Elephant Mountain Trail Taipei - TWTC 101
Stunning view regardless of the season. However, the TWTC is busy almost year-round. Don't miss the view to the World Trade Center 101 from the Elephant Mountain Hill which is less crowded and for free. Regarding the weather, December to March are the best months to come here. Read on for our detailed 'when to go' insider tips:
Time of Day / Opening Hours
Elephant Mountain – Skyline View: Most impressive and perfect for a good shot in the early morning or early evening. In the afternoon the sky is often not clear. The trail is well-lighted in the evening.
Taipei World Trade Center 101: The outdoor observatory opens if weather permits, check the large billboard above the ticket counter before you purchase the tickets. Opening hours from 9 a.m. to 9.30 p.m.
How to Avoid Crowds on the Elephant Mountain and the Top of TWTC
Elephant Mountain is a popular place, and the view is for free the reason that it is always a bit crowded. Anyhow, the view of the skyline is spectacular and a must when visiting Taipei. Even in the rain people walk uphill for this incredible experience as we did. For Chinese New Year's (usually late January or early February) fireworks people even come here a day before to occupy a good spot. Our tips to avoid the crowds at almost any time for the top of the TWTC 101 and the Elephant Mountain:
- Get there early to avoid the crowds. It’s very popular for the sunset and the city lighting.
- Avoid visiting on a weekend which already starts on Friday at midday.
- If the weather is fine, it’s more crowded.
June is also a favorite month due to the Computex; the biggest IT Show in Asia.
The iconic landmark may be one of the top attractions apart from museums and temples in Taipei. During our visit on a Friday, there were already too many people queuing; one hour waiting to get up and one hour to get down. We decided to see the skyline including the enormous 101 Tower from above and walked to Elephant Mountain.
From April until October temps can be unpleasant hot with high humidity at daytime. In summer day temps are around 30°C and in winter (Dec. to Feb.) around 20°C while nights are cold with less than 10°C. Most precipitation from May to September but a dry season does not exist. The driest months are November to January with rainfall on average less than 100 mm.
Avoid the summer months and Chinese New Year when prices are on the highest level, accommodations are often fully booked, and many places are overrun. Same in June when the Computex takes place.
Taipei is the capital city of Taiwan with an estimated population of almost three million people. Choosing the perfect location for a visit to Taipei is important. For example, if you stay close to the airport, you may need a minimum of 1 1/2 hour with public transport to get just to the Xiangshan metro station red line. You may also like to visit the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Therefore, it makes sense to stay in the city center close to these attractions. We recommend the Dandy Hotel-Daan Park Branch with an excellent location. Breakfast is provided, and there are many outstanding restaurants within walking distance.
It took several years to build 101, and it was finished in 2004. The tower is 509 meters / 1.670 feet high and was the world’s tallest building until 2010. The iconic landmark is easy to reach by the MRT red metro line second last exit Taipei 101 World Trade Center and Elephant Mountain is the last exit Xiangshan.
The ticket counter is located on the 5th floor and the food court with an ample variety in the basement. The entrance fee is quite high but may be worth for the experience and the damper. A high-speed elevator brings you up to the 89th floor the indoor observatory deck in less than 40 seconds. The outdoor observatory is on the 91st floor and opens when weather permits. Most impressive is the heavy damper ball which keeps the stability of the tower and to counterbalance a typhoon or an earthquake.
How to Get to Elephant Mountain
The Elephant Mountain Trail also called Xiangshan Trail is in our opinion the best way to enjoy the city skyline at day- and night-time. It’s 20 minutes walk from 101 to the trailhead or take the metro last station Xiangshan on the MRT Red Line. From the station, it’s 15 minutes walk to the trailhead and another 20 minutes for the steep climb.
Leave the MRT station at exit two and walk through or along the park. Watch for the signs “Xiangshan Trail”. After the park, you get to the road Lane 150 here turn left. From now on the trail leads all the way uphill with lots of stairs for about 20 minutes. First, you get to a viewing platform then to the huge rocks and further up to a large observation deck. Mostly they are packed with tourists; wait for a little to get an excellent spot. Several people are queuing to climb to the top of a rock for a perfect shot with the skyline in the back. On rainy days the trail can be slippery in some parts.
It is worth the effort to climb up the stairs to an elevation of 183 meters. You get rewarded with a spectacular view even on a rainy evening.
Tip: Bring enough water and a snack you can’t buy anything nearby.