We followed the signage from the main road & saw this large red signboard shortly
跟着在大路看到的指示牌走一小段,就会看到这个大红站牌。

Located at the eastern border of the Taipei Basin, Si-Shou Public Forest is a popular hiking route which is part of the Nangang Mountain. The start of the trail is an easy one as you can see from above pic, gently sloping stone path lined with big tall trees on both sides. In fact, if you can read the Chinese text above, the hiking trail has been labelled as “leisure” category, burning about 250 calories per trip. Let your eyes do the walking as you follow my pics below of the entire journey up to Hushan Peak. 😉

位于台北市东南侧的屏障,属于南港山区的四兽山是个深受市民喜爱的森林山区。从图片可看,一开始的步道是轻轻倾斜的小石路,又有两排翠绿的大树遮荫,蛮容易行走的。步道也被列入休闲级,单程只消耗约250大卡。接下来,就看图“步行”吧。☺

Short-lived happiness. After 6 min of walking on gentle stone path, we saw this flight of stairs…
短暂的幸福。走了不过6分钟的轻松溪边石道,就看到这梯级……

Why does the stairway seem never-ending? 😦
看不到尽头的木栈阶梯……

After a seemingly endless 5-min climb up the stairway, we arrived at the Four Beast Square, where we could finally take a breather.
虽然只爬了5分钟的梯级,但看到四兽广场的凉亭,好高兴!终于能喘口气了😅

We had only hiked for about 15 min in the Hushan Nature Trail, but were already panting by the time we reached Four Beast Square. Oops… I wonder why bloggers have been saying this trail is an easier hike compared to Xiangshan’s, when there were also a lot of steps to climb here?! 🤔 But what was true about Hushan trail was that, we didn’t see anyone else throughout the 15-min hike, i.e. it wasn’t as crowded as Xiangshan. Not sure if it was partly because it was a cloudy weekday evening or not

虽然只步行了15分钟,但抵达四兽广场时,已是喘不过气了。不知道为什么部落客都说比起象山,虎山是比较能轻松步行的步道?🤔 不过,关于虎山没那么多人一说,就的确是真的哦。15分钟的路程中,都没看到其他人。不知道部分原因会不会是因为我们到访的那天是星期一傍晚,还乌云密布。

Only at Four Beast Square did we see a few locals, either resting in the pavilion or doing some stretching at the fitness corner. We approached a lady to confirm we were on the right track to the peak. While assuring us that we were on the right track, she was curious where we were from as we didn’t sound local. After knowing where we came from, she commented “Wow! So brave of you! First time to Taipei on your own & venture to Hushan!” Haha we didn’t clarify it wasn’t our first Taipei trip, nonetheless, it felt good hearing a local affirming our off-the-touristy-path choice. 😛 Then we continued happily up another series of long flight of wooden stairway again…

只有在四兽广场我们才看到几位在地人在凉亭休息或在健身角落做运动。上前向一名在健身的女生确认我们前往顶峰的方向是否正确。由于听得出我们不是台湾人,她就好奇地问我们是哪里人,知道后惊叹:“哇!第一次到台北就敢来爬虎山哦!”我们没有澄清这不是我们第一次到台北,但感觉很不错叻,又再次有在地人“确认”我们这个非一般旅游景点的选择,😄。接着,又是攀爬一连串的梯级了……

Getting closer to Hushan Peak…
离虎山峰越来越近了!

7 min later we got rid of the stairs & had to conquer this steep terrain
爬了7分钟的梯级后,我们必须“征服”这道长长的斜坡

Oh no… 10 more min (160m) of stairs to climb before reaching Hushan Peak!
噢!还需爬上160米高的梯级(约10分钟)才能到达虎山峰!

Psyching ourselves to move just 100m more for cool sunset views of the city 🙂
加油!还有100米,就能欣赏到撩人的城市夕阳景色了😊

Right in front of this “100m ahead” marker was a pavilion where we could catch our breath before continuing. By then, we were both drenched, partly because it had started to drizzle & the hike up was a real workout for us haha. While there was no one else we saw, we had lots of undesirable “companions”, i.e. the mozzies! Although I’m usually not the mosquito’s priority target, I had already found several bites on my body despite spraying lots of mosquito repellent (specially bought in Taiwan & I used up half a bottle!) to combat the infamous little black mozzies. So don’t say I never warn you, come prepared with mosquito repellent, but be prepared to still get bitten though. 😛

就在上图的这虎山峰指标前,有一个荒凉的凉亭让我们可以喘口气。还差100米,但我们几乎全身湿透,除了因为开始下雨了,也是因为上山使我们留了好多汗。沿途都一直没其他人,但有很多不速之客——可恶的蚊子!在这荒凉的步道上行走,就连平时不是蚊子喜爱的目标的我,也深受其害。我们几乎用掉半瓶特地在台湾买的驱黑蚊剂,但身上各处还是有很多蚊印。😒所以,不要说我没提醒,下次来一定要准备驱蚊剂,但还是要做好心理准备被咬,😄。

Fortunately the 100m trail to the peak was up & down some stairway along a gentle slope, so it wasn’t too strenuous. We were the first to reach the peak around sunset, with a local couple joining us at the raised platform shortly. Despite an exhausting, & sometimes scary (due to large dogs appearing & barking, fighting mozzies etc) journey, it was definitely rewarding to witness the awesome sunset views of Taipei City, albeit through dark & thick clouds. There was nothing obstructing our view atop Hushan Peak, & we could see the towering Taipei 101 clearly with its vibrant neon-lit colours.

幸好这100米的山波路不会太倾斜。抵达山峰的观景台时刚好是夕阳西下时,还没有其他人,只是不一会儿,就有一对情侣到来。虽然上山的路时而陡斜,时而惊险(因为有狼狗出没、烦人的黑蚊等),但这次郊山健行是个很难得的体验。特别是抵达虎山峰欣赏到台北市的迷人夕阳景色,从高处远眺台北著名地标——台北101的璀璨,就好像可以抵消之前的疲累了。这种居高临下,俯瞰绚丽台北市容的机会,纵使天空阴阴的,还是如此美妙。😉

View of the overcast skyline during sunset, before adjusting camera to night mode
夕阳西下的乌云密布台北市景观(还没调整相机的电光效果之前)

After switching my camera mode to handheld night scene, this was what I managed to capture:

把相机拍摄模式调整后,重新拍摄的美景:

It was a fascinating evening hike up Hushan, but we couldn’t stay long at the peak, because it became pitch-dark after the sun had set around 6.45 pm. We had to quickly get down before it turned even darker. Besides, we didn’t want to continue feeding the powerful mozzies here! There were 2 ways to get out, either via the same route we came from, or the opposite way down a long flight of stone stairway with no lights. Heeding the advice of the friendly couple whom we met there, we thought it would be safer to go back the same route we took earlier as it was nearer the road where cars could access. At least there would be street lamps along the sloppy road.

登上虎山峰的这个傍晚好棒,但此地不宜久留,因为太阳在6.45 左右一下山,四周就变得一片漆黑。要趁天变得更黑之前赶快下山。况且,不能继续留在这里喂蚊子了!下山的道路有2个,一个就是走回刚才来的那条路,不然就是反方向的另一条完全没路灯照明,长长的梯级。那对情侣建议我们走刚才上山的那条路,因为较靠近路口,会有车子行驶,也有一些路灯,比较好走。

Along the way down the mountain, besides a handful of cars possibly driving up to catch beautiful night views from Hushan Peak, there were at least 10 large wild dogs, barking at us the moment they saw us! 😥 Gosh, I was scared stiff but I knew I had to remain calm. Thankfully my friend was beside me & we managed to brave through to get back to the start of the hiking trail. I wonder if it was my chant “good dogs don’t block the road” that helped to miraculously made these dogs clear the path for us? 😅

下山的途中,除了偶尔看到几辆车子上山赏美景之外,沿途至少有10只大狼狗,一看到我们就不停的吠!😥 吓得我胆战心惊,不过我还是强装镇定,以免打草惊”狗“。幸好是和朋友一起走,好不容易我们”冲破重围“,抵达福德街口,就是我们开始郊山的地方。不知道是否是因为狼狗听得懂我说的“好狗不挡路”而知难而退呢?😅

Post-hike thoughts 虎山游记感想

Including little breaks to catch our breath & take photos, the entire hike up to the peak at leisurely pace took about 50 min. The walk down was slightly faster around 30 min. Although Hushan Peak is even lower than Singapore’s highest Bukit Timah Hill, the triumphant feeling I got upon “conquering” the peak was much more. Hushan is situated right in the affluent Xinyi district so the feeling of being surrounded by nature, but so near yet so far from the bustling streets of Taipei was awesome. Just remember to come armed with mosquito repellent, water and strong torchlight (you need that for the walk down the mountain after sun has set!).

我们花了约50分钟的时间才登上山峰,包括稍停下来歇息与拍照的时间。下山的路途稍快,大概半个小时左右。虽然虎山比新加坡最高的武吉知马山还低,但登山后的胜利感略胜上武吉知马山一筹。我想,那是因为虎山就位于繁华的台北市信义区里,登上山顶俯瞰似近又远的喧嚣城市的感觉,是很奇妙的。不过,切记,到虎山前一定要先做好准备,携带驱蚊剂,饮用水以及手电筒(太阳下山后必备!)哦。

Experience it yourself the next time you visit Taipei & you will know what I mean. Happy hiking! 🙂

下次到台北,来虎山健行,你就能体会到我所说的。祝登山愉快哦!☺

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