Saturday, July 24, 2010
Lingfeng Chan Temple road 靈峰禪寺山道
This mountain walk follows the access road to the Lingfeng Chan Temple. You park where the temple's narrow private road meets the two-lane public road, then start walking. The temple isn't much - I chatted with the caretaker, and she said that it's just her (during the daytime) and the monk. She said that they don't get many visitors, so this walk is really off the beaten path. Not many Taiwanese have even heard of this place. Although the more famous scenic walks in Yilan are prettier, this road is extremely quiet. It's a good choice for the weekend when the famous scenic spots have lots of day trippers from Taipei.
The road is paved, and the slope isn't too bad, so it's an easy walk up the mountain. Lining the road is dense rainforest. I saw several unusual birds, including a flock of formosan magpies, so this is a good place for bird watching. I also noticed some monkey feces. If you're lucky you might see a monkey.
Although mosquitoes aren't usually a problem in Yilan, I encountered an angry swarm on the way up. It might be worthwhile to bring some mosquito repellant.
After you walk for about half an hour, you will see a large rock with the temple's name witten on it. Keep following the road uphill, which is now lined with plastic statues of Guanyin.
At the top, in front of the temple, is your reward - a postcard perfect view of Yilan, including Yilan city, rice paddies, mountains, the ocean, and Guishan Island. This is surely one of the finest views in Taiwan.
You can continue up the mountain by first going back down the road for a few minutes, past the plastic statues to the large rock with the temple's name. Another narrow paved road to the right continues uphill. This road isn't nearly as pretty as the walk below. However, the view at the top is even better.
After half an hour walk you will come to a large clearing. The paved road ends here. Continue uphill on the road made of crushed rocks. This road goes up to cemetary at the top. Just below the cemetary you have an even more spectacular view of Yilan far below.
If you don't feel like walking uphill and just want the views, you can drive up the temple road to the top. If you go by car, you might want to pray to the Buddha that you don't encounter another vehicle along the way. The road is so narrow that turning around would be almost impossible.
To get to the temple, you need a map or GPS. Or you can just start driving and be willing to ask directions. The road toward the temple goes past Longtan (the scenic lake). Go to the left of the lake area and toward the mountains. The road along the way goes through some pretty agricultural areas. Along the way you will see signs pointing the way to the temple.