From Taipei, we took a taxi up to Qingjing(Cingjing) in Ren’ai Township a popular hill top getaway for many Taiwanese and tourists. At about 3.5 hours drive or about 270 km, it was a bearable distance for Luca to handle. She (and us) even survived the windy road travel up from Wushe town to the mountains without much complaints.
We noticed all Taiwan drivers seemed to adhere to the speed limit diligently. When we mentioned to our taxi driver, he quipped Taiwan highways have many speed cameras so one can’t speed past the lawful speed limit for too long. This might be a challenge for many South East Asian drivers with a penchant to take speed limits as the minimum speed to drive on. The beautiful ever-changing Taiwanese landscape from farmlands, villages, mountains, tunnels and rock formations along the highway will certainly distract any desire to drive fast.
Is Qingjing the “Foggy Eden” as many travel brochures and websites exclaimed? In some ways, they were right. When we arrived, there were already mists to greet us. The air was refreshing. We felt the difference. Having come from living in a polluted city, the initial deep breaths we took upon arriving the highlands really shocked our lung chambers and revived our senses. The air seemed cleaner up here.
Honestly, there isn’t much to do Qingjing except eat local delicacies which include sheep milk products, vegetables, and seasonal fruits, hike the trails, take-in the mountain sights, and get chummy with the farm animals (sheep, lamb, cows, horses and ponies) and enjoy the scenic views at Guanshan Pasture and Green Green Grassland. Guanshan Pasture and Green Green Grassland requires 1 day passes for entry. Adult fare NT160 (weekday) and NT200 (weekend).
Our Qingjing Accommodation
There are so many Minsu or private guesthouses here in misty Qingjing showing off their owner’s style of architecture, interior design, customer service and even cuisines. Guesthouses are great for the families as it offers a homestay appeal with the owners and their helpers giving you a personalised level of service.
We stayed at Misty Villa, a lodging managed by 2 ladies, is conveniently located (but hidden behind pines trees on a hill) near the Provincial highway 14A that cuts through Qingjing. They accept international credit cards if you are short on Taiwan dollars.
The views of the Nantou County mountain tops, farmlands and sky changes throughout the day. Mists rolls over the slopes creating a splendid scenery from our lodging. During our strolls in the orchards, fog would sweep in and out of our path.
If you are coming from Wushe town (South), Qingjing’s tourist attractions are found as you ascent all the way up to North Gate and Service Center. Usually the starting point for first timers is the Mist Plaza (and Swiss Garden across the highway road) where there are small retail shops, ATM, eateries, 24 hour convenience stores, and a Tourist Information Center. Your lodging would be able to offer plenty of advice on tourist attractions or things to do plus discounted Guanshan and Green Green Grassland entrance tickets so don’t worry about rushing to the travel center or any of the ticket booths. France Village 200m from Mist Plaza, along the highway has retail shops, eateries, children rides and Qingjing Farm Travel Center.
From Mist Plaza, there are the pedestrian walkways (trails) which lead you up, through the forest, all the way up to top of Qingjing. After Mist Plaza, it’s the France Village, a little commercial center with a few retail shops, fruit and vegetable sellers, and eateries. As you ascend, you would enter the Guanshan Pasture where there is the Great Nature Theater Ecological Area and Horsemanship Show Stage attractions. Further up is the Green Green Grasslands with attractions of Sheep-Shearing Show and Sheep Castle. The distance of coverage would be about 2.5-3km.
We skipped Guanshan and Green Green Grassland attractions as we felt our tiny tot couldn’t appreciate the activities yet and we were traveling towards the end of the wet season so the idea of getting caught in rain or being in desperate need for a diaper change and clean up, cemented our decision. As alternative, there are sufficient self guided nature trails that will keep you occupied. You will end up walking far longer than the stated hiking duration as you will be distracted by the views and the detours especially when you miss the directional signage.
The 8 Trails around Qingjing. Trail 6, 7 and 8 requires Guanshan and Green Green Grassland paid entry.
#1 – Emerald Lake Trail (2300 metres, 60 mins)
#2 – Sunset Trail (1000 metres, 30 mins)
#3 – Tea Plantation Trail (500 metres, 15 mins)
#4 – Sakura Trail (500 metres, 15 mins)
#5 – Cryptomeria Trail (800 metres, 25 mins)
#6 – 487-Step Trail (800 metres, 30 mins)
#7 – Guanshan Trail (1800 metres, 50 mins)
#8 – Great Wall Trail (250 metres, 10 mins)
How long should you stay in Qingjing?
We stayed 2 nights and I think this is a good duration but if you are in need of rest from the city hustle and bustle then stay longer. Qingjing offers plenty of guesthouses to vary your lodging comfort, cool clean air, beautiful scenery which changes throughout the day, and sufficient easy to medium level trails to keep you company. Because there are so many guesthouses around offering different cuisines and cooking styles, you can choose to dine your lunch and dinner at any of them. Good alternative to the other restaurants found along the highway. Some of the guesthouse kitchens require you to prebook your meals early so best to check first before walking in last minute.
If you have tips on Qingjing, please share it in the comment section to help other travelers.