Elephant MountainFree: All time

To get a panoramic view of Taipei, many will probably just go to the observatory at Taipei 101 – the second highest observatories in the world. Little do they know that they could have avoided shelling out the $14 and take a hike to Elephant Mountain instead. Located only 15 minutes walking distance away from Taipei 101, the Elephant Mountain provides visitors a stunning view on the entire city, PLUS the Taipei 101 itself, which dwarfs all other buildings. Elephant Mountain is the most famous of the “Four Beast mountains” of Taipei and certainly most accessible. After hiking the staircases up the mountain, you can find yourself a nice boulder to perch on and enjoy the view. Visit during sunset/sunrise or weekdays to avoid the crowd. Should you have more energy, continue on to Tiger Mountain and 9-5 Peak.

Opening hours: Daily 24h
Direction: Start at Taipei 101, walk one block east on Xinyi Road, turn right to Songren Road, walk 3 blocks until you pass the high school on your right, turn left at net corner and follow the alleyway up till the entrance to the staircase (Check the website for detail route map)
Website: taiwan-photography-blog.com/2009/05/15/hiking-four-beasts-elephant-mountain/

Photo credit: Jirka Matousek (Flickr CC)