Taipei, Taiwan, April 2016. Normally I don;t go for temples especially but as this one is at the end of a long uphill hike it’ll be a good place to rest a bit and of course explore. Zhinan Temple sits high above the city with some potentially breathtaking panoramic views – today, like every day in Taipei, there is a mist a haze layer obscuring any chance of a good city view, but there is a faint skyline visible. The place is also on the Maokong Gondola line and so a little bit touristy, but its not crowded, very quiet and calm actually, as temples should be of course. Oh, and there’s a local old timer dishing out free tea – its that wishy washy fragrant type of tea, but palatable and welcome after this long hike up.
Keen hikers can continue through the temple and join a small road to Maokong village. There one can join the hoards of tourists where supposedly there are tea plantations and tea processing factories. It looks a long way from here so today I happy to just take the bus back down into Taipei. And the good thing about buses around here is they will connect with an MRT sooner or later.The first one from Zhinan is at the Wanfang Hospital.
On a week day taking the Maokong Gondola might be quite a nice experience skimming across the top of a jungle. Panoramic views of the city however are unlikely given the persistent mist and haze hanging around.Price is T$120, £5.25 to Maokong and back. Its possible to pay one way and hike back of course or pay to go just as far as the temple and hike over to Maokong and then get a bus back down to Taipei, plenty of options available and the bus is cheap, about T$15-20.