Kaohsiung’s Shoushan National Park is much more than just Monkey Mountain but many forget about the other parts of the National Park. Banpingshan is located between the Lotus Pond, the HSR station and World Games Stadium. Embarrassingly I didn’t hike here until this spring because Monkey Mountain is just a couple of minutes from my apartment. I will travel all over Taiwan and East Asia looking for new hikes but for some reason 20 minutes within Kaohsiung was too far.
My initial hike on Banpingshan was less than spectacular. Banpingshan was heavily mined for cement and lime for over a century. During this time the height of the mountain was reduced by 53 meters to its current height of 170 meters. (gov’t source) Michael Turton wrote an excellent blog with old photos about the history of the cement operations earlier this year so I won’t rehash that. Read Michael’s piece here.
My first trip to Banpingshan was rather boring as I hiked up the stairs to the main mining road to the main observation point and back down the mining road past the old quarry on the eastern side of the mountain. The southeastern portions of Banpingshan were most heavily affected by the mining and I almost entirely walked through that area. The next time however I hiked along some trails about halfway up the western slope (near pt 2 on the map) and the trees and rock formations match or exceed the best on Monkey Mountain.
Fascinating trees and rocks can be found all over Taiwan but one of the highlights is a completely intact military bunker at the northeastern end of Banpingshan. The bunker is likely from the post WWII militarization of Taiwan by the KMT as defense against a possible PRC (China) invasion although it could have been made by the Japanese during WWII. The bunker has 4 exits, 2 tunnels, 1 connecting tunnel and 5 small rooms. The longest tunnel is 50 meters long and about 1.6 meters tall. It is made of concrete and is very safe from cave ins.
The Nanzih factory region. Down there somewhere is Oil Refinery Elementary School. Such a homey name.
One of the five interior rooms. Maybe 2 meters wide by 3 meters deep by 1.5 meters tall.
Banpingshan overlooks World Games Stadium and the Straits of Taiwan. Further north of this is the Nanzih factory zone.