For people like to get closer to nature, or travelers who get a little bit tired of all the museums, shopping and eating in Taipei, Fuyang Ecological Park is another option for one to get some fresh air and refresh.
What makes the Fuyang Ecological Park special is that it is less organized and rustier than other botanical gardens or parks in Taipei city. It still has wild nature in it, but being inside Taipei city, it is convenient and safe to go hiking. It is a suitable place for both adult and children.
Where is it
Fuyang Ecological Park is about 5 minutes’ walk from the MRT “Linguang” station on the brown line. There is a sign just outside the MRT station. You walk out the station and turn left on the second block to the Fuyang Street, and then you will see the entrance.
My routine Hiking schedule inside the park
Unlike other places in Taipei, Fuyang Ecological Park is a quiet spot. Just walk into it, you will find out the trees block out the noise and all you can hear is the whispering of the wind. These trees also keep the temperature in the park one or two degrees lower than outside. Even in a scorching hot summer day, it is still very comfortable to take a walk here
Whenever you like to go, there is always a view, no matter in the daytime, or in the night, or what the season is.
Personally, I like to go there in the morning on around seven thirty to eight o’clock. Walking into the park, on the first crossroad, if I turn left, I can go to the Ecological pool. On the right side, there are stairs and a sign toward “Fujhoushan Park”. I usually walk that way, following the path and climbing to the top. On top, there are some platforms and pavilions, if the weather is good, I could see the Taipei 101. Actually, on New Year Eve, many people go there to watch the Taipei 101 firework. There is also a meadow and some trees. When the sky clears up after a rain, there will be butterflies staying on the bottom of the tree trunks with their wings open to get warm up and be ready to fly. I often take a ten to fifteen minutes break on the meadow, admiring butterflies dancing in the air.
By the way, give you a small tip on how to take pictures of the butterflies. A flashlight is okay. They are not sensitive to light, but they are very sensitive to the vibration of the air. When you approaching them, make sure you move slowly. Butterflies usually are less cautious while they are eating. So you can also find a right spot with a honey plant, like Pilose Beggarticks, and just wait for them.
I mostly take the other way down to the exit of Fujhoushan Park and take about 15 minutes to walk back to the MRT station, but you can always choose to return by the way you came. The whole hiking route is about 40 minutes to 1 hour depending on how fast I walk.
What to see
Daytime- Taipei tree frog
There are plenty animals take the park as their home. Inside the woods, butterflies fly, lizards, named Swinhoe’s japalura, quickly rush cross the path, and Giant woods spiders are busily weaving their webs. Among these animals, the most famous one is the Taipei tree frog.
If you go to the MRT station “Xiangshan”, you might see the Installation art of some frogs. What they portraited is exactly the Taipei tree frog which is not only an endemic species of Taiwan but also an endangered species. Although the news reported that Taipei tree frogs have been recovered in the Zhongqiang Park near MRT “Xiangshan” station, I have never seen them there for all these years, maybe because they hide too well in the Zhongqiang Park, but I saw these tree frogs several times in the Fuyang Ecological Park. They are the reason why I like to go hiking in the morning.
Taipei tree frogs are nocturnal animals. They are lively at night, hiding beside water and searching for food and mates. In winter night, you can hear the unique croaking of the Taipei tree frogs. If you hear their croaking once, you can always recognize the sound. Some people joke that they feel cold when they hear them croaking because the sound is similar to how you say “cold” in Taiwanese. In the night, you can hear them, but they hide to0 well to be found. In the morning, on the other hand, they are mostly sleepy and lazy, probably because they still have a hangover from the late night party last night. You can see them sleeping on the leaves, or inside the petiole of the plants called “giant upright elephant ear”.
While walking through the park, take some time to check on the leaves or inside the petiole, you might find these green little fairies having a sweet dream. The Taipei tree frogs got these cute faces that always look like smiling.
There is a small reminder, please just enjoy them with your eyes or cameras, don’t touch them or disturb them in any other ways. I’m sure you don’t like to be poked during your sleep either.
Night tour- Snakes and others
If you go to the park around evening, there might be a lot of people with telescopes facing the entrance outside the park. They are waiting for the Flying squirrels. Don’t be shy to join them. These animals are also nocturnal, going out around sunset.
A night tour is always exciting; many animals are active at this time, like frogs and toads. Different species of frogs and toads present a different symphony every night. If you got an experienced eye, you might even find snakes hanging on the trees. My personal favorite is the Taiwan Bamboo Viper. They have this matte green color which is pretty and graceful. On the contrary, Smooth green snakes have a glossy green body, big round black eyes and purse mouth (because they mostly eat earthworms) which make them looked extraordinarily adorable. Besides the sober ones, you may also look under the leaves or twigs, some insects are sleeping sound, like the bees.
A piece of advice to those who are interested in taking a night tour, there is rare street light in the park. You might need to bring a flashlight or download the app on your cell phone. And, also be careful of your steps, there are many African big snails roaming on the path at night. It is a very unpleasant feeling to step on them.
Because there is less disturbance of the artificial light in the park, so before you leave, you can turn the flashlight off, and take some time to look at the sky. If the weather is clear, the stars will be twinkling at you and wish you have a good night.