Wanli Matcha Hills – a Quirky Cluster of Grassy Mounds

A view of Wanli Matcha Hills on the backdrop of Taiwan’s northern coastline

photography by: Omri Westmark

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The northern outskirts of Taipei are peppered with secluded coves, oddly-shaped geological formations and dozens of hamlets, whose laid-back vibes offer a respite from the hustle and bustle of the Taiwanese capital. Among the lesser-known sites of the area, however, is a mysterious string of seaside hillocks, known collectively as Wanli Matcha Hills.

Encompassing the northernmost tip of New Taipei, the rural district of Wanli comprises forested mountains alongside scenic beaches, something for which it has become a popular getaway among Taipeiers. Tucked away in the western fringes of the district, Shijiao Beach was recently revitalized when a brand-new esplanade was inaugurated between Haijing Rd and the village of Guihou.


Amblers and beach-goers who stroll along the promenade will be greeted by a winding parapet that features a large three-dimensional mural, aptly depicting various marine animals like orcas and sea-turtles. Far less straight-forward though, is a rather bizarre landform whose origins are enveloped in obscurity.


Jutting out of the nearby waterfront lawn is a series of 15 grassy mounds, each of which is a couple of meters tall. Curiously, from afar, the mounds’ undulating landscape might seem like scoops of green tea ice-cream, hence their whimsical name – Wanli Matcha Hills. Ever since these hillocks popped out, they have been swarmed by local Instagrammers, for whom the greenish hills serve as an unusual photo op.


The Wanli Match Hills also bear an uncanny resemblance to a famous site in the Philippines known as the Chocolate Hills, a cluster of more than 1,000 verdant hills in the island of Bohol. While our protagonists are a far cry from their Filipino counterparts, what they lack in size and numbers, they make up for in their scenic whereabouts and stunning sunsets.