Battleship Rock; a large ‘battleship’ looking rock on a mountain North of Taipei. Xin Beitou Springs; one of Taipei’s renowned hot-spring pool locations; both in great proximity together; for a hike, and for two (feeling rather lazy than normal) hikers.
To get there, use The Junjianyan Hiking Trail, (Junjianyan being ‘battleship’ in Chinese) -don’t try and find ‘battleship rock’ on any sign-post like we did- the English name isn’t used on any signposts/ onsite maps so you won’t get far.)
Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy-peasy (just not child-friendly)
First things first; go to Quillian MRT (Red Line) and walk to Yangming University (Medical school next to Taipei General Hospital) Tip: Exit 1, turn left, carry road on and left again (10-15 min walk)
1) Entrance to the Junjianyan hiking trail
Follow the road up past the hospital and past campus buildings. The road will curve to the right and you will see a sign to the Hiking Trail.
Carry on (this time an uphill climb) and you will arrive at the ‘JunjianYan (Battleship Rock) Hiking trail map.
The hike starts from the steps on the left, (the right-hand side of the road) There’s a green wooden stairway- you can’t miss it.
2) To the ‘Mountain Ridge’
Follow the path up and you will start to see panoramic views of Taipei emerge from behind. The path is quite narrow and can be quite slippery if it’s raining. To get to the Battleship Rock, we turned a sharp left down after seeing this ridge. This will take you down some steps.
3) Views of Beitou District
Before heading to the Battleship Rock, you can see views of Beitou District on the mountain opposite. To do this, you will need to turn right and then left where you’ll see a small footpath emerge in some bushes.
There are actually arrows marked in stones left by previous (thoughtful) hikers leading you in the right direction.
Follow it up and you will eventually come to this aerial where you will see views of Beitou District. If you look hard enough, you will notice abandoned mansions.
4) Battleship Rock
To get to Battleship Rock, go back and turn left this time (carrying on from the previous path) and then you’ll come to a slight incline. You will see some stacked plastic chairs; at this point, they’ll be a small wooden bridge which you’ll need to cross.
You’ll arrive in an area like this. Follow the steps and woah and behold you will see the last sign to ‘Junjianyan.’
I can kind of see the resemblance to a ‘battleship’ but only if you put the rock in context with its surroundings. Otherwise, it is an enormous rock and enormously populated with tourists. You will see great views of Taipei, and if you are patient enough, you can get the perfect ‘’living life on the edge’ shot.
5) Zhaoming Temple
Next stop, Zhaoming Temple. Turnback around and you will come to the original sign which will tell you to carry straight on. You will see huts shortly followed by another sign telling you to go left.
Follow the path down-hill, leading you to steps and you will arrive at Zhaoming Temple 1100 meters away. As its downhill, this can also be quite slippery if it’s wet.
It’s a beautiful Buddhist temple; steep-pitched roofs and intrinsically designed animal sculptures.
The temple is also known as ‘lover’s temple’ after the name of the deity in the main shrine, the ‘Guanyin;’ the God of Mercy. If you walk in and up the stairs, you see another viewpoint of Taipei. There are also white religious statues on entering and a ‘picnic-y’ area outside (though I wouldn’t recommend being a place of worship) The main trail continues coming back out of the temple to the left
6) To Xin Beitou
Follow the path through and you’ll come to a junction. Turn to the left and follow it through again. You will eventually see a small sign such as the one below telling you to turn right. Follow it and you’ll come markings on the floor 弘法大師岩and an arrow to the left.
What feels like ‘going off path’ follow it through and the over-grown bushes and it will take you to an old Japanese shrine which belonged to Kukai, a Buddhist monk and poet. You’ll see a window with candles and ornaments inside. It was a really nice surprise and not actually on the map.
Carry on down the path (forest by this point) and you’ll be guided where the way to Xin Beitou by fabric markings/ropes hanging off trees. You can’t get lost. It’s a nice leisurely stroll and you’ll start going downhill.
You will see arrow markings on buildings such as this one. This is actually a house which offered free water to hikers so fill up! (Idk why the locals are so kind here)
Grey steps will appear which basically means that you’re almost at the bottom. You will also see an abandoned mansion appear on the left-hand side. As tempting as it is, the guard dogs outside seem to guard the place and they didn’t sound too friendly, so best not.
By this point you will arrive at Xin Beitou; a small village, home to the Bitou Hot Springs lots of hotels and tourist. If you carry the road around you will see the tourist area where you can visit Bitou Hot Springs yourself.
FYI: The Beitou Hotsprings close at 5pm. As we arrived at 5:05pm, we missed the chance.
The springs close at 5pm! Also, there aren’t that many places to eat, but if you walk in the direction (to the left as you enter the springs) a short 10 minute away and you’ll come to a town with all sorts of restaurants; local, McDonald’s, KFC, etc.
Overall, the Junjianyan Hiking Trail is an easy hike, offers incredible views, enjoyable, and easy to follow. Definitely recommend.