February 4, 2017 (Day 5 Part 1) Climbing Hehuan or Joy Mountain is one of the reasons why we visited Nantou County. Mount Hehuan is a 3,416-metre-high mountain in Central Taiwan and can be reached by car and public bus. The peak lies on the boundaries of Nantou and Hualien counties and is within the Taroko Gorge National Park. Hehuanshan is a very popular destination for both the local people of central Taiwan and hikers due to its accessibility and weather. If you happen to visit during the winter months then you may be lucky enough to see the majestic and picturesque snow-capped mountain. You can also find the highest point of Taiwan Highway called Hehuan Wuling which is 3275 meters above sea level and is considered as the highest road in East Asia.
I booked Hehuan Sunrise Tour through our Minsu/Accommodation and it cost us NTD400 per person. If you’re in Cingjing and will spend a night there then just ask the hotel receptionist or your Minsu staff as they usually arrange this kind of tour. The tour includes a charter SUV for four hours and consists of several stops. The 7-seater van will be your service in going up to the mountain and down back to your accommodation. Call time is strictly at 3:45 am. It’s super early for night owls like me and so, we needed to rest early the night before. We were actually 5-10 minutes early for the call time, so we have spare time to check out the nearest convenience store for a cup of hot coffee that set us back around NTD30 each.
1st Stop at 2750 Meters
I noticed that we travel in convoy along with a bus, several cars and other SUVs, the road is way too dark and as per prior research, it’s very steep and dangerous. Knowing how steep and dangerous it is, makes me a little bit nervous and excited at the same time. I also noticed that all drivers have walkie-talkies and though I know that they’re giving signals and instructions, I really don’t understand any of it since they’re conversing in Mandarin. Our first stop is at 2750 Meters, Everyone stretches, brings out cameras and take photos of the signage while my husband and I stop for this big white friendly dog.
2nd Stop at 3158 Meters
Our second stop is at a cafe called 3158, mainly because it is situated on top of a mountain which is 3158 meters above sea level. The cafe is closed at this hour hence there is no way for us to try out their menu.
3rd Stop Sunrise Watching
Waking up early is kind of hard for people who kept on traveling nonstop: from Taipei to Kaohsiung, Kaohsiung to Taichung, Taichung to Puli, Puli to Songgang and now Songgang to Wuling. Still, I am happy that I book this tour because it’s worth it. It’s our first sunrise together standing atop of a mountain. My heart is filled with happiness and wishes for more lovely trips like this.
Although it’s quite dark, freezing cold, and literally you’re on edges of a high mountain, yet everyone is so busy finding the nicest spot for a photo opportunity. And as a photo enthusiast myself, I also set up my camera and soon as there is light we started to snap selfies and couple shots with our phone since our main cameras are busy filming the sunrise transition which I will include in my youtube vlog very soon.
As you can notice in the photos, all of us are bundled up because it is freaking 0 degrees at that time. So make sure to check for the weather forecast and dress appropriately.
4th Stop Hehuan Wuling
Hehuan Wuling is the highest point of Taiwan’s highway system with an altitude of 3275 meters above sea level. This road connects Taichung and Hualien via the well known Taroko Gorge. Though considered dangerous by most drivers due to its steep and winding road still many people especially photo enthusiast flock this place for the amazing view and at the same time for its weather. Because of its high altitude, you can expect a yearly 15 deg Celsius even during the sweltering heat of summer.
5th Stop Taroko National Park
Taroko National Park is quite famous for its gorge, though we really didnt visit the main park we stop at this landmark. It is also called as Kunyang Viewing point which is 3070 meters above sea level. This is the last stop of this tour.
About 4 Hours from 4am to 8am
Arrange Sunrise Tour
By Van NTD400 per person
- Check for weather forecast.
- Dress for the weather.
- Bring Snacks
Again, watch out for more Taiwan entries in a few days and since we traveled DIY, I will be posting Taiwan Free and Easy guide after my travelogues. Feel free to use the comment area below for questions and or share your experience with me by sharing it here. Also, I’m prepping my Youtube Channel so please do support by subscribing at RunawayMariaTV Don’t forget to follow my journey through my INSTAGRAM @runawaymaria and Facebook by tapping LIKE! See you in my next post.