Pingxi is a small village situated less than an hour from Taipei. It´s famous for producing massive paper lanterns that once a year, during the Sky Lantern Festival, get sent to the sky with wishes written on them. Unfortunately we missed that one by many months. And we arrived in Pingxi for a different reason… The nearby mountains. Three mountains to be exact. It might sound like a lot in a day but those are actually not that challenging and the views are more than rewarding.
How to get there?
The trails to all the 3 mountains meet at the same spot that you can see on our map below. To get there from Taipei there are quite few options. You can either take a train to the Rueifang train station and then switch to the Pingxi Rail line that will take you to Pingxi Station or take a direct bus from Muzha Zoo. Unfortunately both options won’t get you there before the sunrise and they both take at least 2hrs. So we decided to take an UBER, which was the best choice for us. It only cost 900 Taiwanese dollars (around 27 euro) and it took just 40 minutes.
Why so early?
We really wanted to be there very early to see the sunrise which was just epic, with clouds and fog. We also wanted to skip the heat of mid-day. Even when we started, before 5 am, it was very warm but at 6.30 the sun was already unbearable. As soon as we started walking I was really happy that we didn't have to share the spot with other people. It was not only soothingly peaceful but also safer. I can’t imagine how it could be crowded on those narrow stone stairs or worse… on the ladder.
Early start gave us an option of combining two trips in one and go to nearby waterfalls.
Xiaozi Mountain (Filial Son Mountain)
The lowest of them all and a perfect spot for a sunrise. Hiking from the beginning of the trail to the top took us around 20 minutes. The views were just insane with fog and clouds tight densely around the mountains. From there we could see the other two peaks in their full glory and also the stairs from hell that would take us to the second peak.
The only small detail about Xiaozi peak is that it requires cold blood. It’s a straight forward walk on the stairs that are pretty exposed and as a last part of the hike you need to climb a ladder that is even more exposed. Good news is that there are super steady ropes to hold on both sides. I’m really, really scared of heights and I managed to do it... Nearly got a heart attack though 🙂
The top of the mountain is pretty tiny and surrounded with a metal railing. I honestly can’t imagine that more than 5 people could fit there… Unless we are talking Asian size people, than maybe 10 would fit. I was extremely glad we were there just the 2 of us.