Just an hours’ drive away from Taipei is one of the most breathtaking views Taiwan has to offer. It’s hard to believe that it’s this easy to find natural water and intense greenery only a short drive away from the busy city.
We started with a short hike closer to the river then lunched near a tea farm. After some more exploring, we drove towards a hike closer to the iconic view of Crocodile lake. After taking a bunch of photos and walking up and down some steep steps we drove to Shiding Old Road and rewarded ourselves with a delicious, local dinner. Mixing in some hiking and sightseeing in between our meals made the food exponentially yummier.
Yongan Mt Trail
First stop: A short hike near the base of the river. We entered from the North entrance which connects to the South. If you exit the other way you will have to walk along the main roads to get back to your starting point.
The trail is short but you get to walk through some thick forests. The air is a lot cooler between the trees, and you are closer to the lake. It’s a different vantage point and not a bad walk. You’ll see more trees than you do river/lake but it’s peaceful and hidden away from the crowds.
Lunch at Tushitou Lookout
Stopped by here for lunch after the Yongan hike. I couldn’t find the restaurant on the map but there is a sign at this location that says “小吃”. There is a good variety of yummy dishes. We got grilled pork, chicken oil noodles, sweet potato leaves, fried noodles, and an omelette. I highly recommend their chicken oil noodles and grilled pork. The shop is also known for their teas as they grow their own, so we got a bunch of tea products like their jasmine tea candy and matcha candy. They also sell all natural tea soap and tea oils made from their teas.
There is a good vantage point here where you can take photos on a stand. From this view, you don’t see much of the crocodile shape but it is still just as beautiful.
Crocodile Island viewing platform
Drove here after the hike to see the iconic view of Crocodile Island. The incline for driving paired with the super narrow roads is pretty intense, so if you’re not comfortable with driving I suggest parking and walking up. It’s only a couple of minutes walk. The hike at the top was more difficult as the small steps are placed on gravel and can get slippery.
From here there is an open space for taking photos, then to the side a pathway where the view gets better. While we were up here we ran into a photography club which used us as their subjects. We also learned that the reason there are no watersports or swimming in the river and lakes is because it feeds into the reservoir that provides for all of Taipei.
Dinner at Shiding Old Road
Once the sun started to set, we decided it was time for dinner. We found a local famous restaurant in Old Shiding just 20 minutes away.
This was one of the juiciest chickens I’ve had. They are also well-known for their tofu (fried and steamed), the fried ones had run out by the time we got there, but we were able to get the last plate of steamed tofu.
Another recommended dish was their local fried fish, which you eat whole, and a heart-warming turnip pork bone soup. Food starts to run out by 6pm, so get here early for dinner.
After dinner we walked around for a little bit and ate some tofu cheese cakes next door. A river runs through this town so it was relaxing to sit, watch, and feel the cool air.
Follow Our Map
See our entire route below:
Shiding Crocodile Lake Vantage Point
If you’d rather have Klook plan your trip which includes rides to and back, as well as tea-brewing you can access their tour here: Thousand Island Lake & Tea Plantation (English & Japanese Tour)