There is a nice park right behind The Grand Hotel that most tourists overlook.  Right behind The Grand Hotel is the Yuanshan Scenic Area Park, which is basically a small mountain that The Grand Hotel is situated on.  Walking to the summit takes only 20 minutes, and is a very easy climb as it is well marked with a long staircase trail (be prepared to climb alot of steps).  If you time it correctly, you can actually catch the sunset overlooking the Taipei skyline in the distance.  Unfortunately for us, it was drizzling with overcast skies, so the view was kind of obscurred.  Either way, let me show you how to get to this park, as there is a shortcut through The Grand Hotel!            

To get to the entrance of the park, you first walk into the main lobby of The Grand Hotel.  From there, you keep walking straight to the main staircase at the back, and walk up the staircase which leads to the second part of the hotel.  One of the main landmarks you will see is a beautifully crafted golden dragon fountain, when you see that it means you are heading in the right direction.  After that you will pass through a series of halls, and pass through one of its banquet halls.  Eventually you will see a door that exits outside.  Walk through the exit and turn left.

The main lobby of The Grand Hotel.  Walk straight towards the main staircase you see in the centre, and walk up the stairs to get to the second part of the building.

When you see the golden dragon fountain, it means you are heading in the right direction.

Exit here and turn left.

Once you exited the building and turned left, just walk straight along the road.  This will lead you right to the main entrance of the Yuanshan Scenic Area Park.  From the entrance to the park, you can then begin your climb to the summit or the observatory area.  It is a very straight forward climb, just be prepared to climb alot of steps.  And beware, when it rains, it gets very slippery!

After exiting the hotel, and turning left, just walk straight on this road.

View of the hotel from behind us, as we were walking towards the park.

We made it to the entrance of the Yuanshan Scenic Area!

Off we go!

Endless steps to climb!

More steps to climb!

A view of the city below as we climb higher and closer to the summit.

Interestingly enough, the Yuanshan Scenic Area is not only a park, but also serves as a pathway that links the various residential units located all around the mountain.  Surprisingly, there is a thriving community living in and around the park, as we passed by a small school, some badminton and basketball courts, and even a temple.  Eventually we saw a signboard showing the way to the observatory, which is the summit of the mountain.

A signboard showing the direction to the observatory.

As we made our final push to the top of the mountain, we were greeted with large gusts of wind and heavy rain!  Just our luck!!!  Because of that, we quickly snapped our pictures at the summit, and made our climb back down to The Grand Hotel.  We were basically drenched in rain from head to toe!  So hopefully you have better luck with the weather than we did.

Overcast skies, and rain.  You can barely see the Taipei skyline below.

Another view at the top.  In this picture, even my camera lens was getting wet.  If it were a clear day, the view must have been awesome!

There you have it!  A quick guide to the Yuanshan Scenic Area!  If you do get the chance and have some spare time, this is worth the visit.  It’s an easy climb and if the weather cooperates, you will be pleasantly rewarded with stunning views of Taipei city!

Have you visited Yuanshan Scenic Area?  Please share your experiences below!

Alec Chan

Alec Chan is an intrepid traveler, travel writer, author, speaker, serial entrepreneur and self professed Asia travel ambassador. Traveling all around Asia since 2003, and still traveling, Alec is an accomplished and passionate traveler seeking to bridge the cultural gaps in Asia. Through his unique perspective as a Canadian born Chinese, Alec shares his special insights on Asia to help others around the world to have a better understanding on Asian culture so that they can have a more meaningful, fun, and stress free trip to Asia. Alec has written numerous travel guides on several destinations in Asia and is the editor in chief of AlecTravelGuide.com

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