We were hesitant to visit Taipei and Nantou County on a solitary trip. A solid and steady itinerary couldn’t help. As beginners in Taiwan, we pulled-off DIY (do-it-yourself) excursions in Taipei and hired a tour guide for Hehuanshan, Nantou County.
Our first three (3) days in Taiwan worked out positively. On the fourth day, we took the 5:00 AM trip from Taipei Bus Station (located next to Taipei Main Station) in Datong District bound to Taichung City. The tickets are sold starting at NT$250 (per ticket, per way) and the journey, for the most part, takes 2.5 hours depending on the traffic situation. The least expensive tickets are offered by the Kuo Kuang Bus and Ubus operators.
The journey with these bus coaches is genuinely relaxing. The spacious seats can be slanted to a dozing position with USB ports on its side for charging and the toilet is likewise accessible at the lower deck.
Fast forward, we reached Taichung City around 7:00 AM– thirty (30) minutes earlier than we thought. We waited for our tour guide at the designated bus stop in front of Hung’s Mansion, Chao Ma (Taiwan Blvd.)– it is the first station right after passing the expressway.
The Guided Tour Preparation
Hehuan Mountain (aka Mt. Hehuan or Hehuanshan) is likewise called “Mountain of Joy” with a rise of 3,417 meters above sea level. This is the most famous spot to observe snow in Taiwan because of the fact that its pinnacle is reachable by vehicle or on foot. On the other hand, it likewise snows at numerous spots in Taiwan with higher elevations, similar to Snow Mountain, Yangmingshan, Jade Mountain, etc.
While we waited for our tour guide, we had a brisk breakfast at the Family Mart found simply opposite the bus station. And afterward, we met our tour guide with his 8-seater taxi minutes later. At that point, we continued to pick up the other four (4) persons and head on to the tour.
While we were inside the vehicle, we became more acquainted with our tour guide, Jung Hsin. He possesses a good sense of humor. A man who hurls jokes continuously; no dull moments as they say.
We were humming a lot of questions to Jung Hsin. One question remained significant; “Will we be able to see snowfall?”. However, he wasn’t certain since he has not been to Hehuanshan for months. But, there was only one thing he was certain of– the temperature would be freezing cold. In fact, we stopped by a convenience store, purchased warmer packs, medicine for motion sickness, and grabbed a couple of food.
Read on as we enumerate our seven (7) destinations during our Hehuanshan, Nantou County with Guided Tour:
Indulged with Sakura in Nantou County
Great news for cherry blossoms season fans; if you can’t afford to experience sakura in Japan, you can actually indulge with the ones in Taiwan. But it only occurs between February and March in chosen spots of Taiwan. So plan your itinerary well.
For our experience, we made a point to slip in our own rendition of Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) into our itinerary. No spoilers, we were able to witness the blooming cherry trees in pink very close along the road of 阿嬤商店, Nantou County. It was our first time, and truly, we were in explicit child-like awe while snapping photographs of this natural wonder.
At the point when we descended from the highlands of Hehuanshan, we dropped by for another cherry blossom viewing at 南投縣仁愛鄉春陽社區發展協會, Nantou County. The cherry trees are likewise sitting alongside the road and partially covering the place with cherry blossoms.
Behold the “Traditional English Mansion” in the Highlands of Nantou County
Another fascinating destination we had in the highlands of Nantou was at The Old England Manor. A conventional English mansion situated on the road up to Cingjing Farm.
Old England is considered one of the most lavish and costly Bed & Breakfast in Taiwan which manifests the ancient British structure and tradition. You’ll immediately notice these features even from the exteriors.
Unfortunately, Old England is only restrictive for checked-in guests. Behold the extrinsic beauty of this Tudor-style mansion if you wish to visit.
Kunyang Rest Stop
On our way up to Hehuanshan, we gradually noticed that the mist was getting thicker as the altitude was rising. Generally, around thirty-five (35) minutes driving from Old England Manor, we had a stop at Kunyang Rest Stop.
During a snowfall in the highlands of Hehuanshan, typically it could be experienced at this area firsthand– Jung Hsin iterated. Kunyang Rest Stop has an elevation of 3,070 meters above sea level and the temperature was chilly 8°C when we were there.
Kunyang Rest Stop has all the resting essentials for travelers, like car parking, toilets, benches for seating, and magnificent scenery.
Literally, we were experiencing shortness of breath at that point and as we headed towards the highlands.
High-Altitude Road of Wuling
Twenty (20) minutes from Kunyang Rest Stop, we finally arrived at Wuling– the highest point that a vehicle can reach for Hehuanshan Main Peak hiking. We were determined to witness snowfall, but unfortunately, there were no indications that it was snowing days before our arrival.
We weren’t physically prepared for a hike to Hehuanshan Main Peak on that day, which is 2.6 KM or forty-five (45) minutes walk from Wuling. Instead, we settled with the enchanting landscape from the viewing decks of Wuling.
Hehuanshan National Forest Recreation Area
Mt. Hehuan is labeled as Taiwan’s “tourist mountain” and is unceasingly drawing the attention of hikers all over the world. In fact, Hehuanshan National Forest Recreation Area is the starting point for exhilarating treks, similar to the one to Chilai Ridge.
Throughout the winter season, the temperature in Mt. Hehuan can be extremely cold. So it’s not surprising when you see this recreational facility deserted on cold months. However, if you are up for hiking, the best time to go up is during autumn and spring.
From this recreational facility, we began to descend and headed to our next destinations.
CingJing Farm (清境農場)
Cingjing Farm is a favored weekend destination for both locals and foreigners, elderly, and children all year round. Located at an altitude of 1,759 meters above the sea level, Cingjing Farm has gained its popularity through its favorable climate and unique attractions.
Cingjing Farm offers various attractions like Evergreen Grassland, Heritage Collection, Equestrian Show, Cingjing Sheep Show, Small Swiss Garden, and many more. Check their fare of tickets below:
The Cingjing Farm reception was insanely busy when we arrived at 3:00 PM and they said most of the shows are already done for that day. Without a second thought, we did not set our feet into Cingjing Farm and hopped to our next stop instead.
Menggu Waterfall (夢谷瀑布)
Menggu Waterfall is an unseen tourist attraction located in the jungle of Nantou County. It is said to be a popular spot for photographers, according to Jung Hsin. This photogenic waterfall can be reached through private or public transportation. It’s an easy five (5) minutes walk from the parking area or 10-15 minutes walk from the main road.
We arrived at the waterfall late in the afternoon and there were no other sightseers in the area. Additionally, there were no indications that this place was developed as a tourist attraction, so there was no entrance fee.
If you want to get closer to the waterfall, wear something comfortable because the rocks are slippery and it’s menacing to hop on.
Here is our itinerary with a brief breakdown of expenses including the group tour package worth of NT$ 6,000 (divided by 6 persons) during our Hehuanshan, Nantou County guided tour.
5D4N Taiwan Series
- Day 1 in Taipei, Taiwan: Sample Itinerary & Travel Tips
- Day 2 in Taipei, Taiwan: Visiting Top 5 Destinations in 12 Hours (Itinerary + Tips)
- Day 3 in Taipei, Taiwan: Exploring Wenshan and Pingxi Districts
- Day 4 Taiwan: A Fun Hehuanshan, Nantou County Guided Tour
There you have it, our guided tour itinerary to Hehuanshan and Nantou County. We spent nearly ten (10) hours on this tour, still, we felt we haven’t got enough of Nantou.
Nevertheless, we would like to thank and shout out to the Facebook group named “Mga Pasyalan Sa Taiwan”. Through them, we were able to connect with other travelers and made this Hehuanshan tour feasible, economical, and fun.