Travelers are usually surprised by a fact: Taiwan has a total of 268 mountains thar are over 3,000 meters! In fact, over 50% of Taiwan is mountainous, so the island is a heaven for mountaineers! From low-altitude and flat trails to the highest mountain in northeast Asia, Jade Mountain (Yushan), no matter on which level you are, you will find a trail that delights you.
Last December, we organized a trekking trip for a lovely couple, Tracy and Chua. This was not the first time for Tracy and Chua to visit Taiwan, but most of their previous trips were for business or just based in Taipei. They hoped to explore the rest of Taiwan this time. Tracy is a BIG fan of National Geographic. She requested to have full-day trekking on the trails with nice scenery and also wanted to visit the beautiful tea plantation. Since they didn’t like place that were too touristy and crowded, they looked for trails that were a little bit off the beaten path.
We adjusted the plan several times not only to make sure this 8D7N Taiwan itinerary was what Tracy wanted but also to minimize the time we spend on traffic. After the discussion, we finalized a plan fulfilling every aspect of their wish. The trekking routes we recommended cover high mountain grasslands, forests and gorges. The highlights include:
Tashan Trail at Alishan 【Duration: 5-6 hours (out-and-back)】
“Without climbing Tashan, one does not know the magnificence of Alishan (Ali Mountain).” The trail passes by a Taiwan cypress forest. And from the overpass visitors can see the Zhushan Line train winding by. The end of the trail is the summit of Tashan from where one can see the entire Ali Mountain Forest Recreation Area, the peaks of Jade Mountain and the ridge of the Central Mountain Range in the distance, and possibly a sea of constantly changing clouds.
Shuishan Trail at Alishan【Duration:1 hour (out-and-back)】
This is a new secret spot that travelers usually neglect. Walking on the trail is like entering a time tunnel in the forest, for you get to walk along the old Alishan Forest Railway and meet the thousand-year-old divine trees at the end of the trail.
Tea picking experience at tea plantation and tea ceremony in the bamboo forest【Duration: 2 hours】
Alishan is renowned for its high mountain tea; therefore, simply tasting the tea in a tea farm or factory is not enough. We would like to bring you to enjoy the tea ceremony in the peaceful bamboo forest! It is the best way to embrace the nature and relax your mind. After that, you will be taken to the tea terraces to learn how to pick the tea leaves.
Hiking above Cloud: Hehuan Main Peak and East Peak【Duration: Main Peak 2 hours (out-and-back) / East Peak: 2 hours (out-and-back)】
Despite its altitude of more than 3,000 meters, Mt. Hehuan has a road that goes right across it, forming a convenient access. The scenery changes with the seasons: blossoming wild flowers in spring, lush green in summer, bleak in autumn, and spread of snow in winter. Jade mountain rhododendrons prosper along the Hehuan East Peak Trail. In May and June, a sea of fuchsia blossoms makes the mountain colorful.
Zhuilu Old Road【Duration: 3-5 hours (out-and-back)】
Zhuilu Old Trail is one of the best trails at Taroko Gorge that you can’t miss. Not only are you able to see the magnificent cliff, but also to explore the historic path that tells the story of the early days when Taiwan was under the control of Japan.
Stay One Night at Choo Art Villa
Choo Are Villa is an ecological villa with only four rooms. In order not to damage the centuries-old tree, the designer integrated the trees into the building, giving the villa a unique interior view.
The Rough Schedule:
Day 1: Arrival / Transfer to Miaoli / Stay in Miaoli
Day 2: Head for Alishan / Half-day trekking at Alishan / Stay at Alishan
Day 3: Half-day trekking at Alishan / Tea picking experience and tea ceremony in the bamboo forest / Stay at Sun Moon Lake
Day 4: Trekking at Mt. Hehuan / Stay at Taroko Gorge
Day 5: Full-day trekking at Taroko Gorge / Stay at Taroko Gorge
Day 6: Half-day trekking at Taroko Gorge / Stay at Yilan
Day 7: Enjoy Hot Spring / Half free day on Taipei / Stay in Taipei
Day 8: Departure
Tracy and Chua’s Feedback:
Reliable, well-planned, thoughtful. All you can ask for in a customised visit, in terms of catering for what we wanted. They listened and delivered. Clint was our guide and made everything a Breeze and very enjoyable. Bonus were the many pictures he took for us!
Tracy and Chua were satisfied with the trip and hoped to conquer, Jade Mountain, Taiwan’s highest mountain as soon as possible. Tracy also mentioned that maybe next time she will ask her parents to come together. They can do some general sightseeing and walking tour while Tracy and her husband go trekking!
John Muir, an American author and environmental philosopher, once said: “the mountains are calling and I must go.” As Taiwan announces 2020 as the Year of the Mountain, we invite travelers who love mountain and trekking to explore the beauty of mountain with us!