Hehuanshan National Recreation Area is located on the Western edge of Taroko National Park. Depending on the traffic and the road work constructions in Taroko it takes 2 ½ to 3 hours to get there.
Consider three things if you like to watch a sunrise above the clouds on Mount Hehuanshan
1. Go weekdays
2. Don’t book your room far in advance.
3. Travel to Taiwan during the driest months to increase the chance.
Do you like to know more? Read the following tips to be successful in watching the sunrise for a jaw-dropping moment in your life.
Watching the sunrise on Mount Hehuanshan is very popular in Taiwan. If possible go weekdays, weekends are busy and fully booked. Don’t book the room in advance. Check the weather forecast when traveling through Taiwan Taiwan Weather
Pick a date when the forecast for the mountain range is good or even excellent. The receptionist told me often people are disappointed due to the bad weather. The whole week before our stay in November was always foggy and rainy.
Snow is common during winter mostly in January and February, and it gets very busy here.
- Visitor center opening hours: 8.30 until 4.30 pm but closed each month on the first and third Monday.
- The whole area is famous for its beautiful Rhododendrons in April and May.
We arrived 2 ½ hours before low tide and enjoyed the stunning walk through the forest, along with a boardwalk until we reached Burning Palms cabins and beach.
The famous and popular Figure 8 Pools are safely accessible around low tide only! The tides and swell must have a low level without strong wind to enjoy the amazing pools without an accident. Many people got injured here just for a perfect selfie.
Helpful Links (before you go)
To get to the Garrawarra Farm car park it’s a long drive through the park on sealed roads, only 1.5 km is gravel. Space is limited, and you are not allowed to park the car somewhere else. The entrance fee is 12 $ per car if you don’t have a multi or annual park pass for NSW. The gate closes at 8.30 pm and opens at 7:00 am. The hike to Figure 8 takes a maximum of 1½ hours, and the trail is 3.5 km long one way. No worries the trail is well marked, and there is no need for a map.
The park is mostly super busy during summer holidays and weekends as well. There is a lot of traffic, and car parks fill up soon.
The area around Sydney experiences hot summers with average daytime temps of almost 30°C and mild winters with an average daytime temp of about 20°C. There isn’t a wet or dry season, but droughts happen more often nowadays. On average rain occurs the whole year with more precipitation from January to June with its peak in March.
- From May to November you may spot whales along the coast.
- From July to November more than 700 different plants are in bloom on the plateau.
- The Visitor Center at Audley is open daily from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm.
Opening Hours from 7 am to 5 pm
Avoiding Crowds in Xitou is almost impossible. On weekdays it is a very popular place for the retired Taiwanese people, and they come here by bus for hiking. The first buses arrive around 8 am and from 9 onwards the park fills up soon. Around 3 pm the first buses leave the area and from 4 onwards the park, and for example, the skywalk is less busy. We arrived midweek, and there were round about several hundred busses. We got told by a hotel manager that it's always crowded like that. On weekends it's very popular for families especially in summer people come here to escape the heat.
In our opinion, the best option to enjoy this incredible beautiful nature is this loop trail which ends on the highest level of Xitou Nature Education Area. It took us 4 hours due to the long descent through the whole Xitou Park. The trail is 12 to 14 km long depending on the paths you chose on the way back through the park.
Start the hike early morning; often clouds roll in around midday and spoil the incredible view of the mountains and the sea of clouds.
Due to the higher elevation, the air is cooler and it often gets foggy. The wettest months are April/May until August.
Liuqiu Island is just 4 km long and 2 km wide best explored with a rental scooter. It looks like that the island can be super busy during the peak season.
Around the island of Liuqiu green sea turtles are often spotted.
During high tide: They come closer to the shore to feed on seaweed. You can even watch them from the shoreline while they are feeding. The sea can be quite rough, and you should be an experienced snorkeler or diver if you go by yourselves at some places. There are also several small beaches where you get easily into the sea.
During low tide: it’s easier to get into the sea, and snorkel tours are offered at Vase Rock. You will be supplied with a wetsuit, shoes, snorkel gear and life jacket. You stay together with the instructor and other snorkelers either holding a rope or lifebelt. It seems that there are fewer turtles around.
Weather of Southern Taiwan
It a tropical climate with warm temps and occasionally rain in winter often a heavy downpour in the afternoon. Summer is hot and humid and the south-west monsoon season lasts from May to September. Typically, typhoons occur from July to September.
Wheather for whole Taiwan
How to Avoid Crowds
Weekends are always super busy, and summer is the peak season in Taiwan. It’s boiling hot, and people come to the island for the beautiful beaches and sea. Midweek is much quieter, and in the morning it's still tranquil.
It took several years to build 101, and it was finished in 2004. The tower is 509 meters / 1.670 feet high and was the world’s tallest building until 2010.
Stunning view regardless of the season. However, it's busy almost year-round. Read on for our detailed 'when to go' insider tips:
Time of Day / Opening Hours
Elephant Mountain – Skyline View: Most impressive and perfect for a good shot in the early morning or early evening. In the afternoon the sky is often not clear.
Taipei World Trade Center 101: The outdoor observatory opens only if weather permits, check the large billboard above the ticket counter before you pay. Opening hours from 9 a.m. to 9.30 p.m.
How to Avoid Crowds
It’s a popular place, and the view is for free the reason that it is always a bit crowded. Anyhow, the view to the skyline is spectacular and a must when visiting Taipei. Even in the rain people walk uphill for this incredible experience as we did.For Chinese New Year's (usually late January or early February) fireworks people even come here a day before to occupy a good spot. Our tips to avoid the crowds at almost any time:
- Get there early to avoid the crowds. It’s very popular for the sunset and the city lighting.
- Avoid visiting on a weekend which already starts on Friday midday.
- If the weather is fine, it’s more crowded.
- June is also a favorite month due to the Computex; the biggest IT Show in Asia.
The iconic landmark may be one of the top attractions apart from museums and temples in Taipei. During our visit on a Friday, there were already too many people queuing; one hour waiting to get up and one hour to get down. We decided to see the skyline including the huge 101 Tower from above and walked to Elephant Mountain.
From April until October temps can be unpleasant hot with high humidity at daytime. In summer day temps are around 30°C and in winter (Dec. to Feb.) around 20°C while nights are cold with less than 10°C. Most precipitation from May to September but a dry season does not exist. The driest months are November to January with rainfall on average less than 100 mm.
Avoid the summer months and Chinese New Year when prices are on the highest level, accommodations are often fully booked and many places are overrun.