Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Round-up

Hope you all enjoying the holiday season - and that you will have time in 2012 to explore Taiwan more.

An end-of-year round-up:

Firstly, most trails/roads/cabins in most places open and in proper working order.

As usual, Yushan Main Peak Trail (from Tatajia) will close for the month of February for all hikers. Snow and ice on the trail will probably mean this being extended well into March.

The renovation of Paiyun Lodge (the main cabin on Yushan) is ongoing. Officially it is to open “after Chinese New Year”, I predict it will the summer at the earliest. We can still arrange single-day ascents (only for the fit and experienced) after the mountain reopens in March/April.

A much needed bus service between Sun Moon Lake and Alishan (via Tatajia) has been launched. Buses leave at 07:00 and 09:00. Single trip ticket: NT$307, return: NT614. More details later.

Repairs to bridges on the Walami Trail have been completed.

We’ve recently scouted out areas in the south damaged by Typhoon Morakot in 2009:
The Southern Cross-island Highway (#20, the ‘nan-heng’) remains closed to visitors between Meishan on in the west and Xiangyang on the east. There has been lots of work done to make the road passable, we hope it may open to some traffic in 2012.
The road to Tengjhih is passable but in rough shape. The Forest Recreation Area is scheduled to reopen in August.
Shanping will be closed to all visitors for at least another year or two.
Maolin and Wutai are open to visitors. Roads are generally in OK shape, lots of reconstruction work being done to roads and trails.

The wonderfully-located Tienchr Cabin reconstruction - on the Neng-gao (Cilai South) Trail is very close to completion. Should be open for use in the spring.

The highway running through Taroko Gorge is usually open. In the next few months expect delays occasionally at the east end of the Swallow’s Grotto (where there was a large landslide November 2011) and just west of Tianxiang.

Birders can look forward to the 2012 Dasyueshan (aka Anmashan) Bird Race on April 13 and 14th. As well as being one of the best places to bird in Taiwan, foreign teams qualify for free accommodation. Contact the bird society - or me for further advice.

Two useful and practical apps for traveling around Taiwan have been launched. Here and Taiwan Adventures.
Steve Crook’s handy Does and Don’ts in Taiwan is now available in Kindle format.