Yehliu GeoPark (野柳地質公園) is a popular stop on the Taiwan tourist circuit. It’s an interesting set of geological formations found in a small park about 20 minutes north of Keelung, Taiwan. Truth be told, the entire length of eastern Taiwan is an interesting set of geological formations, but here you can find them all in one small area with a coffee and souvenir shop. If you’re only in Taiwan for a short time, or don’t have any transportation of your own, this it the place to go to be awed by Mother Nature’s artistic side.
Many people who have never been to Taiwan would probably be surprised to learn a little about its geology. I think many westerners merely have a vision of endless factories and crowded cities. While this may be true of many parts of the western part of the island, most of Taiwan is actually rugged mountains and often unbelievable geological formations. A day spent driving around Taiwan’s North Coast and Guanyinshan National Scenic Area or the Northeast Coast National Scenic Area will expose one to to sandy beaches, waterfalls, hot springs, crystal clear rivers and strange, other-worldly rock formations.
Visiting these areas is so easy, that they are my “go-to” weekend plan. If I don’t have anything else panned, and want to spend a few hours on my motorcycle, these are the places I often go. If you live in Taipei or are just visiting for a few days, hop on your scooter or rent a car for a day of beautiful natural scenery! (Public transportation options are listed below)
Yehliu GeoPark 野柳地質公園
As I said before, this park is a very popular one on the Taiwan tourist circuit. That means that it’s going to be packed with package tourists almost all the time. Still, there’s enough room for everyone to get a picture in front of their favorite rock that resembles something else (The official website goes into excruciating detail on all of them). And if you really want to get away from the crowds, you can walk out to the end of the peninsula for some quiet isolation.
The rocks themselves were formed in a few different ways, but basically there is a harder rock on top and a softer one on the bottom. Give the whole area a few thousand years of exposure to wind, rain and water, and you have an alien landscape filled with mushroom rocks, honeycomb rocks, pothole erosion and many other appropriately named oddities. (The “candle shaped” rocks are the coolest!)
Heping Island Park 和平島
If you have your own transportation, you might want to give Yeliu a miss, just because there are so many awesome site that are free and relatively tourist free.
Similar to Yehliu but less famous, is the awesome Heping Island Park. Only 10 minutes from the Keelung train station, Heping Island has many of the same rock formations as Yehliu, and a much more relaxed atmosphere. (Here’s a link to more photos and information on Heping Island that I wrote about in a former post on Keelung.)
The Rest of the East Coast
Those two areas cover about .001% of Taiwan’s east coast. There are dozens of beautiful rock formations up and down the coast. All you have to do is get to highways 9 and 11 and have a look around. The northeast coast is probably the densest area of coolness, but Mother Nature’s beauty can be found all the way down to the extreme southern tip of Taiwan, the Kenting National Park. Below are a few pics from my favorite places. I’m not going to tell you where they are exactly, you need to find them yourself!
Yeliu GeoPark – (Copied from the Yeliu official website)
- 1.Take the express bus (bound for Jinshan Youth Activity Center) of Kuo-Kuang Co. at its West Station A of Taipei city; alight at Yehliu
stop. The bus comes every 20 minutes. (Weekdays: the first bus at 05:40am and the last bus at 11:00pm; Weekends: the first bus at
06:30am and the last bus at 11:00pm.)
- 2.Take the express bus (bound for Jinshan or Tamsui) at Keelung station (near Keelung Railway Station). The Bus comes every 10 minute.
(the first bus at 05:40 am and the last bus at 10:40pm).
- 3.Take the express bus (bound to Jinshan) at Tamshui station (near Tamshui MRT Station); alight at Yehliu stop. The bus comes every 30
minutes (the first bus at 05:50am and the last bus at 10:20pm).
Heping Island Park – (Copied from the Heping Island website)
- Keelung City Bus 101 → Heping Island → Follow Coastal Highway
If you’re driving a car or scooter to any of the sites mentioned above… buy a map! (It’s easy!)