Definitely worth a visit. About 4 hours from Taipei, up in the mountains, we drove past Hsitou the first day to Sanmingsi (sp?). Big parking lot full of tour buses, but we quickly escaped the madness as there were lots of hiking trails through beautiful coniferous forest and the trails we followed were dirt (yea!!), not pavement, with few other people.
Our 27 month old girl enjoyed her first real hiking in a forest and we made it to a large waterfall where hordes of bus travelers congregated, before we headed back down to Hsitou, where we stayed for the night. Next day explored the more cultivated maze of trails through beautiful forest in Hsitou. Sidewalk trails here, but no less beautiful.
It was a great weekend. I’d be remiss, though, if I didn’t mention the thousands of idiots gawking, staring, leering, pointing, cooing at, admiring, "hao cuai"ing at, and even touching our girl’s hair. Endless busloads of such idiots. Perhaps worse than any place we’ve been to in Taiwan. Here’s a few of them.
Through evasive maneuvers and seeking out the most difficult or obscure trails, however, we escaped most of them and had a great time.