Mount Hehuanshan - Sunrise
Travel Update Summer 2020: Most destinations, sites and parks reopened with limitations. Check the official websites and read our crucial ‘BEST TIME TO GO' and ‘AVOIDING THE CROWDS’ tips:
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. Read our must-know tips below. If you're interested in detailed weather information jump directly to our Detailed Monthly Weather guide for Mount Hehuanshan.
6 Quick Must-Know Tips | Including Sunrise and Weather Forecast
Sunrise view in November
Before we continue with the weather details and more tips below, check out the most important things you should know:
- Best Hotels in Cingjing Farm - Renai: Via booking.com with low price guarantee. Bookmark the booking page to save time and money! Cingjing Farm is the closest place. From there you drive 40 minutes to Mt. Hehuanshan. Some visitors arrange a tour to Mt Hehuanshan from their hotel there! You can also drive on your own.
- Basic Info Song Syue Lodge: The highest hotel in Taiwan. Located at an elevation of 3150 meters on Mt Hehuanshan. It’s hard to book a room there since it's difficult in English. Read this TripAdvisor post for more details: TripAdvisor - Foreigner Booking at Song Syue Lodge. However, you should only book there if you’re sure about the weather (read below). Most visitors let their hotel where they stay before do the booking.
- Sunrise vs Other Times: Experience the sunrise up there at Mt Hehuanshan is a once in a lifetime experience. Like one visitor said after he returned: ‘Now, my life is complete!’ But still, any other time on the mountain besides sunrise is also amazing. The views are just stunning! Believe us!
- Watching the Sunrise: Most visitors watch the sunrise from the lodge only. We highly recommend to walk for at least 10-15 minutes on the trail for a much better experience (read more below about the trails). You don’t have to walk the whole east trail to the peak, as it can be difficult due to the altitude. However, believe us when we say walk at least a little.
- Rental Car Tip: Don’t make the mistake and book your rental car on the spot (at the airport etc.). You’ll pay a lot more and it’s not even guaranteed to get one. Use this link (via rentalcars.com) for the major brands (Hertz, Avis, Europcar, etc.) for the cheapest rates. Special Tip: Do not rent a large car, as the roads up to Mt Hehuanshan are sort of narrow. The smaller the car, the easier the drive.
- Weather Forecast Mt Hehuan: Check the weather forecast via this link. While visiting the peak in good weather is stunning, it’s definitely a disappointment during bad weather. That’s why we recommend to book the lodge (or hostel) not too far in advance. Read more in our weather section below. If you'd like to check the area right before you go, use the webcams (let Google translate the site for you): Webcams Mt Hehuan
Monthly Weather | Temperatures at Mt Hehuanshan
Mount Hehuan view around 10 a.m. with pleasant weather
How is the weather at Mt. Hehuan during a certain month? How cold is it up there in the winter? How often does it rain in the summer? We compiled the most reliable data from official sources for Mount Hehuanshan for you. There is no weather station at Mount Hehuanshan. Thus, almost every other statistic on the internet you find is from another station somewhere at a lower elevation. Those are not the ‘real temperatures’ for Hehuanshan at 3400 meters. That’s why we used official historical data and put it together for you. Here is what you need to know:
- Colder Up There: It’s 8-10 degrees Celsius colder at 3400 meters at Mt. Hehuanshan compared to lower elevations in areas nearby. Example: When you check weather forecasts or statistics at nearby Cingjing Farm (where you might stay), and it shows 16 degrees, it will be around 6 degrees at the top of Mount Hehuanshan. The difference is even higher from other towns/areas like
- Colder at Night: It’s even colder at night and on mornings of course: During the night the temperature roughly decreases by another 6 degrees. Keep that in mind as you have you’ll be out there during the night or very early in the morning when going for the stunning sunrise view.
Sony Syue Lodge displaying the temperature. This was after we returned between 6 and 7 am
The weather table below provides you with temperature details for every month at Mount Hehuanshan. The shown average low temperature is what you might experience in the early morning. Although sometimes it can be even colder by another 1-2 degrees. The average high is what you may experience during the day (from around noon until early evening).
Rainfall and Snow: In the summer months you should definitely be prepared for rain at Mount Hehuanshan. It’s possible to experience rainfall for 24 hours without a break during wet season. In the winter months rain is a lot less likely. Snow is possible especially between December and February. However, heavy snowfall is rare. In the winter of 2017/2018 the heaviest snowfall was in early February and caused a 10 cm blanket of snow: Hehuanshan blanketed in winter’s thickest snowfall Please keep in mind, that the below numbers are averages. A rainy day doesn’t mean it rains all day. It could also be a 15 minute shower:
Note: One day with rainfall doesn't mean a full day of rain
Forecast: It’s highly recommend to check the weather forecast a few days in advance (up to 7 days) before you book your room at Syue Lodge up there. The problem: It’s hard to find a reliable forecast for Mount Hehuanshan. Most cover only the counties and towns around it. Bookmark the following link as it’s the only official and reliable forecast: Taiwan Central Weather Bureau - Hehuan Mountain East Peak
What to Wear: For your Mt Hehuanshan winter visit you must bring warm clothes as it’s one of the highest places you’ll visit in Taiwan. A thick jacket, warm trousers, gloves as well as a hat and a scarf are highly recommended. From spring until fall you should bring sunscreen. The great thing about a summer visit is the refreshing coolness at an elevation of 3000-3400 meters.
General Taiwan Climate: Subtropical with wet and humid summers. Snow is common during winter mostly in January and February, and it gets very busy here. Most precipitation occurs from April to August. There is less rain from September to November and the driest months are December until March, but pretty cold. However, even in the driest season, you can expect some rain.
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.
- 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 m 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. One night in the hostel including dinner and breakfast buffet cost around 1.200 TWD (36€ p.p).
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 centre 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 centre, 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 centre and headquarter of Taroko National Park nearby.
Free entrance to the park.