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FAQs about Hiking in Taiwan, Including Is It Safe to Hike After Earthquake Hit

Posted by:  Anusha Lee
Published date: April 8, 2024
Hiking in Taiwan offers an unforgettable experience, but being well-prepared is essential. Common inquiries include the need for permits, weather conditions, transportation options, meal planning, appropriate gear, and post-earthquake or post-typhoon safety. Understanding these elements ensures a safe and enjoyable adventure.
Jiemaosi Route to Jiaming Lake
Xinwulu Creek near Mt. Jiemaosi
Here are the most asked questions about hiking in Taiwan. Please do your homework before your hike in Taiwan.

Most Asked Questions about Hiking in Taiwan

Is It Safe to Hike after Earthquakes or Typhoons hit Taiwan?

The short answer is no.
In light of recent natural disasters, it's crucial to prioritize safety. On April 3rd, 2024, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck near Hualien, followed by landslides, rockfalls, and infrastructure damage.
Here's a friendly reminder to all hikers planning to explore Taiwan's trails.
Yellow and Orange Colorful New Employee Announcement - earthquake-alert-1
Yellow and Orange Colorful New Employee Announcement - earthquake-alert-2

Current Trail Closures

Taroko National Park has closed all trails to ensure visitor safety. Over 1,000 people were affected by landslides in Taroko Gorge, and they waited for days to leave the quake-stricken areas.

Landslide and Rockfall Risks

The recent earthquake and frequent typhoons have increased the risk of landslides and rockfalls across Taiwan's trails. Over 500 aftershocks were recorded between April 3rd and 5th.
Taiwan Space Agency (TASA) has shared the satellite images before and after the earthquakes.
If it rains, the situation could deteriorate further.

Transportation Disruptions

Earthquakes and typhoons often disrupt railways and highways, leading to canceled transportation services.

Emergency Response Delays

During natural disasters, rescue teams are mobilized to the hardest-hit areas. This can result in delayed response times for incidents on remote trails.

Considerations for Travelers

While some easier trails may still be accessible, it's better to reschedule your hiking adventures for a safer time than to take unnecessary risks.

Weather Warning

If the Taiwan Central Weather Administration issues a sea typhoon warning, land typhoon warning, torrential rain warning, or other warnings, National Parks will revoke the permits, and hikers cannot continue their hikes.

Don't Hike After Typhoons or Torrential Rain

Even if there appears to be minimal damage after a typhoon in Taiwan, it's advisable to AVOID hiking. Hidden hazards such as weakened trees, unstable terrain, and potential landslides can pose serious risks, making the trails unsafe for exploration.

It's better to be safe than sorry.

How to Apply for Hiking Permits in Taiwan and Check-in and out?

The new hiking permit website, Hike Smart Taiwan Service, will replace the current one and combine the Forestry Service Permits together after August 2024.
I have a free guide on applying for Hiking Permits, which you can download here. I am still debating whether to create a new one after Hike Smart Taiwan Service is officially onboard.

Types of Permits: Park Permits, Police Permits, and Forest Service Permits

There are many hiking permits for hiking trails in Taiwan, but 3 of them are those that hikers need to be aware of: the National Park Permits, the Police Mountain Entry Permits, and the Forestry Service Permits.
overview of hiking permits in Taiwan
I will refer to them as Park Permits, Police Permits, and Forest Service Permits.
Check the National Park’s website to see what permits you need to apply.
Always check whether the trail you want to hike is still open before you go.

What are Those Trails That Are Required to Apply for Forest Service Permits?

You will see the payments for the cabins on the following websites.
  1. Beidawu Trail: apply for Kuaigu Lodge (Hinoki Valley) 檜谷山莊.
  2. Qilai Nanhua Trail: apply for Tianchi Lodge 天池山莊.
  3. Jiaming Lake Trail: apply for Siangyang Cabin 向陽山屋 and Jiaming Lake Cabin 嘉明湖山屋.
  4. Mt. Dabajian Trail: apply for Jiujiu Cabin (Hut) 九九山莊. But this hike needs to apply for the Shei-Pa Park Permit on the Hike Smart Taiwan Service first. When you get the permit, Jiujiu Cabin will email you for the payment.
Jade Mountain hike
Paiyun Lodge is the most pupular and difficult cabin to apply.

When to Download the Permits and How to Get the Printouts

  1. The Park Permits are available to download 5 days before your hike.
  2. The Police Permits are often issued within 2 or 3 days, and you can get the digital files by checking the police agency’s website.
  3. The Forest Service Permits are available to download 3 days before the hike.
You can upload the permits to 7-11's ibon cloud printing or Family Mart's cloud printing. You will receive the QR code from 7-11 or the bar code from Family Mart. Then, get the printout at any 7-11 or Family Mart, respectively, in Taiwan.

Why Did My Police Mountain Entry Permit Application Get Rejected

Some people, including myself, have experienced police permit applications being rejected. You can check the police agency's website to see why yours got denied.
  1. The No. 1 reason is that you didn't put a Taiwan phone number. If you have booked a hotel, please leave your hotel number.
  2. The No. 2 reason is you didn't put the correct Route Map form the database
If you still get your application rejected, you can Google the closest police station near the trailhead and go there to apply for your entry permit on the spot.

Yangmingshan National Park Permits

Most trails in the Yangmingshan National Park don’t require hiking permits. Three trails located in Lujiaokeng Ecological Protected Area 鹿角坑生態保護區 and Huangzui Ecological Protected Area 磺嘴山生態保護區 are required permits.
  1. Lujiaokeng Ecological Protected Area-Fenglin Waterfall 鹿角坑生態保護區-楓林瀑布
  2. Lujiaokeng Ecological Protected Area- Xiaoguanyinshan 鹿角坑生態保護區-小觀音山
  3. Huangzui Ecological Protected Area 磺嘴山生態保護區
Huangzui Ecological Protected Area
Check Yangmingshan’s website to apply for permits.

No Need to Apply for Police Permits at Shei-Pa National Park

If you leave your phone number from your home country, Shei-Pa National Park will send you emails asking you to "swear" that you will turn on your phone roaming on the trail. Reply to Shei-Pa's Mailbox and reassure them you will turn the roaming on.
Or tell them you will buy a prepaid SIM card when arriving in Taiwan and update your phone number. Remember to update your phone number later.

Yushan National Park and Shei-Pa Ntional Park Require Hikers to Check In and Out

Many trailheads in the visitor centers of Yushan National Park have self-check-in machines, but those only recognize Taiwanese ID card.
Walami Trail in Hualien
The self-check-in machines at the Yushan National Park only work for Taiwanese ID cards.
Please take selfie at the trailhead with time code and GPS coordinates in your pictures in case the National Parks want to see the proof. After you finish your hike, you can do the online check-in and out.
National Park Leaving Park Report Back
The check-out can only be done online.

Can I Transfer My Park Permit to Other People If I Can't Go?


Can We Replace the Guide/Team Leader?

Yes, but if your previous guide/team leader is Taiwanese, you can only find a Taiwanese national to replace them. Likewise, if your last guide/team leader is a foreign national, you can only find a foreign national to replace them.

What Are the Regulations for Hiking in Snow Season in Taiwan?

The snow season in high mountains often starts in January and ends in March. Please click "ctrl + F" for PC or "Command-F" for Mac and type "snow" on this page to search for the documents.
The first one is always the team leader and the team leader must sign and put the date in the form. Please remember to put each member’s name and check the boxes that meet your conditions.

How to Apply for Drone Permits?

You need to register on the Taiwan Civil Aeronautics Administration for drones with a weight exceeding 250g. For smaller ones, you don't need to register.
Get your drone's model, weight, and series number ready before you apply for the drone permit. Those need to be applied at least 7 days prior.
  1. Yushan National Park: You do not need to apply for a drone permit, but you must comply with the Taiwan Civil Aeronautics Administration's regulations.
  2. Apply for a drone permit at Yangmingshan National Park (only in Chinese).
  3. Apply for a drone permit at Taroko National Park.
  4. Apply for a drone permit at Shei-Pa National Park.
The website, Foreigners in Taiwan, has a detailed post about things you need to know about flying drones in Taiwan.

What are the Hiking Regulations and Penalties?

I have a post about the hiking/mountain regulations in Taiwan. Please read it to help you safely hike and avoid a hefty fine.
If you get the permit but do not show up on the day of your hike for any reason (including being sick), the national park will penalize you for not being able to apply for the permit again within 6 months after they notice you. The cancellations must be made before the hike, not on the same day.

What is the Weather and Temperature in the Mountains?

Download the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau's app for the latest weather.
Taiwan Weather Bureau app
Watch this short video to learn how to use the app.

Understanding the average lapse rate in Taiwan's mountains is essential for your safety and comfort. The rate at which air temperature falls with increasing altitude is about 6.5 °C per 1,000 meters or (3.5 °F per 1,000 feet).
This means that when hiking above 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) in Taiwan, it can be nearly 20 °C cooler than the surface. For instance, Jade Mountain, at 3,952 meters (12,966 feet), can be a staggering 26 °C cooler, and the wind can be quite strong up there.

Transportation and Traffic Control

Regarding the public transport to the trailheads of the popular high mountains, please check each post for details.

Car Rental

  1. IWS Rent-A-Car
  2. VIP Car Rental

Private Pickups

  1. Private Pickup to Jiaming Lake Trailhead: Jiaming Lake Hotel Sister Yang
  2. Private Pickup to Beidawu: Mt. Wang +886 911728638
  3. Private Pickup to Walami: Mr. Peng +886 932581838
  4. Private Pickup to Walami: Ms. Cheng (speaking English) +886 988739906

How to Book Meals and Sleeping Bag Rentals from Onsite Porters?

The onsite porter services provide meals for dinner and breakfast, as well as sleeping bags and tent rentals. They don’t carry your gear.
  1. Paiyun Cabin of Yushan: Tataka Restaurant 雲豹
  2. Jiaming Lake Cabin, Siangyang Cabin, and Walami Cabin: Taiwan Black Bear 熊出沒
  3. Jiaming Lake Cabin, Siangyang Cabin: Horse (TianMa) 天馬
  4. Jiujiu Cabin, Xinda Cabin and Taoshan Cabin of Wuling Quadruple Mountains: Bunun Climbers 布農卡里布灣
  5. Beidawu Kuaigu Lodge: Denggao Kitchen 登高廚房

How to Book Porter Services?

If you need to hire porters to carry your items or gear, the fee is NT$200/kg/day. There are minimum and maximum weights per day. Please get in touch with them for details.
Those mentioned above and the following provide porter services for different high mountain trails. Another porter service is Akai Mountaineering 阿凱登山.
Most porters are friendly, but some can be shy. I met this one during my Jialuo Lake hike.

How to Find Gear Rental Shops?

  1. Wild Kid’s Life
  2. Pangolin Store
  3. Naturdise
  4. Matsukasa

Can I Use WhatsApp or Other Messaging Apps to Contact Local Businesses?

WhatsApp is not popular in Taiwan. Most businesses and local people use the Line app.
Or you can contact those businesses via Facebook's Messenger.

Hire Me to Plann Your Hikes in Taiwan!

Free Bus Guides to Hike Popular Mountains in Taiwan

Taking buses to hike in Taiwan can be tricky if you don't read Chinese. Therefore, I've made several public transport guides on my Gumroad to help you get to the trailheads. Or click the image below to see more details.

Hire Me: Simplify Your Taiwan Hike with Our Services

Tackling the intricacies of permit applications and deciphering public transport routes in Taiwan can be daunting. We're here to make your hiking adventure hassle-free.
Our service takes care of all the nitty-gritty details, from permit applications to transportation arrangements, weather reminders, and more. Let us handle the complexities, so you can focus on the breathtaking trails and unforgettable experiences. Visit our commission page or click the image below for all the details.

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On Taiwan Hikes

Things You Need to Know about Hiking in Taiwan
Hiking/Mountain Regulations in Taiwan
How to Stay Alive and Get Found Soon While Getting Lost on the Trails in Taiwan?
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