How to Get to Yangmingshan (with sample itineraries)

A woman shot behind wearing a jean jacket, skirt, and round straw hat, while she looks at a view of steam coming out of the ground, with a curving road to the left and trees to right

In my Yangmingshan National Park guide, I cover the top sights in the park in great detail. But the transportation information ended up being so complicated that I’ve created this separate post for it.

Below, I’ll introduce the main options for going from Taipei to Yangmingshan, including by tour, private driver, self-driving, or by public transportation (bus).

Figuring out the many buses and their different routes can be overwhelming, so I’m also going to include several sample Yangmingshan itineraries for driving or taking the bus.

I’d also like to mention that GoogleMaps works quite well here. So sometimes the easiest thing to do is just let GoogleMaps directions guide you from point to point instead of trying to figure it all out before you go.

Option 1: Yangmingshan Tour

A steaming hot spring with visitors standing on a walkway on the side
Start your tour at Thermal Valley in Beitou

The easiest solution here is to simply join a Yangmingshan full day tour.

The most popular tour is this Yangmingshan & Beitou day tour on Klook. This tour starts in Beitou, where you’ll visit Beitou Public Library, Beitou Hot Spring Museum, and Thermal Valley. See my Beitou guide for more info.

Don’t choose Monday, when these places are closed. Also note: bathing in hot springs is not included.

A large clock formed out of flowers with trees and mountains behind
Flower Clock

The tour then hits the top highlights in Yangmingshan: Flower Clock, Zhuzihu for lunch (if you’re visiting March to April you can also see calla lilies there or May to June you can see hydrangeas).

Then you’ll visit the three best areas in Yangmingshan: Xiaoyoukeng, Qingtiangang, and Lengshuikeng. Finally, you can get dropped off at Shilin Night Market.

A viewing platform with no one on it and a steaming volcano beyond
Get up close and personal with a volcano at Xiaoyoukeng

Overall, this tour is a great option that covers all the top spots in Beitou and Yangmingshan.

It’s too bad you don’t get to bathe in hot springs, but if you really want to do that, you can ride from Shilin to Xinbeitou MRT and do it yourself at the end.

Another tour option is this Beitou, Yangmingshan, and Yehliu tour. It’s a little more rushed, but it manages to squeeze in Yehliu Geopark, and then finishes at Keelung Night Market, which is one of the best night markets in Taiwan.

This tour is new, so it’s not too popular yet – keep in mind it will only run if they meet the minimum number of participants.

Option 2: Private Driver

A man driving a car, shot from behind inside the car, so we see the side of his head, hands on the steering wheel, and blurred street scene out the front window
Let a local drive you around

Another very easy and stress-free option for getting to Yangmingshan is to hire a private driver for the day.

With a price starting at TWD 3500 for 6 hours (it goes up if you want English speaking driver or larger vehicle), this is a relatively affordable way to enjoy full flexibility on your Yangmingshan visit.

If you don’t want to do any planning, you can simply trust the driver’s route and stops. Note that Beitou won’t be included unless you ask.

If you prefer to choose your own stops, then you can customize your trip. But then you’ll need to do some research and planning to make sure it can fit in the time frame allotted.

Option 3: Self Driving

A curving narrow road on the right, with blowing grass in the foreground and view looking down to plains far below
A winding mountain road in Yangmingshan

It is relatively easy to visit Yangmingshan by car or even scooter. You’ll need an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) issued from your country of residence (don’t trust online ones). Read my tips for renting and driving a car in Taiwan. I recommend renting one here.

To rent a scooter in Taiwan, you’ll also need the IDP. In addition, some rental shops will require that your IDP has an A stamp (indicating that you are licensed to drive motorcycles in your home country).

Scooter rental shops in Taipei are limited, but I rented a scooter here when I drove up to Yangmingshan.

Cherry blossoms in the foreground with a circular temple in the background
Cherry blossoms at Wuji Tianyuan Temple on the back side of Yangmingshan

The roads in Yangmingshan National Park are winding in parts, but not as bad as other taller mountain areas in Taiwan like Taipingshan, Hehuanshan, or Alishan.

Since you’ve got a car, after your Yangmingshan tour, consider driving down the back side of Yangmingshan. You can head west to Wuji Tianyuan Temple (famous for cherry blossoms) in Tamsui or the more remote Fufudingshan Coral and Shell Temple and finish on the north coast.

Another option is to drive east and spend the night at Yangmingshan Tien-Lai Hot Spring Resort (see on Booking / Agoda) or continue on to Yehliu Geopark and Keelung Night Market.

Self Driving Itineraries

A historic Chinese style building with white walls, turquoise roof, and forested hills behind
Zhongshan Hall is best visited with your own car

You could spend a half day or even full day driving around Yangmingshan. This will totally depend on how much you want to see and do there, including possible hikes.

All the main stops at Yangmingshan (Flower Clock, Lengshuikeng, Xiaoyoukeng, and Qingtiangang) have large parking lots. Swipe an EasyCard to enter and pay for them. On weekends, holidays, and flower seasons, they are often full, so you may need to wait in a line of cars just to park.

All the places below are described in much more detail in my Yangmingshan travel guide.

Half-day itinerary

A high mountain grassy plateau with blue sky and clouds above
Beautiful Qingtiangang

Drive from Taipei to Qingtiangang (do the 45-minute walking loop there), Lengshuikeng (soak feet at the hot springs and see Milk Pond & Jingshan Suspension Bridge beside the Visitor’s Center).

Continue on to Xiaoyoukeng (see the volcanic fumaroles), Zhuzihu (in flower season or for lunch only). Finally, visit Flower Clock before driving back to Beitou or central Taipei.

Full-day itinerary

A trail winding through a forest of bamboo
Bamboo garden at Cama Cafe on the drive up to Yangmingshan

Stop at Starbucks Caoshan or Cama Coffee Roasters for coffee on the drive up. Another optional stop is Zhongshan Hall (you can only visit at designated times – see my Yangmingshan guide for details).

Continue to Qingtiangang (do the 45-minute walking loop there), Lengshuikeng (soak feet at the hot springs and see Milk Pond & Jingshan Suspension Bridge beside the Visitor’s Center).

Next, drive to Xiaoyoukeng (see the volcanic fumaroles and hike to the peak of Qixingshan – 2 hours return), Zhuzihu (flower season or for lunch only), and Flower Clock. Next, drive down to Sulfur Valley Recreation Area.

Finish at Beitou, where you can visit Thermal Valley (closes at 5 PM, closed Mondays) and take a hot spring bath at Spring City Resort or Beitou Public Hot Spring.

Alternatively, finish your day by driving from Flower Clock to Tianyuan Temple and Tamsui or to Tien-Lai Hot Spring Resort, Jinshan, Yehliu, and/or Keelung (make sure to check driving times!)

Option 4: Public Transportation (bus)

A Taiwanese mother and two kids, who are wearing green and pink rain jackets, dipping their feet into a covered hot spring
My wife and kids soaking our feet at Lengshuikeng before taking the bus back to Taipei

Now we come to the most complicated (but of course cheapest) option: going from Taipei to Yangmingshan by bus.

You can take buses to Yangmingshan from Taipei Main Station, Jiantan, Shilin, Shipai, or Xinbeitou MRT Stations (Beitou Hot Springs area).

Some buses will terminate at Yangmingshan Bus Terminal, which is a small transportation hub in Yangmingshan Village, just inside the national park. There are a few things to see around the village, or you can immediately transfer to a different bus for reaching the more interesting places deeper inside the park.

Meanwhile, other buses go all the way from Taipei to popular destinations in the park like Lengshuikeng, Qingtiangang, Xiaoyoukeng, and Flower Clock.

If you follow the bus itineraries I’ll provide below, most of them avoid transferring at Yangmingshan Bus Terminal.

Bus Numbers and Routes

Here’s a table showing the most useful buses from Taipei to Yangmingshan National Park. You can swipe your EasyCard for all these buses. S or 小 (small) refers to a minibus.

Buses from Taipei Main Station, Jiantan, and Shilin will travel up Highway 2甲 to the national park. The bus from Shipai goes up Shipai and Xingyi roads. The bus from Beitou goes up Quanyuan road.

Click the Chinese bus stop names to find their locations on GoogleMaps.

Bus No. Starting pointMajor stops
260Taipei Main Station (臺北車站鄭州)– Chinese Culture University (文化大學)
– Yangmingshan Bus Terminal (陽明山總站)
– Only a few of the 260 buses (6 per day) continue to Flower Clock (花鐘)
R5Jiantan and Shilin MRT (get on at Jiantan for better chance of seat)– Chinese Culture University (文化大學)
– Yangmingshan Bus Terminal (陽明山總站)
S15 (小15)Jiantan and Shilin MRT– Chinese Culture University (文化大學)
– Lengshuikeng (冷水坑服務站)
– Qingtiangang (擎天崗)
1717Jiantan and Shilin MRT– Chinese Culture University (文化大學)
– Yangmingshan Bus Terminal (陽明山總站)
– Yangmingshan Visitor’s Center (陽明山國家公園管理處)
– Xiaoyoukeng (小油坑)
– Dayoukeng (大油坑)
– Tien-lai Resort (陽明山天籟溫泉會館)
– Jinshan (金山郵局)
S8 (小8)Shipai MRT– Xingyi Road Hot Springs (行義路三)
– Flower Clock (大坑廟 or 湖山路二段)
– Yangmingshan Bus Terminal (陽明山總站)
– Zhuzihu (竹子湖)
S9 (小9)Beitou MRT or Xinbeitou MRT (北投公園) in Beitou Hot Spring area– Sulphur Valley (彌陀寺)
– Flower Clock (大坑廟 or 湖山路二段)
– Yangmingshan Bus Terminal (陽明山總站)
– Zhuzihu (竹子湖)
108Yangmingshan Bus Terminal (陽明山總站). Note: goes in a one-way loop.– Yangmingshan Visitor’s Center (陽明山國家公園管理處)
– Zhuzihu Police Station (竹子湖派出所)
– Erziping (二子坪)
– Xiaoyoukeng (小油坑)
– Lengshuikeng (冷水坑服務站)
– Qingtiangang (擎天崗)
– Back to Yangmingshan Visitor’s Center

Looking over the above table, I understand if you feel overwhelmed. Let’s make this simpler with a few Yangmingshan itinerary examples I’ve designed.

Bus Itineraries

There are many ways you could plan your Yangmingshan sightseeing bus route. Here I’m going to give you some simple and easy-to-follow itineraries, but of course you can modify these to meet your interests.

Half-Day Easy Hiking

A high mountain plateau with boardwalk trail around it
The easy Qingtiangang Loop Trail

Let’s say you want to do a bit of walking and see the best of Yangmingshan in only half a day.

Ride bus 1717 from Jiantan or Shilin MRT to Xiaoyoukeng to see the volcanic fumaroles. Then take bus 108 from Xiaoyoukeng to Qingtiangang. Walk the Qingtiangang Loop Trail (45 minutes). Then ride bus S15 from there back to Jiantan or Shilin MRT.

Half-Day Difficult Hiking

A crowd of Taiwanese hikers on a mountain summit surrounded by fog
Peak of Qixingshan, the highest mountain in Yangmingshan

Ride bus 1717 from Jiantan MRT to Xiaoyoukeng and see the volcanic fumaroles. Then hike to the peak of Qixingshan and down the other side to Lengshuikeng (2-3 hours total).

Soak your feet in Lengshuikeng hot spring then ride bus S15 from Lengshuikeng to Taipei (Shilin or Jiantan MRT).

Half-Day Flower Tour

A sea of white calla lilies with a swing in the middle of them and stone path on the right
Calla lilies at Zhuzihu

If you’re visiting in flower season (spring), then here is a half-day tour focused on seeing flowers. Beware of weekend crowds!

Ride bus S18 from Shipai MRT to Flower Clock (note the bus stop names in my table above). The best time for cherry blossoms is mid-February to early-March, but you can see other flowers year-round.

Then ride bus S8 or S9 from Flower Clock to Zhuzihu for seeing calla lilies or hydrangeas. Calla lilies grow from January to April, but peak season is mid-March to mid-April. Hydrangeas grow there from mid-May to mid-June.

Return to Taipei on S8 (Shipai MRT) or S9 (Beitou).

For optional add-ons, walk from Flower Clock to this secret cherry blossom spot. Then walk down to Qianshan Park (20 minutes) to see more cherry blossoms or fall foliage (depending on the season).

Full-Day Easy Sightseeing Tour

Green moss-covered stone stairs to the right and a small waterfall to the left
Small waterfall near Flower Clock

Let’s say you want to spend a full day touring the main sights of Yangmingshan by bus. This is essentially what you could accomplish in a half day by car, but it will take you a full day by bus. You might need to pack a lunch.

Ride bus 1717 from Jiantan or Shilin MRT to to Xiaoyoukeng to see the volcanic fumaroles. Then take bus 108 from Xiaoyoukeng to Qingtiangang. Walk the Qingtiangang Loop Trail (45 minutes).

Take bus 108 from Qingtiangang to Yangmingshan Bus Terminal.If you have the time / interest, visit Qianshan Park (cherry blossoms or fall foliage in season) or Zhongshan Hall (if you can meet one of the designated entry times).

Alternatively, walk (20 min) or take bus 206, S8, or S9 from Yangmingshan Bus Terminal to Flower Clock to see the flowers there. Finally, ride bus S8 to Shipai MRT and ride MRT to Jiantan for Shilin Night Market, or S9 to finish at Beitou for hot springs.

Full-Day with Serious Hiking

Some Taiwanese hikers standing on a stone trail on the right, with a yellow volcanic fumarole on the left just beside them
Volcanic activity on the Qixingshan trail

Are you a serious hiker looking for a full day of hiking at Yangmingshan? Here’s the ultimate itinerary that takes in several of the best hikes in the national park. I suggest you pack a lunch because there won’t be anywhere to buy food.

Take bus 1717 from Jiantan MRT to Xiaoyoukeng. See the fumaroles then hike to the peak Qixingshan then down the other side to Lengshuikeng (2-3 hours).

Soak your feet in the hot springs at Lengshuikeng hot spring then cross Jingshan Suspension Bridge and hike (30 min) to Qingtiangang.

Hiking trail through tall grass
Hiking in Yangmingshan

While doing the easy Qingtiangang Loop Trail (45 minutes) in a clockwise direction, consider adding a side-hike on Jinbaoli Historic Trail and/or the connecting Dayoukeng trail (about 1 hr, depending how far you go).

Return to the Qingtiangang Loop. Towards the end of it, connect to Juansi Waterfall trail and follow it downhill past the waterfall to the highway below (1 hr). Catch bus S15 from this bus stop back to Taipei (Shilin or Jiantan MRT).

You can find more details about every place I mentioned here in my Yangmingshan guide.

15 thoughts on “How to Get to Yangmingshan (with sample itineraries)”

  1. From your Half Day Easy Hiking itinerary, would I be able to see cherry blossoms if I am visiting between 27-29 Feb 2024?

  2. The cherry blossoms at YMS are mostly located at Flower Clock. So you will need to include Flower Clock in your itinerary. You can see the bus chart in this article for planning to how to include it. The cherry blossoms should be blooming at that time.

  3. Thanks for this, this is really helfpul!
    Is it possible to visit the bamboo forest + cafe if we’re just taking public transportation?

  4. You mean Cama cafe that I mentioned, right? Then yes, several buses going from Taipei to Yangmingshan will pass right by it. You can use GoogleMaps directions to find the best bus route from wherever you are in Taipei. Note: the bamboo forest at the cafe is very small, more like a garden with path through some bamboo stalks.

  5. Hi, thank you for the detailed guide.
    Does it make sense to go to flower clock from taipei, then xiaoyoukeng, qingtiangang, then back to taipei?

  6. Thanks so much for the detailed info on the various transportation options and itineraries. This is a huge help as we plan our trip to Taiwan.

  7. Sure, that makes sense! Please check the bus table I made in this article to find which buses will go directly between each spot.

  8. Hi Nick, thank you so much for the information and itinerary suggestions. It’s our first time in Taiwan and I am so glad to find your articles! Yesterday, my husband and I did the half day public transportation itinerary. We followed your suggestion starting at Qingtiangang to Lengshuikeng (foot hot spring was awesome!). The clockwise route was a great suggestion. That long flight of stairs at Lengshuikeng is better going down then up! We were enjoying the scenery walking down while meeting others going out of breath going up. lol. We wouldn’t have known if I didn’t come across your article. I have to leave you a comment to thank you for the great itinerary!

  9. Hi Nick. Now that Taroko is out of bound, I am considering doing this. Noted that you stated to take Bus 108 from Lengshuikeng to Xiaoyoukeng. But when I checked from Google map, bus 108 does not go direct and need to change to a 124 or 1717. The other way from Xioayoukeng to Lengshuikeng will work direct for bus 108. Am I checking it wrongly? Appreciate any clarifications. Thank you.

  10. Hi, I’m considering taking the #108 at the bus terminal and doing the loop without getting out of the bus. I’m only interested in getting an overview.
    Question: 1) will my objective be met considering the places it stop? 2) how does one pay the fares in order to do a complete loop?
    Regards

  11. For all buses, you just swipe when you get on and again when you get off, and the bus system will charge you accordingly. I feel if you only ride the bus, you’ll have some OK views but not great. It would be much better if you actually got off at one or more stops to experience them better.

  12. Hi Nick, I’m only interested in exploring Yangmingshen Park with half day flower tour (seeing Hydrangeas in May). Do we need to buy tickets to see them? Or is this public area to walk around in?
    If I start the morning at Yangmingshen, can I then continue to Jiufen in the afternoon? Because Jiufen I want to see the lanterns. Is there a transport that doesn’t have to return to Taipei to go to Jiufen?

  13. You can just walk around Zhuzihu area and see them for free. But some farms that have really nice displays are hoping to attract tourists may charge a small entrance fee, or they may sell bunches of the flowers to go. To get to Jiufen, you will have to go back to Taipei Main Station and then train to Ruifang from there.

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