Mother Nature has created the perfect little antidote to the hustle and bustle of downtown Taipei. An easy day-trip away from Taiwan's capital, Yangmingshan National Park is an ideal place to put in your itinerary after a few days taking in some of Taipei's more crowded sites. A beautiful national park about an hour north of the city, Yangminghan is a unique geographical landscape scattered with dormant volcanoes, hot springs, hiking trails and an abundance of fruit trees.
Accessible by public bus, it's surprising how rugged and remote the park can actually feel given its proximity to Taipei. Upon arrival collect a map from the visitor centre near the car park entrance then take your pick from a number of the park's attractions depending on the weather and your energy levels. If it's dry and you're feeling energetic take the climb up Mount Qixing. Even so you've been told the view from the Taipei 101 is unbeatable, upon reaching an elevation of 1120 metres you'll quickly be proved wrong.
An important historical site, Mount Qixing is also where Chiang Kai-shek built his first and last homes in Taiwan. If climbing doesn't sound like much of a holiday to you, don't worry because minibuses make it unbelievably easy to access the park's main attractions. Some of the park's other leading sites are geothermal springs and Bamboo Lake, which is famous for its white calla lilies.
Another one of the park's highlights is seeing cherry blossom trees in full bloom. To encounter Yangmingshan in all its prettiest shade of colour, plan your visit for the period between February and April. Cherry blossom season is also when Yangmingshan is at its busiest, so your best bet for visitors during this period is to see the park on a weekday so you can admire the shades of pink in peace.