Dusk at Elephant Mountain

As a girl from a small town surrounded by Lake Huron, I have seen my fair share of beautiful sunsets. However perhaps one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen took place from my view at Elephant Mountain, just about a 15 minute walk from the famous Taipei 101.

DCIM107GOPROElephant Mountain is the most famous of the Four Beast Mountain collection, which also includes Tiger, Leopard, and Lion Mountains.

There are actually two more mountains on this trail system called Nangang Shan and Jiuwu Peak that rise behind the beasts. Elephant  Mt. happens to be the part of the trail that links all these together.

Not only is this view of the city spectacular, it is also easily accessible by a 20 minute walk up the mountain (not to mention its free!!) The path to this glorious sight is made of stairs that are well maintained and include a railing so although steep, its not too difficult if you just go at your own pace.

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Although it will likely be busy the best time to go is during the late afternoon around 5-5:30 PM so that you can catch the sunset in Taipei, which currently occurs approximately 20 minutes after 6 PM (double check with your best pal Google). If you want to see the city landscape in daylight light, go earlier!

To get there by MRT, take the Red line 2 to its terminus, Xiangshan Station. You will be instructed to get off the Subway around the Da’an stop, but fear not, another car will be along shortly to take you to the end of the line, simply step off and wait for it.

Once you arrive at Xiangshan, take exit 2 out of the station and continue walking straight. You will notice a park and basketball courts to your left as you walk. Follow the signs for Xiangshan Hiking Trail and you won’t have any problems! When you reach the end of the road, walk across the street before you take a left, and follow both the fellow hikers and the corresponding signs. After a short distance turn right and soon you will have arrived at the base of the Xiangshan Hiking Trail.

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Take a swig of water, tie up those laces and prepare to be amazed.

You will come to a point on the trail where there is a picture taking pavilion. Although crowded there’s an unwritten code, people take their pictures and then move out of the way so that others may do the same. Be patient and you too will have your turn!

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To get the TRUE  birds eye view continue UP the path for not much longer and you will proceed to be amazed at how much of the city is visible.

In the backdrop you see mountains. In the foreground you see the impressive infrastructure of Taipei. Look right, left, and backwards; you will see greenery and perfect picture taking boulders to stand on.

Take pictures, take video, and then a deep breath and savour this moment because it really is so so breathtakingly beautiful.

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Once you take it all in I suggest walking back down to the pavilion area to get a great shot of the city lights after dusk. I guarantee you’ll be thinking about this scene the entire walk down, if not for the rest of the night. Did I mention you can see all this for free??

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To get a similar shot, have your camera ready between 6:30-7 PM, focus on the right side of your view and afterward use some good ole Instagram editing to really make the colours of that sky pop!

Wondering where this information came from? See for yourself! 

Elephant Mountain

https://guidetotaipei.com/visit/elephant-mountain-%E8%B1%A1%E5%B1%B1-xiangshan

Taipei Metro
 
The Four Beast Mountains
 
Xiangshan Taipei
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Night Life Near The Red House

The Red House (or Honglou in Chinese) is an historical site located in the Ximen area of Taipei. Originally built in 1908 by the Japanese, this octagonal building is now home to a number of interesting people, shops, bars, restaurants and events!

This location is beaming with life, music, and a strong mixture of tourists and locals! If you’re moving to Taipei I would strongly recommend this area for these exact reasons!

To find it, take the Blue or Green MRT line to Ximen Station, choose Exit 1 and before you know it you’ll be steps away from this exciting area! If you feel like browsing some shops beforehand, take Exit 6 for the Pedestrian Area across the street from the Red House.

red house bars
(I am not the owner of this image)

There is a section of the Red House that often hosts concerts and just behind the building there is a multitude of outdoor restaurants and bars.

In fact, The Red House is the hub of Taipei’s gay bar scene. Having been to a few myself I can tell you they are a great time, and obviously all are welcome.

It’s safe to say night time is when this area really comes alive, with glowing lights, music, and the delicious aromas of various foods.

A restaurant called Yunnan Thai Style Southern Food served up the best Pad Thai I’ve ever had for a mere $150 NTD or $6 Canadian. It’s decor may not look like much but what it may lack in aesthetics it makes up for in delicious true thai taste!!

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On weekends vendors line the trendy area next to the Red House. You can find beautiful handmade items here! Ranging from jewellery, to leather coin holders, to stylish hand designed t-shirts to homemade soaps; the artistry will truly blow you away!

C’mon we all know a cat or dog who could use a neck tie am I right?? HOW CUTE!

The set up next to the Red House is reminiscent of a smaller and much more reasonably priced version of Toronto, Ontario’s Kensington Market, also an area belonging to part of a neighbourhood and considered an historical site.

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One vendor sells uniquely shaped records

Tents owned by different vendors are like treasure chests waiting to be explored; unique and handcrafted items lie around each corner. The vendors are nothing but proud of their work and happy to talk with you as much as they can. During my visit I did not encounter any owner that was pushy or put pressure on me to buy, rather the interactions I had were extremely pleasant and by the end of it I couldn’t leave without asking for a business card!

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For the care and craftsmanship behind each design I found the prices to be quite reasonable, but you will have to visit for yourself and tell me what you think!

 

Where did this information come from? See for yourself! 

The Red House (Honglou)

http://www.redhouse.org.tw/index_en.aspx

The Red House (Honglou) Market 

https://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowUserReviews-g293913-d1024907-r238542684-Ximen_Red_House_Ximending-Taipei.html

MRT Instructions 

https://guidetotaipei.com/visit/the-red-house-honglou-%E8%A5%BF%E9%96%80%E7%B4%85%E6%A8%93

Yunnan Thai Style Southern Food

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g293913-d6135304-Reviews-Yunnan_Thai_Style_Southern_Food-Taipei.html

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/taiwan/taipei/restaurants/thai/thai-food

Kensington Market

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kensington_Market

Taipei Gay Bars