Car navigating around Hehuanshan (合歡山)
Hehuanshan, also known as Joy Mountain in English (though I didn't know about it until I wiki it...) is a 3,416 metres high mountain in Taiwan. The peak lies between Nantou (Sun Moon Lake) and Hualien counties, and is within the Taroko National Park. You can actually get a driver that brings you from Hualien to Nantou but we didn't do so as we were traveling clockwise around Taiwan.
Hehuanshan is a popular destination local and foreign tourists. It is exceptionally popular during the summer as everyone wants to get away from the summer heat, as well as in winter as it snows during December/January, something that we can't see in other parts of Taiwan. Both the 3,421-metre East Peak and 3,422-metre North Peak of Hehuanshan are higher than the main peak.
Wu Ling (武嶺) - read from right to left
Wuling (武嶺), at 3,275 metres, is the highest point accessible by public roads. It is saddled between the Main Peak and the East Peak, hence you get a beautiful panoramic view of the whole place, with deep valleys, high cliffs, and rocky peaks entirely within one’s sight.
Climbing Mt Shimen (石門山)
There are many peaks that one can climb to, however, as it was only a day trip to Hehuanshan for us, we only managed to climb Mt Shimen (石門山). Mt Shimen is 3,237 metres, and can be reached pretty easily without any climbing gear in less than 45 minutes.
Left: Steps to Mt Shimen; Right: Views halfway up Mt Shimen
There are irregular steps being built along the path up Mt Shimen, so it's really not that difficult to climb up. It is apparently also one of the best spot for sunrise as well as taking photos of star trail at night.
Sign warning us not to enter as they are breeding Fargesia murielae
And we reached the peak!
Blue skies and green pastures
Attempting another peak (yes that's me in the photo faraway...!)
A photo speak louder than words!
Left: Yet another view of Hehuanshan; Right: Starting point for Hehuanshan Main Peak
It is very difficult to finish climbing Hehuanshan in just one day. There are many peaks to conquer and we are not equipped with the proper gear to climb most of the peaks. We might be back to conquer some of the peaks, who knows? 😉
Before I go into more information on Hehuanshan, see our Taiwan travel itinerary here!
Accessibility: Definitely the most mind-boggling question in everyone's mind. Unfortunately, there is no public transport up the mountain, the only way up is via a tour bus or by hiring a private driver. I would advise against renting a car and driving up yourself as the roads are winding and narrow and could potentially be dangerous for someone not familiar with the area. We hired a private driver (recommended by our hostel hosts) who brought us from Cingjing to Hehuanshan to Taichung (will update the price when I remember...) The driver was very nice and you can negotiate with him the places that you want to visit.
Timing: When is the best time to visit? We visited the place in August, when luckily for us the typhoon had just passed. I'm not sure when is the the best time but I would think that almost every month throughout the year would have been nice, as long as the weather's not rainy and there's no typhoons. In December / January, you may even get to see snow at Hehuanshan Main Peak!
Activities: Just to name a few: conquering the peaks; watching sunrise, sea of clouds, sunset; taking photos of star trails at night.
Duration: It really depends on what you plan to do. If you are just there to have a feel of the place, a day trip would have probably suffice. If you are there to conquer some of the peaks, you will need to allocate more days there. As we were traveling around the whole Taiwan, we didn't plan more days in Hehuanshan. X was thinking of coming back to conquer some of the peaks, we will see how! 😉
Route: There are several routes that you can take - from Hualien; from Cingjing and from Sun Moon Lake.
Lodging: There is a hotel - the highest in Taiwan actually - that you can stay if you are planning to conquer some peaks there. It's called Song Syue Lodge (松雪樓) and more information can be obtained here.
Weather: As the place is generally more than 3,000 metres above sea level, Hehuanshan is generally very cooling and windy. Sunblock should be a must for everyone to prevent UV burns. The weather can be a little dry so moisturizer is advised. When we went in August, it wasn't very chilly, so we donned on only a jacket. Do bring a windbreaker if you'd like.
Health: Even if you exercise regularly, it is still possible for one to get altitude sickness. Do know your limit and take it slow when attempting the peaks.
Ravindra Parasnis says
Lovely ! Thinking of visiting.
Jasline N. says
Thank you Ravindra, hope you get to visit there soon!
hi, may I know the hotel you stayed in hehuanshan? I am planning to go there but still not sure where to stay. Thank you.
Jasline N. says
Hi Santy! We stayed at Starry Minsu at Cingjing and hired a private driver to Hehuanshan. We did not stay overnight at Hehuanshan, but head down to Taichung for the night!
Hi Jasline. If i wish to travel from a hostel in taichung to hehuanshan, how do i go about hiring a driver? Because i wish to watch the sunrise at hehuanshan. the only public bus from taichung station starts at 8am which is too late in my opinion
Jasline N. says
Hi Jarrold, you can try asking your hostel to recommend you a driver, as that's what we did when we hired our private drivers. I think the timing will be quite tight if you want to watch sunrise at hehuanshan when you are coming from Taichung. Why not stay a night at hehuanshan then watch sunrise the next day? (:
Superfoods #2: Coconut Sugar | Go Bake Yourself says
[…] Last but not least, Jasline from The Foodie Baker travels all around the world and shares her awesome journey! She is a sweetheart who gave me the Liebster Award, thank you my friend! Check out her latest adventure to Taiwan! […]
kitchen flavours says
Beautiful views! Hehuanshan is a beautiful place!
Wow! looks like you had lots of fun in Taiwan...I don't know why my friends who visited told me it's not fun!
You do take some beautiful holidays, Jasline. The views here are really beautiful and the clouded blues skies the perfect canopy. Too bad it was but a day trip.
Gorgeous photos. it does make me want to go to Taiwan and explore this area - those views are just beautiful!
Is it fine to climb during Nov/Dec? Still thinking about where to head to at the end of this yr.
Gorgeous photo's and breathtaking vista's. The sky is so blue and those clouds are amazing against the green peaks. Wow!!
Choc Chip Uru says
I am hooked to your holiday, so much to see 😀
The scenery is stunning!
Bam's Kitchen (@bamskitchen) says
A beautiful holiday. Look at those blue skies!!! Living here in HK that is a real rare event. You do need to be very careful when climbing at altitudes as you need to stay hydrated and take time to aclimate as you can get very sick if you take it too fast.