Hiking Elephant Mountain for the Best View of Taipei

The view from Elephant Mountain

Hiking Elephant Mountain for the Best View of Taipei

One of the most recommendable things to do when visiting Taipei is to view the city from Elephant Mountain.

Climbing Elephant Mountain is free, and it isn’t very difficult at all. In fact, it can easily be done as an afternoon activity to catch the stunning sunset over Taipei.

There are many steps up, taking anything around 15 to 20 minutes to see the top views depending on how many breaks you take. When you get to the top, you’ll find it’s well worth the effort – a spectacular and worthwhile view of the city that rivals all other picturesque images of Taipei.

So, let’s begin this guide with where to start.

Start at Xiangshan MRT exit 2

Get off at the Xiangshan MRT station from exit 2. The MRT station is just past Taipei 101 at the very end of the red line.

Directly out in front of this exit, you’ll see the signposts that’ll lead you to Elephant Mountain.

Xiangshan Hiking Trail signpost

Follow these signposts toward the Xiangshan Hiking Trail. The restrooms are conveniently signposted incase you need to go before you climb up. Don’t worry, there are also restrooms on the mountain.

We recommend stopping by at the nearby Family Mart to stock up on bottled water so you don’t dehydrate in the heat. Taking a bottle up there with you allows you to refill it by the clearly-marked drinkable water fountains on the mountain.

This would also be the last opportunity to pick up some picnic food if you’re planning on staying a while on the mountain.

The Elephant Mountain entrance

Following the signposts will direct you to these steps.

This is the entrance. If you’ve missed the Family Mart and without anything to drink, there’s a little stall nearby here that sells cheap bottled drinks.

Hiking up Elephant Mountain

And so your hike up the mountain trail begins!

The preliminary viewing platform

You will eventually reach the preliminary viewing platform about halfway up the steps. This platform is an ideal resting place to enjoy the views. Remember, you’re not done yet!

The Elephant Mountain almost there sign

When you see to this white painted stone you’re almost there by a few minutes to see the top views. The slab reads, 象山 (“Elephant Mountain”).

The second viewing platform

Then when you get here… congratulations! You’ve made it, and just check out that stunning view of Taipei! This view is from the second viewing platform which is ideal for the cityscape views. For better vantage points, there are 6 boulders which you can climb up to get a better view and some awesome selfies shots from.

Six Boulders Photography Platform queues

However, depending on how good the weather is, there’s likely to be queues for these awesome boulder shots. It’s at these higher viewpoints that many choose to include themselves in their photos.

Elephant Mountain best view

But despite the climb, and how busy it can get, it’s totally worth it! – We captured this shot on a really beautiful, clear day on top of the boulders.

The third viewing Platform

If you continue on, you’ll find a third viewing platform with some available seating. This viewpoint provides a slightly different view of Taipei which is an ideal place to take larger group selfies as well as an area to sit back and enjoy the city view.

There is a drinkable water fountain by this third platform if you want to drink or fill up your bottle.

The further hiking from Elephant Mountain

If you keep hiking higher, you’ll see the trail starts to split and branch off. Take the left fork to continue heading to a final viewing platform or right fork to find the restrooms. There are also trails leading down the other side of the mountain if you choose to continue for more hiking.

Elephant Mountain at sunset

Once you make it to the final viewing platform, you’ll find a sheltered area with tables and seating. This is an ideal spot to enjoy the sunset and have a picnic.

Elephant Mountain at night

It is worthwhile to stay until nightfall to watch the city wonderfully light up. The paths are open 24 hours with bright lights that come on to guide you back down the path, so you’re safe to enjoy the night views.

Taipei 101 switch off most off most their lights at 10pm, so consider that if you’re up for any late night view shots.

Tips for Hiking Elephant Mountain

  • 1) Wear sneakers or running shoes. It’s not a long hike, but it’s steep, so it would be ideal to wear comfortable shoes and clothes.
  • 2) Check ahead with the weather before you climb. There weather can change suddenly, and there’s little shelter up there to get out of the rain. Also, If you want to capture some great photos, avoid any dull, cloudy weather. You can check here for the 5 day weather forecast for Taipei.
  • 3) The trail for the views is short, so you don’t need a guide or a permit. As there is no entrance fee, you can stay as long as you want. Just keep in mind that Taipei 10 switch off most of their lights at 10PM.
  • 4) It’s less crowded if you go early in the morning on a weekday. If you’re wanting that epic sunset shot, try to stake out your spot before the crowds gather.

All in all…

It’s an awesome activity, and it even allows you to get in some exercise for the day. You won’t regret the effort, even if you go on a hot and humid day.

You don’t need to be an experienced hiker for this trail, but it can be tiring if you’re not fit. As there are many resting points, you can your time and still be rewarded with the best views of the city.

If you’re looking for places to visit or activities to do in Taipei, this should be #1 on your agenda.

Updated: April 10, 2018 – Taipei.Expats


The Mitsui Outlet Park

Mitsui Outlet Main Entrance

The Mitsui Outlet Park

Mitsui Outlet Park Linkou, which opened in New Taipei City. It takes advantage of an emerging trend by differentiating itself from other shopping centers.

I had recently learned about a brand new outlet park with a lot of good publicity in the media. The Mitsui Outlet Park had recently opened up in the west of Taipei City. Operated by the Japanese Mitsui Group (三井グループ), the outlet is located in the Taipei Metro area. This is in the Linkou District, a distance of around 40 – 50 minute drive from setting off with a group of friends nearby Taipei 101.

Typically, outlets house many retailers of top brand names with an across-the-board range of products, such items as clothing, sports gear to popular household items. The unique qualities of an outlet, (which puts itself above malls and shopping centers), is that outlets are typically much bigger with many of their top branded retailers offering various discounts from anywhere up to 90% off their products.

We arrived at the Mitsui Outlet Park

It looked magnificent, with many big entrances to the complex, the outlet can be roughly divided into two sections, inside and outside section shopping sections. The inside section contains a wide array of shops and a large food court area as well as supermarket. Also, the outside section extends outward from the Center Plaza. Both sections are 2 stories high and converge in a loop nearby the plaza area.

Ummm, not really what I had expected

The Mitsui Outlet Park has fantastic and impressive first impressions. For those that had ever visited the Taipei 101 mall in the Xinyi District, can at least agree on the modernized high-class standards that they both closely share. It had a comfortable and luxurious feel towards the environment and facilities. Throughout the building, it wasn’t as crowded as I had initially anticipated for a new shopping center.

West Gate to Outside Shopping Area outlet goes, we were met with many top branded retailers from every direction, along with all their high quality products that were subjected to their advertised fantastic outlet-discounts. Then, we were all hit with much disappointment. We noticed most, if not all, prices weren’t what they seem. It’s an old retail marketing black-hat trick. Jack your prices up to then put them down to whatever discount percentage off the price to give that outlet feel.

Center Plaza from South Gate

We noticed that most of the top branded retailers within The Mitsui Outlet Park were doing this, which left their prices to be what you’d expect in any of their high stores in Taipei. As a British man, I know this trick to be an illegal act in the UK. The Sales of goods act state that the prices MUST BE sold at the ‘pre-discounted’ price for at least 6 months before advising customers that it has been reduced to the stated promotional price. This is a law on all goods and services traded in Britain to protect their customers from being tricked into getting a seemly good bargain. However, this is Taiwan.

You can say that our experiences only got worse…

After spending a few hours in the so called outlet, we decided enough was enough of looking around, and get something to eat. Most of my group of friends fancied a burger based meal, so we didn’t eat at the food court. In fact, we found a really nice looking restaurant near the entrance, called ‘Kua’aina’, a Hawaiian themed burger & sandwich restaurant.Outside Kua’aina

The waiting outside before going inside and being asked for your order is about 30 minutes. This is nothing out the ordinary when waiting for a table at a restaurant in Taipei. When we finally got in and was given a table, we sat down, ordered and waited with our soft drinks for about a good 15 minutes until the waiter had came to apologies with some bad news. They had run out of burger buns and politely asked us if we’re okay with toasted bread instead.

Inside Kua’aina

No, we weren’t happy. I just couldn’t see myself enjoying a meaty burger as I crunch through the toast. It was just an uncomfortable feeling. What made things worse was the people behind us had buns! Confused and upset about this, they had advised us it was yet another mistake of theirs to make and serve the group behind us before us. Not to mention it was the insult after injury.

We got a full refund (even our half-finished drinks). It was only too late that I had checked the reviews for the burger restaurant, to which most were horrendous. It highlights how important reviews are these days when trying to avoid disappointment from so many seemingly great products and services.

Food Court

After.that.ordeal, we ended up eating at the food court. The food court was actually a rather pleasant experience with many delicious food choices, and was a lot more spacious and less crowded than many of my previous experiences in the Taipei 101 mall and living mall.

On a last but positive observation…

The outlet proved to offer one more modern and beneficial feature with the use of their increasingly smart technology. Every car owner, who parks in the outlet car park of The Mitsui Outlet Park, is provide with a small plastic token. Yes, it’s yet another gimmick to encourage you to spend more. This does, however, prove its usefulness and above the norm of unique services to save you money on your overall car park fees. Moreover, you earn points from any transactions at any retailer or restaurant within the outlet, which adds to your token. You just hand it over to the servicing staff at the checkout to have the earned points added.

So, what are my final thoughts of the Mitsui Outlet Park?

Other than the convenience of having all the branded retailers in one place, there wasn’t much more of a unique value of going to this outlet, which therefore, was more like an unusually large mall than an outlet in my opinion.

Would you go back?

No, I’d just take the convenient option of ordering online to get a ‘real’ discounted price from what you typically get online these days.

For more information on The Mitsui Outlet Park:

 Official Website (English): Mitsui Outlet Park Linkou

 Phone Number: +886 2 2606 8666

  • Opening hours:

Monday – Thursday: 11:00 am-9:30 pm
Friday Saturday: 11:00 am-10:00 pm
11:00 am-9:30 pm

  • How to get there:

 From Taipei Main Station (台北車站), take bus route 1209 or 1210 to Lilin Elementary School (麗林國小). After alighting, walk two blocks west to the intersection of Wenhua 2nd Road and Zhongxiao 2nd Road.

 The Mitsui Group operates a free shuttle bus at 20-30 minute intervals between the following locations:

MRT Yuanshan, MRT Taipei Bridge, MRT Xinzhuang, MRT Nanshijiao, MRT Xinpu, HSR Taoyuan. The shuttle bus schedule can be found here, (only in Chinese).

 Take the Airport MRT to station A9 – Linkou.

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Andy Howel

Hey there everyone, I’m a construction engineer in Civil Engineering. I’m open to meet new people from different backgrounds and ethnicity. Please connect to my network, many thanks!

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Andy's Avatar

Andy Howel

Hey there everyone, I’m a construction engineer in Civil Engineering. I’m open to meet new people from different backgrounds and ethnicity. Please connect to my network, many thanks!

Social profile link