South Cross Island Highway

I did a search and came up with suprisingly little about this wonderful sounding place. Anywho I’m going to be in Kending for a day or three and was thinking about heading up and over the south cross highway for the return. I’m not set up for really long hikes or camping or anything but would like to stay up in the mountains for a night maybe in a hostel or whatever. Any recomendations on accomodation? Any bus schedule info? Etc.

P.S I’m leaving tomorow.


Incase you see this before you go, Bob, there is an excellent hostel just after the tunnel at Ya Kou. It is at about 4000 meters. It has amazing veiws and many walks nearby and most of the time it is above the clouds.
I can’t remember what the hostel is called.

At Ya Kou, after the tunnel, get off the bus/car/camel and walk in the direction of Tai Dung. After about a mile and a half, the hostel is on your right doen a little lane. It is the first lane on your right.

“Exactly” what I was looking for. :notworthy:

How long does it take to drive over the south cross island highway by car?

My parents are coming, and they want to get down to the southern part of the island.


Yep, they call it the “Floating in the sky hostel” as it sits defying gravity 48 meters higher than the highest mountain on the island.

The escalator ride up to the top must be amazing though… :wink:

Mr. He, it should take between 3-4 1/2 hours depending on conditions, and take into account that most of the time Yakou (elevation 2,730meters) sits in fog and mist. The highway is spectacular though, and a must see.

The bus schedule looks like a nightmare. Think I’ll hitchike from Kending. (Kending is working out nicely so far by the way, the train from Taipei to Kaoshiung was only about four hours and the bus station to Kending is right across from the train station. I’m staying at the youth activity centre in one of the dorms which I have to myself for 600NT. Colour TV. HBO even! Tomorow I get a scooter. No licence, no problem!)

2000 meters, infact.

Of course I didn’t mean 4000, that would be silly.

2728 meters according to the old lonely planet. In any case it is way the heck up there that is for sure. I stayed over night at Meishan which, believe it or not at 1000 some meters and 3.5 hours away by bus is still in the west coast smog. I had planned to walk from Tienchih to Yakou but was unable to book a room at Yakou from Meishan (they are both youth activity centres) for less than NTD2000 so decided to pay one of the aborigine guys (don’t ask how much) to drive me to Yakou where I’d arrange a room and then head back with my driver to tienchi and then hike back again to Yakpo. That part of the highway is absolutely stunning. Huge vistas huge trees…Wow…

However when I got to Yakou the decidedly unpleasant managers of that establishment informed me that there was absolutely no room available. Also the clouds had moved in for real so when a couple of guys offered me a ride down the east side I jumped at the chance. I rode with them a good thirty clicks or so down to Litao and then hopped off and walked the remaining 9KM to Wuru where luckily I caught the one and only bus. That part of the road looks a lot like Taroko actually.

I’d recommend this trip to anyone but the advice I’d give is be prepared. It’s bloody cold up there.

Glad you enjoyed yourself, bob.

It’s strange about the hostel at Ya Kou. When I went there, they didn’t have any rooms either but made the stunning effort to open a newly refurbished one up for me (one that wasn’t supposed to be used yet. It only cost me $1,500NT).
It is cold up there though. Did you see any monkeys? Unfortunately, I’ve never seen the road on the East side because whenever I’ve been there, it has always been cloudy and dark.
Good walking though, with stops for mountain pig meat. Yum.

Yup. Saw three big monkees btwn Meishan and Tienchih and a big pig head on some aboriginee guys dinner table!

The West side, at the top at least, is the best part of the road I think because the east side is most likely in a perpetual fog. Must be awesome when it isn’t though. The way I hit it was pretty lucky I think cuz up by the tunnel was brilliant clear with that sea of clouds deal going on, but by the time we got down to Litao (pronounced LiDao of course) we were “under” the same clouds that we had been “over” an hour previously and still there was a good long Toroko gorge type downhill section. How and why that highway was glued to the side of those mountains is a mystery to me. Absolutely incredible.

The only complaint I have is about the fuck wads that run the Yakou youth activity centre. If that place was run by some decent people who could run a kitchen (the only food available is instant noodles) and not try to gouge people for all they are worth it would be great.

Still all in all a great trip so far. I’m in Taidong now and wondering if I should take that coast road down to Kenting again or over to green Island or Orchid Island or up to hualien and over the highway to Taichung or…

Pretty cool bob. All of them, in fact, except for Davy Jones, eh? Any ball-fondling going on, happenchance? :wink:

I am beginning to wonder if it was a mistake sharing my monkee, ball massage story. :blush:

Wonder no more, bob, wonder no more. :laughing: Glad you enjoyed/are enjoying your southern sojourn.

3 big monkees at the side of the road - must be Sandman, bob, and MJB.

Would you advice to do the trip as a one day venture?

IE from the west coast in the morning and then ending up in Zhiben in the evening?

Most people in the care are not great hikers, so the occational photo stop/short walk would do great.

Not really but if you were to do it that way it would be a lot better to do it up and down from the east side. Go as far as Meishan at least. In fact if I was doing it with a car Meishan is where I’d stay probably and then head up to the top for a hike really early in the morning.

(I am assuming you mean one day from Taidong or maybe even Hualien right? If you tried to do it in one day from Taipei you’d have to leave at midnight!)

Nono, what I meant was that we start out from say Tainan in the morning and end up at Taidong/Zhiben in the evening.

You could do it but it would be a very long day. I think it’s nicer to make an overnight stop.

I stayed in Lidao, a nice little village on a little plateau on the east side of the mountains. Quite a few homestay/guesthouse places there: cheap and cheerful.

I can’t edit as this is in temp, but I just wanted to add that there’s some more good info about this route in this thread:

Could do but the place is worth more than a zip through as I’m sure you’ll see. And you want to be at the top (Yakou) really early in the morning or the whole trip could be just a fog out.

Ditto on Lidao. Nice little place definitely.