I’ve recently moved to Banqiao, so I look for something fun just to the south of Taipei for my next hike. I select 五寮尖 Wuliaojian like most other destinations, that is open an online map, look for something that looks like a peak, check the photos, read some reviews and then go.
This one is a treat! After a late night, I almost want to skip it but finally get myself to the convenience store to grab a 6 am coffee and make my way to the bus stop (910 or 932 from Banqiao Night Market to Sanxia). Unfortunately, my connecting bus doesn’t run on the schedule my app suggests, so not to waste too much time, I take a ride-share and reach the trailhead around 7:30 am.
The trail starts, like many in Taiwan, with a set of steep stairs. Soon the terrain gets more interesting, though, and ropes and a few ladders are assisting you across boulders and further up the mountain. After a while, you’ll reach the trail’s landmark section, a narrow ridge with gorgeous views on the forest below and the hills beyond. While I feel reasonably comfortable being exposed to steep drops, I’m still amazed at how casual and with which ease the local hikers make their way around the ridge. Hikers in their fifties and sixties make it seem as if it’s nothing more than a casual walk in the park.
From the top, you abseil down on a rope, feet pressing against the rock at about a 45-degree angle. It’s a bit daunting at first, but once you figure out the right technique, it becomes pretty enjoyable. The trick is to lean back, relax your arms and “casually” walk down.
I then climb up to the peak on the opposite side before completing the loop back to the trailhead and bus stop. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had so much fun during a hike. It’s physically challenging (but not too bad), somewhat exposed in parts (but never sketchy), you need to use your arms a lot (full-body exercise), and the weather is great (I’m still surprised how friendly and warm November can be in Taiwan). Overall, it’s a pleasant morning hike that checks all my boxes. Now, I need to get a car or a scooter, or use my bicycle to come back more often!