Little do people know that the island of Taiwan is home to some of Asia’s most beautiful landscapes including overlapping mountains, deep plunging valleys and spiritual lakes. Don your hiking boots to trek up Taiwan’s highest peak and see what we’re talking about before immersing yourself in complete tranquility at Sun Moon Lake. So if you’re a hands-on traveller that prefers to experience a country up close and personal rather than from the inside of a bus, then this trip is for you.
Peak bagging east asia
Arriving in Taiwan you’ll be whisked away straight to the heart of the island where the graceful Yushan Mountain Range lies. Made up of 11 peaks, you’ll have your eyes set on only one: Jade Mountain. Standing tall at 3,950 metres high, it will take you two days to reach the summit, and this isn’t a leisurely stroll. On your first day you’ll be hiking for 5 hours straight towards the Pai Yu Mountain Lodge. As you begin your trek it won’t take you long before you notice Taiwan’s exceptional beauty. Expansive jungle stretching for miles, crumbling cliff faces and amazing flora and fauna, be sure not to forget your camera.
Reaching base camp, you’ll be due a rewarding night’s sleep as the next day you’ll be setting off before dawn. The slopes will be steeper, the terrain will be rockier, the air gets thinner and the weather begins to get a bit colder, but every step is worth it. You’ll make it to the peak just as the sun begins to creep over the curvature of the earth. On a clear day you’ll be able to see all the way to the straits of the island and out to sea, but whatever the weather conditions, you’ve bagged the highest peak in the Far East.
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Tranquil lakeside relaxation
What goes up, must come down. And good thing the descent takes half as long. Upon reaching the base of the mountain you’ll be taken to Sun Moon Lake for some serious down time.
Staying at the Lalu Hotel, a gorgeous boutique that has stunning views of the tranquil lake, you’re in the perfect setting to unwind (and heal). Spend the next few days simply enjoying the surroundings. And if you’re still itching for some outdoor activities, there’s plenty to do. Hike the numerous trails to the highlands that surround you, row yourself towards the middle of the lake to Lalu Island, where couples once visited the matchmaking God. See the circumference of the lake by bicycle, or simply enjoy the views from the Lalu Hotel’s gorgeous infinity pool.
Temple culture and modern monasteries
But your stay at Sun Moon Lake will be at a loss if you don’t immerse yourself in some of Taiwan’s unique culture. The lake has numerous Chinese temples steeped in history and beautiful gardens surrounding it. Make a trip to Puli, a nearby town famous for its clean, refreshing water and home to Taiwan’s prettiest women (thanks to the water). Here, visit the Chung Tai Buddhist Monastery, a modern monastery masterpiece designed by the same architects as Taipei’s 101-sky scraper. Pay a visit to the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village where you’ll learn about the indigenous people of Taiwan and their culture and traditions. And if you’re longing for that one last adrenalin rush, why not take to the air. We’ll strap you into a paraglider to see the beauty of Taiwan for one last time before heading back home. The perfect memory to hold after an adventure-filled trip.