Before I moved to Taiwan I had already heard of the Teapot Mountain Hike. Ever since I heard about it, and saw all the perfect pictures I've been wanting to go. Last week this dream finally came true!
Teapot Mountain is located in Ruifang District on the East Coast, about an hour's drive away from Taipei. The mountain has stunning views over the valleys, the East China Sea, and some harbor towns and on a clear day, you can even see the Taipei 101!
So, last week, after dreaming about this trail for way too long, a friend and I finally decided to go. Seeing that it was her last week in Taiwan before moving to the States, we figured this was a fun last hike in Taiwan. And boy, were we right. I had high expectations, but this trail surpassed everything.
Let's start at the beginning of our day. At 5.45 in the morning, I woke up in my house in Yangmingshan. After getting ready I hopped in the car to pick up my friend in the Nangang District. The weather looked promising, a little cloudy, a little sunny, and not too hot.
We both had not had breakfast yet so we went to a breakfast shop close to her house. It's so great that breakfast shops in Taiwan open around 6 (or earlier).
We went on our way and noticed that there was very little traffic out of the city, lucky us. After driving for a minute or 10, a little light went on in the car... The tire pressure was not okay. Both of us just having gotten our driver's licenses had no idea what to do. Our best option was to go to the gas station and see if we could add air to our tires, but, we also did not know how to do that. We got to the gas pump and asked someone to help us. Someone was very nice to help us add air to all of the tires. It was then that we noticed that one of the nozzles had a problem that had to be fixed before we could start driving in the mountains.
So, we googled the closest mechanic and found one in this little town called Nuannuan (暖暖). But, since it was not even 9 yet, the mechanic was still closed. And so were all the 20 other mechanics in Nuannuan.
Not having a better option we decided to start driving in the direction of Teapot Mountain. After half an hour on the road, we found an open mechanic. We got the nozzle fixed within half an hour, had to pay 200 NTD (about 6 euros), and were finally on our way.
We drove to the parking lot to start the Teapot Mountain Hike. We parked our car here:
https://goo.gl/maps/61X1VAjbHhJcg2dNA , at Quan Ji Tang Parking. From there the hike up and down the mountain will take a little less than 2 hours.
During the hike you can smell the Taiwanese flowers, and spot beautiful butterflies and reptiles like skinks or small snakes.
The biggest part of the trail is relatively easy to hike, it is mostly stairs or paved roads. Every kilometer or so you have a little pagoda where you can sit, rest, maybe eat a snack or drink some water and enjoy the stunning views. With every new pagoda, you get a new, just as pretty or even prettier view.
When you've reached the top and think you can't go any further, you can actually go further. At the top you can find all these volcanic rocks that you can climb. People put up some ropes you can use so that it's easier. You can decide to climb a little further or, for the real daredevils, you can choose to climb through a small hole in the rocks to end up at the very top of the rock formation. I am not that much of a daredevil, but my friend convinced me to climb up. So we did. It was a bit hard and pretty scary, but it was 100% worth it!
What's in a name?
When we were busy climbing up Teapot Mountain we kept wondering where the name comes from. In our eyes, the mountain didn't particularly look like a teapot. After some research, we found out that it does actually look like a teapot, but you need to look from the right direction, namely Jinguashi Geological Park. And you need to take in mind that the mountain is supposed to look like an earless teapot, hence the Chinese name 無耳茶壺山 (wu er chahu shan), which literally translates to "earless teapot mountain".
How to get there
The easiest way to get to the start of the hiking trail is by car. There are multiple parking lots at different starting points for the Teapot Mountain hike. Depending on where you live in Taipei the drive will be somewhere between 45mins to 1,5hour. On your drive there you will pass cute small towns and Jiufen(!) as well. Learn more about Jiufen here: https://www.eatliveshoptaiwan.com/post/jiufen-the-city-of-gold
You can also take the bus to the start of the trail. This will take about 1,5 to 2 hours. It is probably cheaper than taking a car since public transport in Taiwan is not expensive at all. If you take the bus you should get off at Quanjitang (勸濟堂). This station is a five-minute walk to the start of the trail.
One thing you have to keep in mind when taking the bus is bus times. The latest bus back to Taipei leaves pretty early, so make sure you check beforehand and don't miss it.
Last year I made a list of goals for 2022. This hike was on that list as well. Did I think I would actually hike this mountain when I made the list? Not at all, but a girl can dream, and sometimes, those dreams might just come true.
So, what is a hike you dream of doing? A (metaphorical) mountain you dream of climbing?