We made a day-trip to explore Yangmingshan National Park and its vicinity. Yangmingshan National Park was technically the first national park in Taiwan. Back in 1937, it was known as Daiton National Park under Japanese rule. However after Japan withdrew from Taiwan after World War II, there were no national parks until the new national park laws established in the early 1980s, making Yangmingshan the 3rd national park in Taiwan.
The drive to Yangmingshan National Park took about an hour from Taipei. Known to be one of the safest places in Taiwan, this national park is surrounded by affluent neighborhoods. Before the United States severed official diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979, the United States built more than 200 houses for high ranking American military officers stationed there. Upon arrival, we were greeted by terrible weather in the mountains. The whiteout conditions from the low hanging clouds were so bad that we weren’t able to see or enjoy most attractions. After having a nice hot lunch to warm our bodies, we left the mountains.
The weather of the day was a tale of 2 halves — heavy rain, strong wind and thick fog in the mountains but warm and gorgeous weather at the foot of the mountains. In Beitou, we visited the Hot Spring Museum and Thermal Valley. In Tamsui, we escaped from the crowded old street and strolled along the riverfront. Our relaxing time at Tamsui riverfront was unexpectedly the highlight of our day — laid back setting, warm weather and beautiful late afternoon sun. We requested our private driver to drop us off at Shilin Night Market as our final stop. After having our dinner in a very crowded night market, we took a half hour subway ride back to our accommodation. It was a long day, and unfortunately, a few of us experienced feverish cold that night.