Mount Hehuanshan - Sunrise
The best months for a sunrise tour to the top of Mount Hehuanshan or Hehuan are during the driest time of the year from December until March. The sunlight has a little variation from summer to winter rising in June shortly after 5 and in January around 6.40.
Consider Three Things If You Like to Watch a Sunrise Above the Clouds
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 on weekdays, weekends are super busy and fully booked. Don’t book the room far 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 it was always foggy and rainy.
Taiwan's climate is subtropical with wet and humid summers. Snow is common during winter mostly in January and February, and it gets very busy here. Most precipitation from April to July. There is less rain from August to November and the driest months are December until March, but pretty cold. Anyhow, even in the driest season, you can expect rain. During summer it's refreshing cool on 3000 m elevation.
- 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.
Hehuanshan National Recreation Area is located in central Taiwan at the edge of Hualien and Nantou county situated on the Western boundary 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. It’s a scenic drive always up to 3150 meters elevation.
Where to Stay and How to Make a Reservation Without Chinese Language Skills
There is only one lodge; Songxue or Song Syue Lodge which offers luxury accommodations and is the highest hotel in Taiwan. The owner of the hotel also runs the hostel; Huaxue Lodge which is just below the hotel five minutes walk away. If you stay in the hotel or hostel dinner and breakfast are included. The hotel is comfier the reason that most of the people like to stay there. Some people experience altitude sickness. The lodge provides oxygen in this case. The hostel is without heating and has wooden door rooms, four and more Japanese futons in one room. Anyhow, each bed has a heating blanket which is quite sufficient for the night. The facilities are clean and hot showers are available. When we came here in November, we were the only guests in the whole hostel. The price was 1.200 TWD p.p. in November 2017.
Decide if you like to book a room in the hotel or hostel. You can either give them a call, but not all of the employees speak English or book it online. The hotel website is in Chinese only. Go to a visitor center in one of the many National Parks or Recreational Areas and ask if they can make the booking for you online. First, they need to create an account for you before they can make the reservation. The passport number is requested, but you don't need to pay a deposit just the whole amount when you arrive preferred in cash. Some people mention on their website you could camp at the visitor center, but this is not allowed and could be quite cold and wet.
Where Else to Stay
The best rated (tripadvisor 5 stars) and closest B&B to Mount Hehuanshan is 31 Minsu. It's a 40 km drive which may take 1 h 15 min. to Hehuanshan. Click the link for direct booking with tripadvisor.
Hehuanshan East Peak for the sunrise 3.421 m
The famous path is just 1.3 km long to the top, but due to the high elevation, it takes more than an hour much longer than expected to climb up the steep trail. The difference in height is roughly 270 meters. The trailhead is located behind the Song Syue Lodge, but you can park your car at the lodge only if you stay there. Sunrise is around 6 am depending on the time of the year. The most spectacular time is before sunrise. If you like to watch the sunrise from the top of the east peak start 1 ½ hour before dawn. Anyhow, if you can’t get up so early, walk just half of it for this incredible experience. To be honest, most of the people watch the sunrise just from their room or balcony.
Hehuanshan main peak 3.417 m
It’s a maximum of 2 hours walk in total on concrete. The advantage even in dense fog you can walk along the trail.
- Mount Shihmen Peak 3.237 m The peak is easily accessible, and the trail is 750 m long, roughly ½ an hour always climbing up. It is also famous for the sunrise, and it takes less effort to get to the top as it is for Hehuanshan East Peak.
Cilai Mountain north peak 3.607, Cilai Mountain 3.560 to Kaluolou 3.413 m
A permit is necessary otherwise it can be fined with up to TWD 30.000. There are cabins for overnight stays on the long and strenuous trail. The trailhead is at the hostel and looks very exciting. Some local hikers had a closer look, and so did we just for an hour. Especially this trail is rich in vegetation with trees and bushes growing in high altitudes such as different Rhododendron, Bamboo, Taiwan Fir and Coniferous like the widespread Chinese Hemlock.
Hehuanshan north peak 3.422 m and west peak 3.145 m
The trails start at the visitor center and headquarter of Taroko National Park nearby.
Free entrance to the park.