I spend my first two weeks in Taipei living in a condo in Xindian (right on top of the MRT station), so 銀河洞 (literally, Milky Way Cave) is a natural choice for a first hike.
After a short bus ride from Xindian MRT (multiple lines serve Yinhedong), I reach this old Buddhist temple built inside a cave behind a waterfall in as little as half an hour. After enjoying the views and taking a few photos, I hike to the top of Dailaokeng and Ejiaoge mountain. Finally, I make my way to the Maokong cable car. Note that the service doesn’t run on Mondays and is also closed for maintenance once a year. There are two queues, one for regular and the other for the more exciting “crystal” cabins. The latter has a transparent floor, making for a more thrilling journey as the gondola passes above the trees down to Taipei Zoo MRT station.