yushan jade mountain taiwan

Hiking Jade Mountain or Yushan National Park, Taiwan

Hiking in Taiwan is definitely do-able for solo hiker. It’s completely a different situation compared to the volcanoes in Indonesia. As a mountain-junkie, I wouldn’t miss the chance to hike the highest peak in Taiwan, the Jade Mountain or Yushan (3952 masl).

Hiking Jade Mountain is memorable to me, the effort of getting the permit, unexpected twist to hitchhike, and the whole experience.

Getting the Permit to Hike Jade Mountain or Yushan

Yushan National Park or Jade Mountain is extremely popular among hikers.

Like any other high mountains in Taiwan, two permits are required to allow you do the hike.

The park entry permit can be obtained through the official website, while the mountain entry permit can be arranged in the local police station.

Having this permit also means that you secure your bed in the lodge.

I posted an article about how to apply permit for Jade Mountain, you can check it out for more details.

It wasn’t easy at all for me to get the permit.

For foreigners, we have the advantage to apply up to 4 months in advance.

I was totally aware about this and had prepared the application 3 months in advance.

I applied through the official website, followed the procedure, and filled up the application form.

I had to summit my photo on the top of a mountain higher than 3000 meters above sea level, took e-learning course, and had to pass the test.

It’s the most complicated procedure I’ve ever had so far to climb a mountain!

I first applied for two persons for the hike and they replied that they only had one spot for the foreign application for my chosen date.

I had to consider removing a member, otherwise my application was going to be registered for the drawing/lottery.

The lottery is conducted 1 month prior to the intended park entry date to decide which teams are allotted for the beds in Paiyun Lodge.

I chose to go for the lottery, unfortunately my team was not lucky enough to get the bed, so I had to change my whole plan and applied for another date.

Second try and I still failed, until the third time I applied just for myself, begged them that I would fly out soon, that I really wished to climb the Jade Mountain.

Finally I got allotted to a bed in the dates that I proposed just few days before my flight out of the country.

Later I realized that I actually made a mistake by not checking the beds availability on the website.

However, thinking about it now, I’m happy that I was so persistent at that time and didn’t give up cause I wanted to hike Jade Mountain so much!

I had to appreciate the Yushan National Park Service Unit for responding all my emails very quick, providing clear information, even helped me out to book a bed in Dongpu Lodge.

Here’s a quick overview or timeline for my application:

First application:

  • Submitting application : 22 September
  • For entry date : 15 – 16 November
  • Received email that only one space were available: 26 September
  • Received email that my team was not allotted: 16 October

Second application:

  • Submitting application : 18 October
  • For entry date : 23 – 24 November
  • Received email that my team was not allotted: 24 October

Third application:

  • Submitting application : 25 October
  • For entry date: 4-5 December
  • Received email that my application has met the requirement for foreign advanced application: 26 October
  • Received email that my team was allotted to a space in Paiyun Lodge : 6 November

Read Also: How to apply permit for Xueshan in Taiwan

How to go to Yushan National Park or Jade Mountain?

There are two options, first from Chiayi/Alishan and second from Sun Moon Lake.

Since I came from the south-west coast, it’d be a time-saver for me to go to Chiayi first, however I had arranged my accommodation in Sun Moon Lake before, so I had to make a detour because my last destination was Taipei.

The shuttle bus (route 6739) runs daily from Sun Moon Lake to Alishan passes through Tataka or Tatajia which is the starting point to hike Jade Mountain.

Here’s the schedule for the shuttle bus from Sun Moon Lake to Tataka and vice versa and the approximate arrival time so prepare to hop on the bus couple minutes before.

  • Sun Moon Lake 8 a.m. -> Tataka 10.30 a.m. -> Alishan 12 p.m.
    Sun Moon Lake 9 a.m. -> Tataka 11.30 a.m. -> Alishan 1 p.m.
  • Alishan 1 p.m. -> Tataka 1.40 p.m. ~ 2 p.m. -> Sun Moon Lake 4.30 p.m.
    Alishan 2 p.m. -> Tataka 2.40 p.m. ~ 3 p.m. -> Sun Moon Lake 5.30 p.m.

I tried hitchhiking to Dongpu Lodge

Well, you can skip this part and go to my itinerary below if you feel this part is too long.

I knew I could take the bus, but I decided to hitchhike instead. Checking the maps, I found that the route from Sun Moon Lake to Tataka was pretty much along the same main road or highway.

It was only two hours, and I had the whole day before checking into Dongpu Lodge.

So, I stood by the roadside, put a thumb up, and hoped for the best.

I didn’t have much experience in hitchhiking and felt insecure. After 15 minutes, cars were just passing by, and nobody stopped.

I regretted my choice, thinking, “I should’ve just taken the bus.”

Then, a sedan pulled over, and the guy inside asked me where I wanted to go.

I explained my destination, saying I would follow him until anywhere he drove, and I could find another car on the way if he wasn’t going to Tataka.

He said he’d take me there, so I jumped in.

We chatted in the car; he spoke pretty good English and was just driving around the area because it was his day off.

I mentioned Dongpu Lodge and told him he didn’t have to drive me all the way there.

He was visiting a friend who had a grape farm near Dongpu.

However, he mistakenly thought of another Dongpu area.

Realizing it was too far away, he gave me a huge bag of grapes, which I gratefully accepted.

Stranded again by the roadside, with not many cars passing by, I lifted my arm out whenever a car passed, meanwhile savoring the grapes.

After a while, I saw a fancy car in the distance and put my thumb up without any expectation. Surprisingly, the car stopped!

It was an expensive SUV. The middle-aged driver rolled down the window.

In my poor Chinese, I asked him where he was going, and he said Tatajia.

It was funny how we both were not convinced we were heading to the same destination.

After several questions to ensure we were, he agreed to take me there.

We had a good conversation in the car. I tried my best to speak Chinese since he couldn’t speak English.

He was about to do a short hike in Tataka for training because he planned to hike Yushan a few months later.

I joined him for a short trail, and he dropped me off at Dongpu Lodge later on.

What a long day! I checked into Dongpu Lodge, paid the lodging fee (NTD 300), and ordered my breakfast for the next morning (NTD 150).

It was a dormitory-style room, and most hikers spend a night here before hiking Jade Mountain.

I made friends with another group and decided to hike together.

Read also: Tips for climbing Mount Semeru in Indonesia

hiking jade mountain taiwan

My Itinerary Hiking in Yushan or Jade Mountain, Taiwan

Here’s my itinerary climbing Yushan or Jade Mountain. I did two days in total starting from Dongpu Lodge:

First day hike, on our way to Paiyun Lodge

I started the day with a typical Taiwanese breakfast: congee, scrambled eggs, diced tofu, pickles, and pork floss.

After double-checking the items I needed, I left my big backpack in Dongpu Lodge and took the smaller one for the hike.

First things first, I obtained the mountain or police permit and paid the Paiyun Lodge fee (NTD 480).

From the checkpoint to Tataka Saddle is 2 km away; we took the shuttle bus (NTD 100) to the trailhead.

The weather was nice. I was with three other hikers: a man whom we called “da-ge,” which means big brother in Chinese.

He took the lead for the hike since he was the oldest and the only man.

A sweet lady, very kind-hearted, treated me very well, and another joyful and youthful lady who loved to play around.

They’re the same generation as my parents, yet they still have the energy to climb a mountain! I respect that.

The distance from Tataka Saddle to Paiyun Lodge is 8.5 km. The trail was not so bad; I found it enjoyable.

We took it slow, getting to know each other better, joking around, taking pictures, with no rush at all.

I saw some bags left on the side of the trail, and there was a wooden sign saying “Yushan Front Peak (0.8 km)” directing to a narrow uphill path.

I was actually tempted to take this route, although it’s not a long distance, the climb looked insane, with an elevation of about 1000 meters, which sounded so challenging.

But since I was with their group, I preferred to stick with them.

Read Also: Climbing Mount Kerinci, the highest volcano in Indonesia!

Hiking yushan national park taiwan The rocky path uphill

walking trail yushan national park Look how strong this grandpa still going for a hike in his older age

Taiwanese are very friendly; we met another group of people, and it felt like everyone was a good friend.

Halfway to Paiyun Lodge, one of the ladies felt unwell, showing signs of altitude sickness, but slowly, we all made it to Paiyun Lodge (3402 meters above sea level).

I was astonished by how massive, well-built, and organized the lodge was.

I showed my permit to the ranger, and he took me to a room with a few bunk beds in it.

Learning from my previous experience on Snow Mountain that it can get very cold at night, I rented a sleeping bag (NTD 200).

You can pre-book your meals—breakfast (NTD 150), lunch (NTD 300), and dinner (NTD 300) beforehand, since supplies need to be carried up by porters.

I brought some cup noodles and onigiri from a minimarket; they were enough for me.

food paiyun lodge hiking jade mountainDistributing the dinner

paiyun lodge

sunset hiking jade mountainSunset from Paiyun Lodge

Second day, summit attack!

The night before, my teammates warned me that I would need more jackets because it was going to be very cold up there.

The kind lady insisted I take her windbreaker, beanie, and a pair of gloves.

I miscalculated my climb of Jade Mountain for the winter, as my initial plan was for November, and I wasn’t prepared for it.

It was another 2.4 km from Paiyun Lodge to the main peak.

We started early to catch the sunrise. We were all together at the beginning, but unfortunately, the younger lady began to slow down due to altitude sickness.

Da-ge instructed the kind lady and me to keep going; they would catch up slowly.

Initially, I felt okay, but as we climbed higher, the wind grew stronger.

Sometimes, we stopped for a while, waiting for Da-ge and the younger lady.

My fingers were numb, and I had a runny nose. I was completely freezing.

The kind lady noticed this and offered me one of her hot packs.

I refused because I felt bad, but she insisted she was okay since she had enough warm jackets.

Read Also: How to climb Mount Kinabalu without spending so much!

winter yushan national park blogThe frost on the plants looks beautiful

We arrived at a built shelter that looked like a cage, where we decided to wait for them again.

It was getting brighter, but all we could see was the fog, icy rocks, and the steep slope.

I walked back and forth to warm myself up. We waited a long time, but they didn’t show up.

Some people who had come back from the summit told us it was frosting up there and there was no view at all.

Others said there was a long line at the summit, so we waited until more people came down before we finally set off for the summit.

It was only a few hundred meters up, but when I looked up—holy crap—the scree on the sheer cliff was covered in ice.

The wind was so strong and cold, I wished I could speed up, but I had to keep focused on my steps.

I prayed no rockfalls would happen. Despite all the hardships, we made it to the highest point in Taiwan.

Even though there was nothing to see up there, I was happy enough to have made it.

Read also: Trekking in Four Sisters Mountain, Shuangqiao Valley and Haizi Valley

jade mountain taiwan trackThe last part to summit

hiking jade mountain taiwan blogMade it to the highest peak in Taiwan

hiking yushan Frost on our hair, we look like witch!

After quickly documenting our experience at the summit, we headed back down to Paiyun Lodge.

The frost was a new experience for me; the plants were beautifully covered with white ice.

We all reunited again at Paiyun Lodge. Thankfully, the younger lady felt better, and we descended back to the trailhead.

They offered me to come with them to Alishan and then back to Taipei afterward.

After all the trouble with permits, hitchhiking, and freezing up there, it was a good way to end my one-month travel in Taiwan!

jade mountain hiking groupThanks for taking care of me


pinterest jade mountain taiwanPin it!

So yea, that’s my whole experience climbing or hiking Jade Mountain or Yushan in Taiwan.

If you have questions feel free to leave it in the comments below.

Originally posted in 2018; We try to provide the most accurate information; however, conditions and prices might have changed. Do let us know so we can update this article, thanks for contributing to help other travelers as well! 


39 responses to “Hiking Jade Mountain or Yushan National Park, Taiwan”

  1. Karul Penzer Avatar

    I love your images part its really awesome ❤

  2. Lydia Avatar

    Hiking the Jade Mountain sounds like so much fun, Velysia! Reading your post caused the travel bug to itch me and I am definitely adding this place to my bucket list. Is it possible to go camping there?

  3. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    Hi Lydia,

    Try it, so much fun and challenging on the last part. Plus it’s the highest one in Taiwan. I don’t think camping is allowed since there’s a few lodge that you can stay at the national park.

  4. Anna Avatar

    Looks like such a beautiful place to hike and walk with nature! Would love to visit Taiwan one day!

    Have a great week!

  5. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    Yep, if you like nature or hiking Taiwan is definitely your kind of place!

  6. Susana Parker Avatar

    Beautiful pictures! This looks like such a great experience. I love traveling. On the pics you can tell how cold it is. The worse thing is when it’s windy. But seems like you had a great time!

    1. Velysia Zhang Avatar

      Yes, it’s so windy up there but I definitely had a great time. Would love to try another peaks in the national park as well!

  7. Nancy Avatar

    It’s so cool that there are hiking trails in Taiwan! I didn’t know there’s an entry permit you need, but it makes sense. It’s interesting how there are applications to fill in order to get a spot up there! It’s totally worth it for those gorgeous views!!!

    Nancy ♥

    1. Velysia Zhang Avatar

      Yep, the permit is to make sure that everyone gets a spot in the lodging, maybe camping is not allowed that’s why. It is very nice up there!

  8. Mary (The World Is A Book) Avatar

    What an adventure you had! It looks like it was well worth the effort and issues. The views are beautiful!

  9. Endah Kurnia Wirawati Avatar

    OMG! that’s so cool. need to prepare a lot of things, especially for the e-learning course. but could climb jade mountain will be awesome. So far, the only mountain I ever hike outside indonesia is Kinabalu mountain in Sabah, Malaysia, and then I get cramp or body ache for 3 days. hahahaha.

    1. Velysia Zhang Avatar

      Hahha, yes exactly. Kinabalu is amazing as well, not that easy to get the permit. You’ve done great!

  10. Firman Chusniardi Avatar

    Wow you did it alone. Really an independent woman you are. I’ve never climbed a mountain before, and I just learned from your article that taking care of climbing permits, you must have a climbing experience before. I need to try it at least once to climb a mountain, maybe i’ll try the easiest one in Indonesia as a start. Thanks for sharing Velys, and pardon my not so good english 😀

    1. Velysia Zhang Avatar

      Hi Firman, your english is very good haha. Yep it’d be a good experience to try hiking sometimes, you can start from easy one 🙂 Thanks for dropping by

  11. earl Avatar

    i enjoyed reading your blog. i am thinking of hiking mount jade mid of november. may the trail condition this time? is it snowy and what are the essentials i need to bring? also, is it safe t o hike alone?

    1. Velysia Zhang Avatar

      Hi Earl,

      Probably it’s not snowy yet but there might be ice on the top. Please refer to the official website for exact trail condition. Bring a good warm jacket and gloves, something that can keep you warm. Yes. It is safe to hike alone, you’ll most likely make friends, anyway. Enjoy the hike safely!

  12. Chin Wee liang Avatar
    Chin Wee liang

    Good Day miss Zhang,
    Is there any day hike all the way up to summit? is it necessary to overnight at the lodge?

    1. Velysia Zhang Avatar


      It’s possible to do one day hike if you start early. It’d be around 20+ km return. Still you need to apply for permit I think. Good luck 🙂

  13. Firdaus Avatar

    Hi, i didn’t know your Yushan note has been published since last year!
    Awesome note, it reminds me the first time I went hiking in Taiwan, me too had to use my thumb to get a ride ^^.
    Too bad you didn’t get any view up there, but I believe having frost and beyond cold temperature are something worth to remember about. Cheers for your achievement!

    1. Velysia Zhang Avatar

      Hi Firdaus, yepp time flies it’s been a year ago. Yep it’s actually very interesting even my hair was covered by it lol. Thanks for dropping by.

  14. Yiling Avatar

    Hello! Saw that you went both Yushan and Xueshan. In terms of scenery and xperience, which do you prefer? I’m heading there coming May! 🙂

    1. Velysia Zhang Avatar

      Hi Yiling,

      To be honest I can’t choose between those two cause they’re both pretty! However in terms of scenery I think Xueshan has more different view such as the forest. While for Yushan the way to peak is challenging so it’s interesting for me as well. Hope you can do both! Have fun!

  15. TAN HOW ENG Avatar

    Hi, for Jade Mountain permit, how to apply for it, if I would hiking on 11th Sept 2019. By the way, if i want to hiking Jade mountain, which road is better (Yushan or Xueshan)….. I would like to going with another 2 friends…..

    1. Velysia Zhang Avatar

      Hello, you can read my other post about how to apply the permit:
      I think both of them have good routes. To be honest I can’t really choose between those two. But Xueshan has more different scenery like I said in the previous comment. Or you can check both my articles and see the photos to decide if you have to pick only one to hike 🙂

  16. Yvonne Avatar

    Hi Velysia,
    I’m thinking of making a trip to taiwan to climb jade mountain and snow mountain.
    Can i clarify that with the permit at baiyun lodge, there’ll be guides to take you up?
    Or is the whole climb own time own target?

    1. Velysia Zhang Avatar

      Hi Yvonne,
      It’s own time own target. No guide’s coming along unless you wanna hire a guide from the beginning I guess. Honestly I don’t really know how it works for getting a guide. Once you get the permit, you might send email to the national park if they can provide a guide for you.

  17. Ryan Loke Avatar
    Ryan Loke

    Hi Velysia,
    We trying to ditch tour agent ( they are charging US600 per pax ) for 2d 1n package.
    Can i know apart from applying permit online, how do we secure slots at Paiyun lodge ?

    1. Velysia Zhang Avatar

      Hello, once you applied for permit they will allocate bed for you in Paiyun Lodge automatically. Have fun!

  18. Rachel Avatar

    Thank you for your post! I found the courage to confidently plan first trip to taiwan and solo backpacking! What mode of booking did you use to book the Dongpu lodge?

    1. Velysia Zhang Avatar

      Hi, thanks alot! When I applied for the permit I asked the national park through email to book dongpu lodge for me 🙂

  19. Shu Ling Avatar
    Shu Ling

    Hi Velysia, thanks for the informative post! I am not an avid climber but I exercise twice to thrive per week and have ascended Mt Ijen which was manageable, do you think Yushan will be too challenging for me? Also may I know if you stored your luggage at the lodge or police station before your climb?

    Thanks in advance!

  20. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    Hi, i think you’ll manage it. Only last part to the peak was a bit challenging but the rest not really hehe. I stored my luggage in Dongpu Lodge 🙂

  21. Jaybee Avatar

    Sounds exciting and fun! May I know how much elevation gain you had for the hike? Thanks

    1. Velysia Zhang Avatar

      If I’m not wrong the trailhead starts at elevation of 2,600 then till Paiyun Lodge 3,409. To the summit is around 3,900ish.

  22. Chian Yong Avatar
    Chian Yong

    Hi, How do i get to Dongpu lodge from Alishan? Im planning to go there with my friends in Jul 2023!

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