Island of Taiwan: Taitung Part 3
The island of Taiwan series is back once again with its third installment of the Taitung (Taidong) series; a location teeming with natural beauty and delicious eats. Whether you are here to teach for a year or just passing through, Taitung should be on your hit list.
The mountains with rolling fields of golden flowers. Beaches with stones that reflect the sun. Fields with rice paddies that stretch for as far as the eye can see and bridges created to reach the footsteps of gods. These are a few of the natural wonders Taitung offers to those who are willing to take the time to explore it.
After spending about an hour looking for my roommates’ glasses in the rushing water of Sanxiantai we decided enough was enough, and we started to make our way to our next destination – Sixty Rock Mountain. My roommate was a trooper and decided he wouldn’t need his glasses to feel and take in the majestic landscapes around us.
Traveling from Sanxiantai to Sixty Rock Mountain takes a little over an hour by car or scooter, but the views along the way are magnificent. The road first takes you along the east coast of Taiwan where you can see views of the Pacific Ocean. After about 45 minutes it cuts into the mountains of Taiwan that take you to altitudes with beautiful views over the land and sea.
The mountain path then cuts into one of the main highways, Route 9, and from there it’s a short ride to the entrance of the mountain; however, the entrance to the mountain is quite small and easy to miss so we passed it a few times before landing on the right spot.
Once we entered we ascended the winding mountain path which eventually opened up into a summit covered in bright golden lily flowers adorning lush, green, rolling hills.
While Sixty Rock Mountain is technically a part of Hualien County, home of the famous Taroko Gorge, it is still on the border with Taitung. The best time to go to Sixty Rock Mountain is from July to September when the lilies are in full bloom.
The golden flowers mix with the bright green grass which contrasts the clear blue sky dotted with pearl white clouds. It’s truly a sight to see and one of the reasons some people refer to it as “Small Switzerland.”
The summit has a convenient parking lot right next to the trails and walkways. Make sure to get there early or the lot will fill out really quick! This applies especially if you are driving a car.
Once we parked the scooter we walked up the small viewing pavilion located next to the parking lot and took in the view from the top of the mountain. We could see the small township below and the river that flows through it, providing nourishment to the farmlands around the area.
The pathways leading around the mountain could take hours to complete by foot. We walked to numerous pavilions which look out onto different parts of the mountain, each with a unique view.
After taking some time to stop and appreciate the natural wonders of Taiwan at each one, we fought our way through a sea full of traffic on the seemingly one-way road with two-way moving traffic to explore the peak of the mountain. The top overlooks the entirety of Sixty Rock Mountain and also has trails that wind around to the top.
The next step was the perilous journey down the mountain.
Descending Sixty Rock Mountain
The path down the mountain felt like a total arm workout. With a steep incline and a less-than-well-maintained road, I was forced to keep a firm grip on the scooter’s brakes to ensure we didn’t fly off the bike.
The poor road conditions combined with a line of cars trying to pass you and a steep, winding mountain road made the almost thirty-minute descent a real test of endurance. We almost fell off the scooter once, due to the sharp turns, but managed to barely stay upright.
We finally arrived at the bottom of the mountain where I took a short rest to get the feeling back in my forearms. Once I could successfully form a fist with my hands, it was time to return to Taitung and prepare for our trip to Hualien, my favorite place in Taiwan.
Have you ever visited Taitung (Taidong)? Or perhaps taken this route through sixty rock mountain? Let us know about your adventures on the same path as Vadim in the comments section below.