During a conference trip to Tokyo back in August 2014, I took it into my head to hop on over to Taiwan for a week. A friend of my mother’s friend highly recommended this mountain resort for birdwatching on Da Syue Shan (大雪山 — Da means Big, Syue is Snow, Shan is Mountain), a famous mountain for hikers. However, the best time to go birdwatching is in spring (April and May), before the weather gets too hot in summer and the birds go into hiding within the forest. So you can imagine our August trip was less than ideal.
Lonely Planet summed it up nicely: “expect some fantastic hiking opportunities and great wildlife viewing, in particular birdwatching. The climate is humid and cool with an average temperature of 12°C, making it a popular summer retreat.” It is indeed popular in the summer, for all locals seeking to escape the unrelenting heat and humidity.
Located in Taichung county, there’s an admission fee, plus I recommend their “eco” lodging, the only cabin if you want to make a multiday trip (and a tasty restaurant included). I didn’t do the longest hike from the mountain lodge (Km 43 – Anmashan) that leads to the ‘Small Divine Tree‘, a red cypress, but I will the next time I go! I do agree with the website that the best view is from Yakou Observatory. It was cold, and the hike had lots of roots and steps to get up there, but check out the panorama: