Friday, October 17, 2008

Southern-Cross Highway

The Southern Cross-Island Highway runs west to east from Tainan to Taidung county. It is wonderfully scenic, and probably the best way to travel through the mountains in southern Taiwan. The least traveled of the cross-island roads, expect few cars even at the busiest times.
This is highway 20, not highway 9 much further to the south - a more practical, busy, and not particularly stunning route. If you need to get to the East quickly and reliably travel south to No 9, if you want to see the best of Taiwan wander up No 20!From the peaks near the highest point big views can be expected - including of Yushan.

Many sections are as breathtaking as Taroko - 'private Hawaii' was the phrase someone used recently when describing it.
The Jhongjhihguan (Jhong-jr-guan) trail and the hike up to Taguan Peak are mostly through forest.

The east side of Yakou tunnel (2,722 meters altitude, km marker 147) is one of the easiest and best places for the sunrise over a sea of clouds experience. Much better than Alishan in my humble opinion - no train, but there is guy with his illegal van/coffee machine attempting to provide the Starbucks experience.
Arrive at Lidao on the right day and expect a hangover the next.
The Guanshanlingshan (Guan-shan-ling mountain) climb is mostly without shade, but affords first class 360 views.Some other notes: It's possible to go the whole across in one day, much better though to make two days of it. Try to travel the higher parts of the Southern Cross as early as possible in the day as mist and clouds are more likely in the afternoon and evening. In the rainy season and after typhoons do not be surprised if sections are closed due to landslides etc. If needing more advice or a custom tour contact Richard at Will fill out this post more soon!