Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunrise at Hehuanshan (合歡山觀日出) @ Cingjing Farm [Nantou, Taiwan]

I was almost regretting our decision when i had to climb out of bed at 3.30am to get ready for the sunrise tour at Hehuanshan that was arranged the day before.

It didn't help that the attire we brought along for the trip was not appropriate for the freezing temperature! It is April, for goodness sake and how could it be so cold!?!!? I, myself, donned at least four layers of clothes and yet i could feel the chill eating into my bones!

Weather, according to the mini-bus driver, was not favourable to catch the sunrise as it was too cloudy / misty, as evidenced in the above picture. Temperature at this point was actually 2.6 degrees celcius! 

We noticed a few of the travellers were unravelling winter jackets from the overhead compartment and upon checking, came to realise they were for passengers like us who have ignorantly forgotten to pack winter wear! They had a bit of smell but well, beggars can't be choosers! 

The mini-bus shuttling us to the peak - it was obvious that the sun would not be showing its face that morning and it was decided (by the driver since we are not experts) to catch the sea of clouds (云海) instead. 

Which was impressive yet didn't quite blow my mind away. Maybe i was too disappointed that Mother Nature has decided to deprive my chance of catching sunrise at such high altitude. :(

Rest of those who travelled with us in the same bus appeared genuinely excited and there were many taking a million photographs to permanently save the moment.

Alex eventually did it too even though the picture didn't turn out nice due to the natural back light effect. And it's impossible to ask him to wait a while longer for me to change the settings as this weakling wanted to get back to the heated bus ASAP!

So, i had to resort to my amateur Photoshop skill to superimpose him onto an existing picture! Okay lah, it turned out quite alright.

This was the original photograph. Hahaha. Photoshop is a very powerful software and could do marvels on those pictures you have taken; i should explore saving in raw format as i understand it would allow for greater flexibility! 

Honestly, how mesmerised could you be when faced with the same scenery for twenty minutes? If there is a bed, i would have jumped into it for a restful sleep. Point is, there wasn't any and i got restless as usual.

Like some, i attempted to climb up the hill even though i had to admit the slippery slope wasn't that easy to climb and the last thing we want is to have my obituary in The Straits Times.

It wasn't even 6am and the whole area was already lit! For those who are interested, it took us roughly eighty minutes to get to this place from our minsu, with a toilet stop in between. 

Last look before we left! 

Our NT$400 / person sunrise tour hasn't ended yet; we were brought to several viewing platforms on our way back. The first one was at one of Hehuanshan's peak at 3,150 meters.

Temperature has increased although it was still a chilly 8.3 degrees Celcius with a strong wind blowing towards us. Which means Alex simply didn't want to get out!!!!

This road, the only one leading to Hehuanshan, is accessible by everyone except during the peak winter season when there is a likelihood of snowfall up the mountain. 

However, travellers on self drive might want to think twice on driving up yourself as visibility can be horrendously low. 

Hikers / Mountain climbers should also re-consider your decision unless you are confident of your navigation skills in bad weather condition. 

Viewing platform that was shrouded by fog.

A futile effort to look beyond a few hundred meters and that's a pity as the surrounding view was said to be spectacular and out of the world; definitely a welcome sight for an urban dweller. 

See!! Supposed to be so pretty right?!?!?! Sianz...

Strangely, i was thinking of barbecued chicken when i saw this plump friendly bird (looked like the robin bird). Guess the dinner at Carton King was too early and my stomach has not had anything since waking up at 3.30am.

Godspeed to the hikers! Weather was said to be very unpredictable in Taiwan during the period we went; one cab driver in Taichung told us that in the morning we were in Hehuanshan, it was snowing in Yushan (Taiwan's tallest mountain at 3,952 meters).

Our second viewing platform which was a five-minute drive away. 

One of seven peaks in Hehuanshan, Wuling (武嶺) has an elevation of 3,275 meters and said to be a favourite spot for bird watchers. 

Well, i could not confirm since i could not even see anything!!! Luckily i didn't pay very much for this tour although i would like it's of no fault to the operator; just a matter of bad luck.

Rein in your kids if you know they are hyperactive and not known to listen to kind advice and instructions!

Kunyang - the last stopover for us. Previously known as South of Hehuanshan, it borders Taroko National Park; another place that i should make a point to visit in my next trip to Taiwan!


The sunrise tour could be purchased from the Cingjing minsu / hotel you are staying in and the driver would pick you from the doorstep. For more details, you can refer to the e-go bus service website at 

NT$400 per person

Roughly 3 hours


  1. I stayed in the same minsu as you in 2012 Dec and also didn't manage to catch the sunrise at Hehuanshan, such a pity.

    1. Wah! you went for so many days!!!!!

  2. Hi can I check how do I get from taipei to cingjing? Do u guys have drivers details ? The sunrise tour is in cingjjing? Is this on the way to Taichung ?

    1. Hi Sheevonne,

      I didn't engage a driver from Taipei to Cingjing so i could not comment on it but you sure can take the HSR to Taichung and then take the shuttle bus up Cingjing. At the Taichung HSR, you can also find cab drivers who would take you up for an agreed price.

      The sunrise tour is in Cingjing and Hehuanshan, in this case, is actually on the way to Hualien and not Taichung. You may wish to read my Taiwan itinerary at

      Enjoy! :)

  3. Anonymous11:14 PM

    What a great adventure! Hope to visit some of the sites mentioned by the previous travelers. Thanks for sharing these wonderful places.