Taiwan Fun Magazine, January 2004


By David Thiselton Translated by Ya-chi Tsai



Forehead Mountain is an ideal getaway for those seeking a few hours' escape from the noise and pollution of city life. It is easy to reach from Tainan City or Chiayi City.

The mountain has a steep, winding path cut into it that can be traversed in about 30 minutes to one hour. It is difficult to strain oneself here whilst walking through a forest bursting with wild flowers and butterflies, not to mention lizards, the odd spider in its web, and many different kinds of trees.

Birdsong echoes through the fresh air, and lucky hikers might even catch a glimpse of the two resident eagles. There is an opportunity to relax and enjoy a fine view of the valley far below from a rest shelter half-way up. And you can do the same again from the top of a huge rock on the summit.

The peak has a clearing and is particularly pretty and serene. The best way to descend is via the road that also cuts through the forest. It is longer than the path, but easier on the knees.

At the foot of the mountain is a huge shrine, the Chingshan Hsiengong Temple. The sculptures inside, which depict the resident gods, are well worth seeing. One of these gods has an enlarged forehead--could this be how the mountain acquired its name? The temple offers accommodation and meals on a donation basis, and there is a small coffee shop in the temple.

Across the road from the temple on a lower tier is a much larger coffee shop resplendent with balcony and deck. Here one can sit back, sip coffee chosen from a quality range and admire the view of the valley and the plains beyond or one could instead have an equally unwinding game of croquet in the garden below. There is a food menu available too.

HOW TO GET THERE: From Tainan City, take the No. 1 Highway toward Sinying. When near Sinying, turn right onto Road 100 to Dongshan. At Dongshan turn right, and take Road 99 to Dongyuan. At Dongyuan turn left onto Road 104. Follow this road until you see Road 104-1 forking to the right. Take the 104-1, which will take you all the way to Forehead Mountain. It crosses Road 175 to Guanzihling, and at this crossing you will pass under a temple entrance arch, and start climbing steeply up towards the temple and the coffee shop.