28 Jun Day Trip to Yehliu Geopark from Taipei, Taiwan
As we stood on the shore amongst rocky figures that were taller than us, we couldn’t help but feel like we were on another planet. Taiwan’s Yehliu Geopark is located only an hour from Taipei, but it sure felt like we were worlds away. Over the years, wind and waves have carved wondrous rock formations across a thin strip of land that juts out into the East China Sea. And even though the clouds were thick and the skies were rainy, taking a day trip to Yehliu Geopark was a great experience.
Contrary to what we have always imagined, Taiwan is filled with countless scenes of natural beauty. The more I researched this small island nation, the more of its nature I wanted to explore. During our visit to Taiwan, we based ourselves in Taipei with the intention of taking several day trips to natural sights nearby. Well, unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side and we fought cloudy, rainy days throughout the majority of our trip. We didn’t manage to squeeze in many day trips as we had hoped because of the weather. Instead, we ended up focusing our exploration in the city. One of the few exceptions to this was our day trip to Yehliu Geopark. We also made our way to the Beitou area for hot springs and the Maokong area for tea and a glass bottom gondola ride.
When we decided to venture to Yehliu Geopark, we read that we would likely encounter giant crowds of people. Because of our aversion to crowds, we decided against taking a guided tour to the site. We figured we might find a little bit of solace if we were able to explore on our own. Thankfully, we were right. Throughout our visit, we noticed giant swarms of people come and go coinciding with tour bus schedules. There were several moments of peacefulness between the arrival of each bus and accompanying wave of visitors, and for that we were truly grateful.
To get to Yehliu Geopark, we hopped on the 1815/1815A bus which dropped us off just a short walk away from the park. It took us around 90 minutes to get to the park from Terminal A at the Taipei West Bus Station, which is located at Taipei Main Station. The bus was comfortable, convenient, and affordable. When we bought our bus tickets, they cost a little less than $10 roundtrip per person.
We disembarked the bus at Yeliu Station, and the park was roughly a five-minute walk from the bus stop. Along the way, we passed elaborate temples, ships, seafood shops, and gift shops. Once we reached the park, we were welcomed with an entrance gate where we could purchase tickets.
When we entered through the admission gate, we were amazed at the strange sight in front of us. The smooth ground created a stark contrast with the mushroom-like rocks popping up all over the landscape. Wandering around gave us a close up look at the evolution and erosion of the rocks. Some of the different kinds of rocks that can be found in the park are mushroom rocks, candle rocks, honeycombed rocks, potholes, sea-eroded caves, and fossils.
Most of the rocks in the park are called “hoodoo rocks.” These types of rocks can be found throughout the world (think the Badlands in South Dakota), but the rocks at Yehliu Geopark are some of the few in the world to be found near the sea. There is one other main difference between most hoodoo rocks and the ones found at Yehliu Geopark. Most typical hoodoo rocks are formed when softer rock gets eroded underneath the harder rock above, whereas the Yehliu Geopark rocks are made up of the same type of rock throughout. The erosion here happened strictly from constant exposure of the sea and wind.
There are many iconic rock formations throughout the park, many of which have been given a nickname. Some of these names are Ice Cream Rock, Fairy’s Shoe, Gorilla Rock, Candle Rock, and Marine Bird Rock, to name a few. Many of these formations had long lines for photo opportunities, most of them too long for us to consider waiting.
One of the rock formations with the longest line was the Queen’s Head, as it is the most popular rock in the park. It really was a fascinating rock to see, but we were happy with a view from the side. The “neck” of this rock is quite thin compared to the “head” on the top. It’s amazing that it is still standing, especially with a crack at the base, and it provides a great reminder to not touch the rocks in the park. Hopefully the Queen’s Head stays put for many years to come.
It seemed as though most visitors stuck to taking photos of the more popular rock formations, and any time you ventured a bit farther away, the crowds dispersed. We enjoyed checking out some of the less famous rocks just as much as the famous ones.
We enjoyed exploring all of the quirky rock formations throughout the park. Witnessing the power of nature is always fascinating. I do have to say though, my favorite part of the trip was the hike we took on the trail that looped around to the end of the 1,700-meter-long cape.
This trail wound along the shoreline and we climbed several sets of stairs along the way. As I mentioned before, the weather during our trip wasn’t the best. Well, during the hike, we were practically blown away by the wind! It was intense! But it also meant that we were some of the only people out on the trail, which was a welcome break from the tour bus crowds.
We absolutely loved the wide variety of landscape that we found on this small cape. From rocks, to hills, to lush forests filled with birds, we found plenty to keep us entertained for the afternoon. Taking a day trip to Yehliu Geopark is a great way to escape the busy city for a dose of nature, and we had a wonderful time!
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