There were ten times as many people as there were the mushroom-like stones rising out of the geopark. We should’ve expected this, visiting one of Taiwan’s famous tourist spots on a weekend. My friend tried posing in front of the rock formations, waiting for tourists to clear the view, but to no avail. After some minutes of waiting, the view almost cleared, then another group suddenly appeared into the frame. Shoot it! I’ll just clone everyone off in Snapseed, my friend exclaimed in frustration.
|SHORT WALK FROM THE BUS STATION TO YEHLIU GEOPARK|
Yehliu Geopark is located at the Wanli District of New Taipei. Getting to Yehliu from Taipei is easy enough. Since we were lodged at the Grand Hyatt Taipei, we just took a train to the Taipei Main Station (using the 3-day train pass we used for our Taipei day trip), and from there, took a Yehliu-bound bus for TWD96.00 (PHP148.84). It took about an hour and half to reach the Yehliu Bus Stop. From there we just walked for about ten minutes to the gate of the geopark (good thing we have our Flytpack with us, else we would have taken a cab), passing by a sleepy town fronted by a less than busy wharf.
|THEY FILMED METEOR GARDEN HERE AT THE YEHLIU FISHERMAN’S WHARF|
On a side note, that same wharf was the location for Meteor Garden scenes, Taiwan’s famous drama mini series. Yehliu’s Fisherman’s Wharf, where San Cai’s mom had her moment was filmed, is just a hop away, in fact you would pass it on the way to the park. I’m really not into the show, but for fans of F4, Barbie Hsu and Meteor Garden, you may want to check it out before going straight to the geopark.
|THE CAMEL PEAK, ANOTHER ROCK FORMATION OUTSIDE THE GEOPARK PROPER|
Going back to the real rock garden. The parking area was packed full as we approached the park’s gate. Off the right, we could see a tall rock promontory, the Camel Peak, out into the highway with silhouettes of people scaling its peak. It wasn’t really part of the geopark, but it seemed an interesting place to also spend a few minutes on.
|BEACH INSIDE YEHLIU GEOPARK|
|YEHLIU’S NATURAL BATH TUBS ARE SOMETIMES HOME TO CRABS|
With the hordes of tourists, we proceeded to the gates of the park after paying the entrance fee of TWD80.00 (PHP124.06). The Yehliu Geopark extends for about 1,700 meters on the northern coast of Taiwan. It is sometimes called the Yehliu Promontory and is part of the Daliao Miaocene Formation.
|A RARE PHOTOGRAPH OF THE PATH LEADING TO THE GEOPARK, NO TOURISTS!|
From what I can see, the park is divided into three parts, a manicured concrete park dotted with cute statuettes and life-sized laser-accurate versions of a few famous rock formations within. I find this kinda strange since the real thing is just but a few minutes walk away.
|MUSHROOM ROCKS AT THE YEHLIU GEOPARK|
|MORE ROCK FORMATIONS NEAR THE SEA|
The second part is where the mushroom-like rock formations are located. The formations indeed look like giant mushrooms standing about a meter and a half high, with smooth muddy orange trunks blossoming on a perforated umbrella-ish tops. As with such, most are named after real-life similarities like Dragon’s Head, Fairy’s Shoe, Ice Cream Rock, and the most famous of the lot, the Queen’s Head. Naturally, this is where the tourist swarm is the thickest. There is a view deck where you can see an overview of this area, but I was too lazy to climb it, lol.
|THE 24-FILIAL PIETY HILL|
|A SMALL CAFE RIGHT BELOW THE HILL|
The third part of the park is connected from the mainland by a bridge. On its left, more mushroom rocks blossom and farther on, is the 24-Filial Piety Hill. It is named after the twenty four rocks that dot one of its sides and has concrete stairs visitors can tread on. Beyond that, I can see more rock formations stretching out into the sea. Unfortunately, aside from the locals fishing along its edges, these areas are off-limits to tourists. There is a café right beside the hill, should you want some refreshments after climbing the hill.
|MY FAVORITE SPOT AT YEHLIU GEOPARK|
|YEHLIU’S CANDLE ROCKS|
My favorite part of Yehliu Park though is located at the western end of the first area. Most tourists ignore this corner, which is a shame since this is where the Candle Rocks are located. These formations rise for about half a meter from the ground with a plateau-like shape, on its top, a ball-shaped rock sits. When I first saw them, I thought the balls were just put there by people, but upon further readings, I learned that they’re naturally formed.
|ARE THEY REALLY GINGER ROCKS OR ARE THEY. . .|
|THERE ARE A FEW BRIDGES WITHIN THE PARK|
I read that there are three caves in the area, the Mazu Cave, the Naughty Kid’s Cave (which is under the bridge connecting the third part of the park) and the largest, the Lover's Cave. I didn’t see any of these throughout our visit though.
|OUR TUMMIES LED US TO THE YEHLIU SPECIALTY STREET RIGHT AFTER|
|SQUID STREET FOOD FLATTENED USING A ROLLER AND SPRINKLED WITH SPICES|
Upon exiting the park, we went through the Yehliu Specialty Street, a sort of covered market running parallel beside the geopark where we found an odd menagerie of street food. Wending our way, we went from one stall to another, trying out crisps, dried seafood and things we have no idea what. Everything was really good though, making us sit on one particular stall and ordering a late lunch of squid balls, with real squid bits inside, fried rice and Taiwanese sausage. A perfect break before continuing our trip to Jiufen!
YEHLIU GEOPARK UPDATE 2017
|BACK AT YEHLIU GEOPARK|
Two months later and I was back at Yehliu Geopark, this time with my mom and two cousins. Since I’ve pretty much seen every mushroom rock formation here, I decided to go straight to the Filial Piety Hill to see the view from up high.
|THE VIEW FROM THE STAIRS GOING UP THE HILL|
|HMMMM… CHOCO FUDGE…INTERESTING ROCK FORMATIONS BELOW|
What I initially thought would be a quick five-minute climb turned into an hour-and-a-half of back-and-forth hike. It turns out that the hill has a paved path that goes on to the end of the cape. Without knowing this, I followed the trail, took the left uphill fork and was rewarded with a breathtaking view of chocolate fudge-like rock formations. I never knew these existed on my first visit.
|A FISHING BOAT ALONG THE WATERS OF YEHLIU CAPE|
|YEHLIU CLIFFSIDE VIEW|
I continued forward, thankful for the clear skies—it was quite cold being up so high, the wind adding some degree of chill. Alone on the trail, it seemed unending, winding on and on until finally, I reached its apex, some sort of viewpoint at the antenna tower. There wasn’t much to see there, so I continued forward, the path now spiraling downwards.
|FISHERFOLKS ALONG AREAS PROHIBITED FROM TOURISTS|
I emerged at the eastern side of the cape. A crossroad. Do I turn left and continue onward, or do I turn right and return to the park proper. Since I was already here, might as well go on and see everything Yehliu Geopark has to offer. I turned left.
|PATHWAY ALONG FILIAL PIETY HILL|
The trail, again, seemed eternal. Walking briskly, I emerged into an open path sans railings right below the precipice of the cape. The wind was whipping hard; good thing the track was fairly wide, so chances of falling off the cliff was quite slim, clumsy as I am.
|YEHLIU GEOPARK’S END POINT|
|THE FINAL STRETCH OF YEHLIU CAPE|
|ROCK DETAILS ON THE FARTHEST ISLETS OF YEHLIU CAPE|
And at last, the pitched roof of a pavilion on top of a promontory signaled the end of my walk, a viewing deck overlooking the craggy islets that form the farthest fringes of Yehliu Cape. Walking over the railings of the deck, I zoomed in with my camera and was flabbergasted to find fishermen on these wave-battered rock formations!
These, of course, are off limits to tourists. I mean, how can you even go there?! This was as far as I can go though; the farthest end of Yehliu Geopark for me.
Address: No.167-1, Kantung Road, Yehliu Village,
Wanli District, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Contact Number: 886-2-24922016
Open Hours: 8:00AM to 5:00PM Daily
Entrance Fee: Adult TWD80.00 | Childen (TWD40.00)
GPS Coordinates Map: 25.206630, 121.690799