Hey there, I’ve earlier wrote about how we drove up Mount Hehuan on a rainy day. Visibility was bad! Today, I’m gonna show you our second attempt driving from Cingjing to Hehuanshan – this time in absolutely perfect weather. Join me as I’ll share what we experienced along the way – the traffic condition, the mountain road, the scenery and all.
Psst, you’ll get to see Taroko National Park too!
To recap, the reason why we chose to drive up Mount Hehuan on our own via a rental car was because we wanted flexibility. Having a car would make it easy for us to hike the various peaks at Hehuanshan.
Do you love travel freedom too? Would you like to do more at Hehuanshan than just view sunrise from a roadside platform? If so, this article is for you.
Before you continue, I suggest that you check out our bad-weather drive to Hehuanshan because that article included some basic road information. Once you have done so, let us begin our sunny drive to Hehuanshan.
Self-Drive from Cingjing to Hehuanshan (Sunny Day Version)
Repeating yesterday’s morning itinerary, we made sure we had a filling breakfast at our B&B in Cingjing before setting off for the mountain.
TIP: Can you see the sky’s reflection off the table top? This B&B – Guanghu Siji Minsu – offers stunning views. I’m not kidding!
First Stop: Yuanfeng Lookout (鳶峰觀景台)
Half an hour into our drive from Cingjing to Hehuanshan, we passed by Yuanfeng Lookout (see location) and decided to check it out.
There’s a public toilet and a handful of stalls selling fresh produce such as vegetables and fruits. Unfortunately, those were not the kind of stuff we would be interested in buying on our way up a mountain. That’s fine, let’s check out the views here.
Sadly, the view at Yuanfeng Lookout was not quite memorable. Maybe it’ll be more spectacular at other times of the day? I do not know.
In any case, if you are going to be here at the same time as us (morning after sunrise), then I don’t think this place requires a deliberate stop. Well, unless you need a toilet break or love to purchase some fresh Taiwanese produce.
Sunny vs Rainy Drive – Cingjing to Hehuanshan
Continuing our drive, we noted a distinct difference as compared to yesterday’s rainy-day drive. Today’s perfect climate meant more vehicles on the road and hence, more “squeezing” maneuvers needed. As shared in my earlier post, the mountain road has only one lane that has to be shared with all vehicles, including oncoming ones.
Watch the video below to see one of the many “squeezy” encounters we had in this drive.
Other than the squeeze that caused us to slow down, there were also a couple of times when we trailed behind slow-moving trucks. As you can tell, it’s not easy or advisable to overtake them under such road conditions.
But these large vehicles did provide some psychological benefits by making us feel safer. Their sheer size seemed to act as a giant shield to protect us against oncoming vehicles – some of which we couldn’t see due to the numerous blind spots and mountain bends.
All in all, we were only slightly delayed as compared to yesterday’s rainy-day drive. Perhaps, today’s drier road and excellent visibility more than made up for any delays caused by the busier traffic.
TIP: We drove up Mount Hehuan after sunrise to avoid the tourists. That’s probably why the traffic was still considerably smooth.
Scenic Drive near the top: Hehuanshan
Yesterday, we couldn’t see a thing due to poor visibility. Today, we were pleasantly surprised that the drive was quite a scenic one near the top. The captivating view – a mix of wild vegetation, rugged rock walls, vast blue sky and mountain ranges – made the drive an experience on its own.
Watch the short video to see the best part of the drive.
Second Stop: Wuling Viewing Platform (武嶺)
Soon, we arrived at Wuling Viewing Platform, which is the highest altitude paved road in Taiwan (see location). Yesterday, we couldn’t see a thing due to poor weather. Today, the visibility was great, but the view was still just average. :)
Yeah, we were a little disappointed. But that’s okay. We would be hiking up Hehuanshan East Peak later – that would be the highlight of the trip, thankfully!
By the way, temperature here was 12°C on a bright and sunny morning (in January). Yesterday, it was 7°C on a rainy day.
Destination Reached: Parked our car at 3158 Cafe
Finally, we reached our destination – 3158 Cafe (see location). On a bright and sunny day, the wooden building makes a nice contrast with the vast blue sky and fluffy clouds.
Hehuanshan Lookout on a Sunny Morning (合歡山瞭望臺)
Once again, we crossed over to the other side of the road to get to Hehuanshan Lookout (see location). The view was much better than what we saw yesterday, but not something worth shouting about.
Hmmm, it seems like the views we’ve seen on our way up Hehuanshan couldn’t match those offered by Cingjing Farm and our B&B.
But wait! If you hike a peak here, it would be a different story!
INFO: There’s a toilet here that you could use. But be prepared to wash your hands in icy-cold water.
Hike Hehuanshan East Peak (合歡山東峰)
From Cafe 3158, we made our way to Song Syue Lodge and began our hike up Hehuanshan East Peak, the second tallest peak here at Hehuanshan.
You can read more about our hike HERE.
Driving down Mount Hehuan
Done with the hike and on our way down Hehuanshan, we stopped by Kunyang Rest Point to visit a relatively popular attraction. It’s the Taroko National Park Boundary Marker (太魯閣國家公園界碑), or specifically, the western boundary of Taroko National Park (see location).
Stepping on this land signifies that you have been to the renowned Taiwan destination. But to be fair, Taroko National Park offers a lot more than just a mere stone marker. You can check out my Taroko Gorge adventures to see what this geological terrain truly offers.
INFO: Taroko National Park is more commonly accessed from the east (Hualien) than from central Taiwan, where the stone marker is located.
Now, let me show you the view of Taroko National Park, seen from its western boundary. It wasn’t spectacular but was probably one of the better views seen thus far.
To be honest, I was actually more drawn by the tall grass than the stone marker or the views here. Thought it makes beautiful backdrops for photos. But too bad, I don’t have a dedicated photographer.
And then we made our way down the mountain. This was an easy drive as compared to yesterday’s descend when we could hardly see what was ahead of us.
And that’s all I have for you today. The drive to Mount Hehuan seems very doable, isn’t it? Do remember to drive up only when the weather permits. :)
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