Driving up Elephant Mountain is only easy if you know how

Of course, the best way to climb Elephant Mountain and enjoy the famous postcard view of Taipei 101 is hiking there. But maybe you need to carry heavy camera equipment, or want to take visitors up there by scooter or car? If time and convenience are of the essence, this is how to drive there.

Elephant Mountain Taipei 101

So just get on your scooter, start your car, and follow these instructions.

Get to Fengtian Temple (奉天宮)

There is only one road leading up the hillside in the direction you want to go, and it’s not a big one.

  • First you need to get on Xinyi Rd. (信義路). That’s the big east-west artery passing by Taipei 101.
  • Go east, leave Taipei 101 behind and go on for another two kilometers or so.
  • Xinyi Rd. will change its name: It’s now Fude St. (福德街). Go on.
  • Shortly after passing a police station on your left, you will reach a crossroads where Dadao Rd. and Zhongpo S. Rd. meet Fude St. You need to stay on Fude St. here, but technically that means you have to turn right, or you will end up on Zhongpo S. Rd.

    Taipei, Fude St. towards Fengtian Temple

  • After about 50 meters, the second alley on the right is Fude St. Alley 221. If you are hungry, there’s a great Vietnamese restaurant across the alley and two doors on the right. But you probably want to turn right here, in the direction of Fengtian Temple.

    Taipei Fude St. Lane 221

    Fude St. Lane 221

Congratulations, you completed the first part of your trip. It’s all uphill from now on!

Drive the road up Elephant Mountain

Driving along Lane 221, you will pass by the entrance to the Fengtian Temple compound. Fengtian Temple is pretty impressive with load of ornate wood carvings, so if you feel like visiting a Taoist temple, do it.

Next, you will pass a collection of dingy huts and shops, and soon the road will begin to climb uphill. From here on, you basically have to make sure to stay on the main road, keeping uphill rather than downhill and right rather than left. There are a few streets branching off, mostly towards temples, and one fork in the road where it’s important to turn right, not of left. Your direction is Elephant Mountain (Xiangshan, 象山) and Beixingbao Temple (北星寶宮).

The road will lead you up and down and up again, and it gets pretty narrow at some points, but don’t let that distract you. Go on. You will pass a few spots with nice views on the way, but your goal ist the parking lot in front of Beixingbao Temple. You will notice you are there because the road just ends here.

Leave your car or scooter here, don’t block anyone else, and if you want to leave after sunset, make sure you can leave quickly without having to reverse your car, as it might get crowded here.

Beixingbao Temple

Walk the last fews steps to the peak

There is no view yet, but rest assured, you are almost there! You just need to walk for about ten more minutes.

Path to the top of Elephant Mountain

The most direct way is a path that begins on the far end of the temple parking lot next to a mini-shrine. This path leads through the forest more or less directly to the peak. But only take this path if it hasn’t rained recently! Since it has only been constructed recently and turns into a steep dirt path soon, you absolutely cannot walk this way when the ground is slippery.

In this case, or if you generally prefer nice and orderly pavement, take the path that begins just before the entrance to the temple parking lot, turn right at the top of the first set of steps, then go on.

Both paths will lead you to the peak of Elephant Mountain. There’s a number of spots with a nice view, with several pavillons and public toilets. There’s even kind of a gym up here.

Gym on Elephant Mountain

The most famous view however, the one you’ve seen countless times, is so popular that in order to set up your camera for the sunset, you should plan on arriving at least an hour early, as spaces fill up quickly.

Taipei 101 Photographers on Elephant Mountain

Enjoy the view of Taipei 101

Go on, snap away with all the cameras you’ve got.

Taipei 101 Panorama Elephant Mountain Sunset

This is the map with the route I just described (pink: driving, green: walking).

Elephant Mountain Map Taipei 101 by car

All of this might sound mighty convenient, but you should really only drive up there if you have a good reason not to walk. Jamming that little mountain road needlessly is a bad idea, and the experience of hiking up Elephant Mountain on your own two feet is just so much better. It’s really easy and not too steep.

Starting out from Taipei 101 / MRT Xiangshan, you might even be up there faster if you simply take the stairs beginning near the southern end of Zhongqiang Park (marked blue on the map, signs in the MRT station) than if you drive.

And one more thing: Please, take your trash back with you. The Gods will punish you for littering.

About me

I am a German reporter living and working in Taiwan. Read more English posts on this otherwise mostly German blog. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Vine, and Google Plus.

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