Nantou is home to countless teahouses, Sun Moon Lake, and incredible hiking on the trails surrounding the lake. Forget the busy streets of Taipei! Come here for a weekend trip and get lost in the rolling mountains, fresh air, and delicious food 😍
I wanted a secluded escape from the busy cities and tourist destinations so I opted to stay away from Sun Moon Lake and Cingjing Farm. I didn't have as much time either, so I chose to stick with hitting 2 things off my Nantou checklist: 1. Catching Hehuanshan before sunrise and 2. Eating clay oven roasted chicken, a local specialty 😋
How to Get There
From Taichung, you can take a bus to Nantou. There are a couple different buses that can take you there, but in the end I decided to go with a taxi because it was getting a little late by the time I set out. It should be around 1500 NT - my driver was really nice and I recommend him (Line ID vait1028).
It’s a nice drive up the mountain side to the bed and breakfast I stayed at Huansan Hotel - it had gorgeous views of the hills right outside our room, which was clean and comfortable.
Sunrise at Hehuan Mountain (Hehuanshan)
The hotel helped me booked the sunrise tours, which was 400 NT a person. Ask around at your hotel, there are a couple different tours and they seem to be the same.
It starts at 4am! 😩 But it's really the best time to watch the fog roll out as the sun rises. Before sunrise, the tour makes a stop to stargaze. The stars really come out in this remote area, and you can see so many constellations! Once the sun begins to rise you are treated with incredible scenery - the rolling mountains look like they are floating in a sea of misty clouds 😍
If you forget your jacket (like I did!) they had tons of jackets for everyone to borrow, since it was super cold and windy.
The tour operators were so excited to take pictures for us. They even gave a mini lesson on how to take jumping pictures. These pictures make it seem like you are leaping 10 feet high!
Clay Oven Roast Chicken
There is an absolutely amazing restaurant a couple steps away from the hotel that uses brick ovens to roast chicken. It's called A Dong Roast Chicken and the chicken there is unbelievable. The chicken is slowly roasted in the oven and then given a quick fry to crisp the edges. When it comes out, you can pull the whole chicken apart so easily. That's how juicy and slow cooked it was!
Pro tip, this was my order (for 2 people, with enough for leftovers the next day). One whole chicken, 2 bowls of rice, bamboo, and green veggies.
The bamboo was cooked in a meat broth and heavenly. They give you a side of broth to drench everything in - eat the rice with it! 😋 Please please take my word for it and try this chicken. I definitely will come back here again next time I'm in Nantou!