Southern mountains hikable during Jan-Feb?


I’m newbie here and thinking about moving to southern Taiwan (Kaohsiung) 2009 January-February (I’m currently living in Finland, Europe). The reason is to experience the beautiful mountains, hiking, camping, biking, possibly canoeing.

My question is is the time ok? What are the conditions in 3 km high mountains during Jan-Feb?

I’m an experienced trekker, and can handle temperatures near or below zero, walk uphill 1 km a day with 20+ kg load. See the video from my home country Finland (while I was one week in north):

Nevertheless I would rather like to go to mountains during sunny days (or partly cloudy, at least not continuous rain…), temperature being between +7 and +17 Celsius. Are my expectations right for Jan-Feb?

Thanks in advance!

Mr. Janne Pyykkö, Espoo, Finland, Europe

PS. If yes, I have a lot more to ask…

Bei Da Yu Shan, the most southern of the 3,000m peaks is very climbable in January/february. approach from PingTung county. minimum overnight temp in the hut at 2,400 m is about 3-5 degrees, max would be about 7-10 degrees, and it freezes on the top at about 3,100m. it is easily possible to do it in 2 days if you’re fit.

Jade Mountain (Yu Shan), at 3990 or whatever, and Snow Mountain , further north at 3800m, are snowbound and dangerous (unless you have mountaineering experience and equipment) and most likely closed at that time.

Thanks for a quick response! :notworthy:

Sounds good! OK, next I’ll need a guidebook and map from Amazon to explore more about Bei Da Yu Shan and Pingdong county. Lonely Planet or Rough Guide?

Another thing: My idea is to live near Kaohsiung 4-6 weeks (near Cheng Ching Lake?). I hope to remote-work 3-4 days a week (high speed internet necessary!). Going by bike to explore places is my way to get familiar with the country. Does this make sense? :unamused:

(Anybody else living there? Are there websites to explore bus lines from Kaohsiung to mountains? More questions still to come…)


PS. I don’t have mountaineering skills.

Very few buses anymore to the mountains. More routes cancelled all the time so you really need to get a scooter.

One thing to note is that Taiwan has hundreds of lower altitude trails, hunting trails, etc, as well. Check out this five day walk I did up a river valley last January (of course I did get scrub typhus so do be careful). … chive.html

The forestry bureau has been working on a national trail system for a while. Check out the website to see some of them: … ailMap.htm

But in general don’t expect to find any English maps of most trails. There are great hiking maps in Chinese though if you have someone to help translate.

Also contact Richard at Barking Deer for hiking and biking stuff. He’ll also be able to give you a lot clearer answers about which higher trails are doable in January:

Biking is a great way to get around and becoming more and more popular these past few years.

BTW, in English we don’t usually write or say 3km. We say 3000 metres. Kilometres is usually for distances, not heights. :wink:

3000 metres high thanks Mucha Man!

I have read your great blog and now gone through the websites such as Barking Deer… though I must say I desperately need a guidebook and maps to understand where these great trails locate. (Well, no problem, I just ordered LP Taiwan from Amazon.)

BTW should I buy a bike or rent one? I’m thinking of going southern coast-to-coast road number 20 by bike.


Here’s a good map to get you started: … 50&Level=1

Download the “mountain hiking” map. It shows most of route 20 and most of the major hikes and forestry roads. The forestry roads are great for mountain biking on.

Not sure about renting bikes down in the south. Easy enough to buy a bike. You don’t need a great one for a few short trips. The 20 is a popular biking route. Very spectacular scenery along the way, hiking to 3000m and above mountains, wild hot springs, etc. The new Taiwan Lonely Planet has a very long and detailed section on the 20 including a map.

This is a good blog about biking around Taiwan:

I’ve finally started putting some info on the blog on what is possible without too much hassle down here. This is the first attempt at advice on the peaks at the top of the fantastic Southern Cross … ghway.html

Will add more soon (be patient, this is prime hiking season!) on Maolin, Wutai, and Beidawu.

Feel free to contact me with any questions. Richard, aka Barking Deer

Thanks Richard! I hope I can join one of your treks during January, but now I need to make other arrangements (negotiating with my boss…).


PS. I can find Maolin and Wutai but Beidawu… where is that?

Beidawu is a mountain (the southernmost of the top 100) in the middle, south of Wutai.