Although Kaohsiung City isn’t anywhere near to the central mountain ranges, the city do have some pretty decent hiking trails that can be accessed easily. Instead of being surrounded by modern structures all day long, get in touch with the nature and go for some adventures. There are 4 mountains that you can consider, namely Banpingshan (半屏山), Gueishan (龜山), Shoushan (壽山) and lastly Qihoushan (旗后山). These 4 mountains are all part of Shoushan National Nature Park. Each mountain is special in their own ways and each provides a different perspective overlooking the city. I’ve summarized the essentials that you need to know about the mentioned mountains. Happy reading~!
Banpingshan is one of the easiest to reach because it’s conveniently located at the back of Zuoying HSR station. There are quite a few entrances that you can start your journey from. 1 of which is from Banping Lake and the other 2 can be found at the other side. Refer to the image below!
The mountain offers a lot of trails that visitors can choose from. The the difficulty of these trails ranges from casual trekking to hardcore hiking. You can expect to walk through rocky terrains and muddy grounds. This is not a difficult mountain to hike because firstly, it’s not a tall mountain and secondly, there isn’t any steep elevation (if you keep to the ‘Main route’).
Though the view isn’t that rewarding at the peak, there are various viewpoints along the route that offers view over the Lotus lake, so it’s not that bad after all! This mountain is also relatively quiet and peaceful with less visitors.
If you’re pressed for time but still wanna do some light trekking, consider walking up Gueishan. This small mountain stands right next to the Lotus Lake, therefore providing an awesome views over the lake at various points.
There are 3 trail heads that that leads up to the mountain, but most visitors take the entrance nearest to the Lotus Lake.
It’s a quite short but fulfilling hike. You’ll see abandoned military shelters and facilities along the routes because this mountain was used to house a military fortress during the Japanese Occupation.
Shoushan, also known as Chaishan (柴山), is much more populated as compared to Banpingshan. There are 3 trails that the locals usually take to get up the mountain. The trails are interlinked so it’s easy get from one trail to another. The entrance of the southern-most trail can be found beside Shoushan Zoo,
and the other 2 starts from behind Kaohsiung Municipal Ku Shan Senior High School
and beside Longquan Temple respectively.
Here’s a map of the entire mountain with markings of the various recommended routes.
The routes are actually not too difficult to walk up. There’s much more to see and your hiking trip will be accompanied by harmless monkeys from point to point.
What’s really distinct about this mountain is the welfare at the various rest points. There’s free tea and water dispenser to fill-up your bottles at these rest points. I’ve come to know that these welfare are actually provided by fellow hikers for hikers. HOW COOL IS THAT!
There isn’t exactly a trekking route up this mountain. The highest point you can get to is either the Qihou Lighthouse or the Qihou Fort. Both spots offer amazing view over the city. The view up on the fort is particularly pretty for its view over the beach. This hill is probably the easiest to ‘conquer’ as compared to the other 3 mountains. But before you can get to this mountain, you need to board a ferry and get over to Cijin Island first. I’ve written a post on Cijin Island, click here if you’re interested to know more!
Just before you embark on your journey up these short mountains, here are some points that you should really take note of:
- DO NOT bring any food items up the mountain (especially Shoushan) if you don’t want to be attacked by wild animals. It’s also against the national park’s regulations to feed them.
- DO NOT wander off the main tracks if you’re trekking alone. It’s dangerous because these routes are often less populated. So if you met with an accident or that you lost your way in the wild, there won’t be anyone to help you out.
- WEAR proper and comfortable footwear.
- BRING sufficient drinking water
- BRING along communication devices in case you got really lost in the wild
- LEAVE nothing but footprints, TAKE nothing but memories 🙂
That’s all that I have to say for now. Be safe and enjoy your journey up these mountains~!
(Date visited: Sep/Oct 2016)