Sunday, 31 August 2014

Taoyuan City - Tiger head mountain (Hutoushan, 桃園虎頭山)

Taoyuan City is located in the North-West of Taiwan. It is the gateway to Taiwan, since the most important international airport is located there. It is an industrial city, where my mobile phone was made (or designed).

Taoyuan City by night.

Despite of being one of the major cities in Taiwan with population of around 600 000, it has attracted very little interest in the blogosphere. Foreigners living in Taiwan rarely admire the beauty of Taoyuan City. Taiwan explorer wrote couple of years ago that "My personal impression of Taoyuan is not so good". But later on he recognized that his article needs to be updated with more information. My friend Chris Banducci has written several articles about life in and around Taoyuan City. I just found a recent lovely photo article about Gongyuan Road Street Market on Hutoushan Park by Brian Webb. More on Hutoushan in this and future articles of my blog.

Taoyuan railway station. Taiwan explorer was right: it is not pretty, but if you look it with love, there is some beauty in it. And in the near future it will change dramatically. They are building already in the back yard!

As I have walked and scootered in and around Taoyuan City for several weeks, I want to contribute in the search of the beauty of this area. I will start with my favourite place, Tiger Head Mountain, Hutoushan, 虎頭山. I have been there multiple times and never get tired of it. There is always new things to discover, like this.

Artistic butterfly. It is called Common Sailer (latin: Neptis hylas luculenta). Luculentus means "full of light, splendid.

To me, Hutoushan is the hilly area in the North side of Taoyuan City. For many people it is only the first hill closest to Taoyuan City. That hill is called Hutoushan Park. The distance from the railway station is approximately 2.5 km, easy to reach by foot or by bus (Dayou road bus). Good landmarks are Nankan creek and Taoyuan County Stadium.
Hutoushan Park on map

Näytä suurempi kartta

Hutoushan Park covers approximately 15 hectars of park-like forest and dozens of walking paths. The park is carefully maintained by the Taoyuan County Scenic Area Administration. Maintenance is very important since thousands of people have a walk there every morning and on holidays much more.

Talking with a gentleman that keep Hutoushan Park beautiful. I promised to send this photo to him, but lost (temporarily) his business card. I put it here even though it is out of focus.

In summertime most of the people go up to the mountain early in the morning, at 5 or 5:30, because it is not too hot yet. On the other hand I have discovered, that it is very pleasant at any time of day since the temperature is few degrees lower on the top of the hill and usually there is more wind than in the valley. The view is the best just before sunset.

View from Hutoushan towards Gueishan Township

Behind the Hutoushan Park, there are several other hills with many hiking and mountain biking paths.
If you are lucky, in certain spots you may see Taipei 101, one of the highest buildings in the world. The distance is around 20 km.

Taipei 101 seen from Hutoushan. From the middle to the left.

Hutoushan's highest point is in 251 meters from the sea level. It is possible to see the sea, Taiwan strait from Hutoushan, but you need to know exactly where. I found this only when I was walking there just before sunset. The setting sun makes a golden strip on the sea in the distance of more than 15 km.

The sea view from Hutoushan

More on Taoyuan City and especially Hutoushan, Tiger Head Mountain, in the coming articles. This was only an introduction. In the coming articles we learn about what people and animals do on Hutoushan, and we see some of the main points of interest, like Taoyuan Confucius Temple, Taoyuan Martyrs Shrine, Sansheng Temple and much more.