Basianshan – an enchanted bamboo forest in Taichung City

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The play of light and shade … the breeze rustling the bamboos … a bamboo forest is a mysterious and magic place.

The bamboo forest in Basianshan always reminds us the famous movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”.

This bamboo forest is not the only one in Taiwan and, for sure, not the largest. It is very small indeed. It is one of the most beautiful and secluded, the one we like the most.

Magic Bamboo Forest in Basianshan

Magic Bamboo Forest in Basianshan

Basianshan National Recreation Forest is in Heping Township in Taichung City, just a few kilometers from Guguan Hot Springs. Altough it is located at a moderated altitude and can be accessed easily, not so many people go there.

So, at least on weekdays, with a bit of luck you can have Basianshan highlights – such as the Bamboo Forest – all for you.

About Basianshan National Forest Recreation Area

The area extends for 24 square kilometers from 750 to 2,366 meters above the sea level – the visitor center is at 950 meters. So Basianshan lies mostly at medium altitude.

Basianshan Observation Deck

Basianshan Observation Deck

A lush temperate mixed broadleaf-conifer forest covers the area.

Basianshan was established as a logging facility by the Japanese before WWII. At that time it was one of the main centers of Taiwan logging industry, together with Alishan and Taipingshan.

We can only dream how all these places looked like 100 years ago or so, before being exploited and the virgin forest almost destroyed.

Arriving in Basianshan

Arriving in Basianshan

The only remnants of the Japanese past are a stone tablet – celebrating Basianshan as one of the eight most beautiful scenic spots in Taiwan – and the ruins of a Shinto shrine – erected to placate the souls of the many labourers who lost their lives working here.

Basianshan during the Japanese time

Basianshan during the Japanese time was one of the main logging stations in Taiwan – Courtesy of Taipics

Basianshan has been established as one of the first National Forest Recreation Area of Taiwan in the middle of the 70’s. Unfortunately the Area suffered heavy damages from 1999 earthquake and, just two years later, from typhoons Toraji and Nari.

The administrations had to cope with the limited resources available so, for example, some footpaths have been abandoned. On the other side, some facilities, such as the lodging ones, have been recently renovated and now they really shine.

Sakura Trees Blossoming in Basianshan

Sakura Trees Blossoming in Basianshan

Hiking

You have two choices:

1) The area around the Visitor Center.

All the trails are short and suitable to everybody (except the trail section from the Bamboo Forest down to the Cherry Forest and the Senhuo Gazebo – though short the footpath is steep and quite uneven so maybe not suitable for an elder person).

There are several point of interests such as the already mentioned Bamboo Forest, an Ecological Classroom, the Visitor Center, the small Jinghai Temple.

This area extends on the lefts banks of Shihwen and Jiabao Creeks. As the official map reports the whole area can be visited in one day. This if you really take it super super easy . Half day is more realistic even if you are with small kids.

A different view of Basianshan Bamboo Forest

A different view of Basianshan Bamboo Forest

This area is not for long walks but for spending a relaxing day, maybe watching the clouds. But it is still large enough to find solitude, at least on weekdays.

The scenery is gorgeous.

2) The long climb to Basianshan Main Peak
(2,366 meters above sea level).

The trail is 6.3 km long – the difference in altitude is about 1,400 meters from the 2nd Parking Lot (957 meters above sea level).

So it takes not less than 8 hours for a round trip – as also the official map reports.

It is a long trail … and steep too (24% average inclination). Only for experienced hikers.

You will need to leave early in order to be back before dark. Bring water supply for a full day.

I strongly recommend to inquire the Visitor Center about the trail conditions before attempting this hike, also because sometimes the footpath is closed.

Trail Landmarks:

  • 2nd Parking Lot – 957 meters above sea level
  • Trail Entrance – Jinghai Temple – 1004 meters above sea level
  • 1.5 km Pavilion – 1434 meters above sea level
  • 3.5 km Pavilion – 1858 meters above sea level
  • 6.3 km Summit – 2366 meters above sea level

 

Useful photos about Basianshan Main Peak Trail (Chinese):

 

How to get to Basianshan

  • By Car:
    • From the Highway n. 1 or n. 3 turn to the Highway n. 4 – East Direction (Dongshih).
    • Drive along the Highway n. 4 to the end.
    • At the traffic light turn left and follow the National Road n. 3.
    • Drive for about 10 Km until the road turn left and cross the large Dongfong bridge on the Dajia River.
    • Just after the bridge, before entering Dongshih, turn right on the National Road n. 8.
    • Drive along National Road n. 8 on the right bank of the Dajia River till km 33 sign (Duming Bridge).
    • Cross Duming Bridge then turn right (Basianshan roadsign). You will reach the Area after 3 Km of good climbing road.
  • By Scooter: From Taichung drive north through Tamzi and Fongyuan, then you can join the itinerary above in Shihgang.

    Bus #269 from Guguan runs only two times a day and only on weekends/holiday

    Bus #269 from Guguan runs only two times a day and only on weekends/holiday

  • By Bus: There are only one line from Taichung to Guguan (Fongyuan Bus Co. Email: service@fybus.com.tw) but it is quite frequent and convenient. Bus #153 runs from Taichung THSR (High Speed Railway) Station in Wuri (Exit 6, Bus 21 platform). It also makes a few stops along Taiwan Boulevard (from the City Hall to Chaoma-Maple Garden). You can check the route at Taichung City Bus website (English) and the timetable here (that page is badly formatted, but you will find the timetable at the bottom). There are from 20 to 24 rides each day. From Guguan you can take bus #269 to Basianshan. It runs only on weekends and only two times per day, read here.  Or you can ask the bus driver, on the way to Guguan, to stop at the crossroad to Basianshan, just after the Duming Bridge and approximately 1 km before Guguan. From there you have to walk uphill 3 km on a paved road to reach the Visitor Center.

Additional info

Basian Villas

Basian Villas

  • Accomodation:
    • Last but not least, the accommodations have been extensively renovated in 2014. They now form a kind of resort, called Basian Villas, managed by the Hung’s Mansion, which is one of the best hotels in Taichung. We slept here, they are very nice!
    • You can find more info on this page about Basian Villas.
    • For booking, rates and availability, see on Agoda.
  • Meals:
    • Also the restaurant have been renovated and is run by Basian Villas. They serve quite good and fresh Chinese set menus and breakfasts.
  • Map

Basianshan is a little special place among Taiwan mountain spots. It is one of our favourite and we have never been disappointed, we returned there several times.

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