Two of these are Eryanping Trail and Tea Mist Trail, both which lead to the same famous viewing platform. In fact, I would say that the sunsets and sunrises from these two trails are even better than at Alishan.
Not only do they have virtually no crowds but also you’ll get to hike through stunning bamboo forests and tea farms. And if you don’t want to hike, you can even drive right up to the viewpoint, unlike at Alishan. Besides sunrise, sunset, and sea of clouds, you may also witness a special cloud waterfall phenomenon.
In this article, I’ve cover everything you need to know for getting to, hiking, and sleeping near these two trails.
You may also want to read my guide to Shizhuo, a better-known town nearby which has more guesthouses and restaurants than Eryanping area, plus some similar hikes (don’t confuse Tea Mist Trail in this article with Tea Trail and Mist trail in Shizhuo).
In that article, I provide more information about how to plan your overall Eryanping – Shizhuo – Fenqihu – Alishan itinerary.
Eryanping and Tea Mist Trail Introduction
Eryanping Trail (二延平步道) and Tea Mist Trail (茶霧之道) are both located in Fanlu Township of Chiayi county, around 1250 to 1400 meters in elevation.
Both hikes go up to the same lookout platform, so it makes sense to walk one of the trails up and another one back down.
Due to the curve in the highway, on Eryanping Trail, you’ll be walking north up to the lookout platform. On Tea Mist Trail, you’ll be walking west up to it.
Both trails feature a combination of bamboo forests and tea plantation views. From lookout points near the top, you can see as far away as Yushan (Taiwan’s tallest mountain) on a clear day, just like from the sunrise viewpoint at Alishan.
The viewing platform at the top faces the sunset, but the view from there is beautiful at sunrise as well, with the possibility of witnessing the sea of clouds and cloud waterfall phenomenon.
To face the sunrise, you’ll just have to walk five minutes from there. I’ll explain how to do this below. And it’s facing the sunrise direction that you’ll be able to see Yushan.
If you have a scooter or small car like Toyota Yaris (rent one here), you can even drive directly to the viewing platform.
Because the region is famous for mist and fog (ideal for growing tea!), it’s common for the view to be obscured by clouds.
I’ve done these trails twice – the first time I couldn’t see anything and the second time I had amazing views. You need a bit of luck!
There isn’t much in Xiding village. There are only a few accommodations, restaurants, and one HiLife (24 hrs). Some people choose to stay in Shizhuo instead (see my Shizhuo guide). Shizhuo is slightly bigger, with more guesthouse choices, most of which are run by tea farmers.
However, if you stay in Shizhuo, you won’t be able to reach Eryanping viewpoint for sunrise unless you have a scooter or car. Therefore, to see the sunrise at Eryanping, you’ll need to stay in Xiding.
Getting to Eryanping & Mist Trail
It’s a one-hour drive from Chiayi HSR station to Xiding. See my Taiwan HSR tickets guide, buy discount HSR tickets here and rent your car here. Choose a smaller car like Toyota Yarris if you want to drive right up to the sunset and sunrise viewpoint.
From Chiayi regular train station in the city center, it’s also a one-hour drive. I rented a scooter here in front of the station.
A Taiwanese license or IDP is required, and they may additionally require that your IDP or home license has a motorcycle endorsement. They provided me with a plastic rain poncho, helmet, and cell phone holder.
Every bus from Chiayi to Alishan passes through Xiding village on the way. Anding (鞍頂) bus stop is here, right next to the Eryanping trailhead.
Lincuo (林厝) bus stop is here, a few steps from the Tea Mist trailhead. The hotels I’m going to recommend are closer to this stop. The next stop after Lincuo is Xiding.
I’ve used the times for Xiding in the table below because those are the ones listed on the official schedule. For Anding/Lincuo, substract 4 or 2 minutes from the below times if coming from Chioayi.
Here’s a table of all the bus times from Chiayi to Xiding and continuing on to Shizhuo, Fenqihu, and Alishan. If a space is blank, that means the bus doesn’t stop there.
And here are the bus times for Xiding going back to Chiayi:
I recommend that you go to the bus stop 10 minutes early just in case and wave your arm to make the bus stop. During peak times, the bus could be very busy, so you might have to stand.
You can swipe EasyCard for the bus or get this Alishan shuttle bus deal, which includes 2 rides on bus 7322 (Alishan Shuttle A) and/or 7329 (Alishan Shuttle B) – everything listed on the above tables except for bus 7302 and 7314. However, this deal is not really worth the money if you’re only going to Xiding and not all the way to Alishan.
Chiayi to Xiding/Shizhuo/Alishan bus seats can be reserved online. I highly recommend doing this during peak times (weekends, holidays, or cherry blossom season in March/April). Those who swipe EasyCard or buy the Klook deal get last priority for seats and sometimes can’t even get on the bus.
Driving to the Lookout Platform
You can drive right to the Eryanping Sunset Platform with a scooter or small car like Toyota Yaris. The road is very narrow, especially towards the top. If you meet another car, you may have to back up a ways.
To get to the sunset platform, just paste “隙頂二延平步道觀雲平台” or this link into GoogleMaps and the app will properly direct you there. There is space for around a dozen cars to park there.
The lookout platform faces sunset. If you want to watch the sunrise, park your car first, then walk five minutes down the car road you just drove up, and you’ll have a perfect view. You won’t be able to park at the sunrise spot because the road there is too narrow.
Where to Stay in Xiding
There are only a few accommodations in Xiding.
SunSweet House 十方山水 (see on Booking / Agoda / GoogleMaps) is my most recommended one. The guesthouse is just across the highway and five minutes’ walk from Tea Mist trailhead. If you stay here, you don’t even have to hike for sunrise – you can watch the sunrise from the hotel!
The guesthouse has an incredible view facing the sunrise directly, and it’s possible to see a sea of clouds. If you choose a room with a balcony, you can even watch the sunrise directly from your room. Breakfast is included and some rooms have bathtubs.
This is a simple, rustic guesthouse with friendly owners. While the rooms don’t have sunrise view, you don’t have to walk far to reach several sunrise options, including the balcony pictured above.
If you search the map function on Booking or Agoda, you’ll find a few more options further north up the highway. Near Eryanping trailhead, the closest option is a 20-minute walk from the trailhead.
Eryanping Trail (二延平步道) is a 1150-meter trail, taking 1.5 to 2 hours to complete (return, with time for taking photos). There are a lot of stairs on this trail.
At the trailhead, you’ll find Anding bus stop and scenic lookout platforms on either side of the highway. After walking up a small staircase, you’ll find some restrooms and a trail map.
After the restrooms, the trail ascends through a lovely bamboo forest (石竹林). It won’t take long before you’re taking deep breaths!
In 5 to 10 minutes, you’ll reach your first views of some tea plantations.
Watch for the beautiful Stone Walls (巨石駁坎) around here. The walls are holding up some tea terraces and the small road to your right.
You can see these stone walls even better, and find several more of them, if you hike or ride a scooter up that small road from the highway as I did. You won’t be able to get from Eryanping trail to the road, though.
The wooden stairs will pass along the tea farm. Soon, you’ll reach a couple small staircases going up some of those beautiful stone walls.
That will take you to Eryanping Trail First Pavilion here (see below image), which actually has two small pavilions. Take a rest here and enjoy the stunning views.
After the two pavilions, the tea farm views don’t stop as you keep walking along the top of them.
These are about a dozen huge boulders scattered in the tea fields. They make for stunning photographs, so consider to go off the trail a little here to see them. You can walk a few minutes down the scooter road to find more of them.
Next, return to the hiking trail and go up the staircase I mentioned into the bamboo forest. This will soon lead to another pavilion GoogleMaps calls Eryanping Trail Second Pavilion (二延平步道第二休憩亭) here.
Note: on maps posted at the trail and the map I shared above, this pavilion is indicated with a little pavilion symbol, but has no name, and the name “2nd Pavilion” is given to the sunset platform at the top).
After this pavilion, you’ll be on the final stretch to the top (sunset) platform. As you get close to the top platform, you’ll be walking up the famous staircase which you can see in most Eryanping photos.
The top platform is called Xiding Eryanping Trail Cloud Viewing Platform (二延平步道第二休憩亭) on GoogleMaps and located here. There’s actually a row of four lookout platforms (one covered and three not covered) with a small parking lot beside them.
The platforms face west, the direction of sunset. However, even at sunrise, the view is very beautiful. You may get some colors in the sky to your left, as you look down the famous staircase.
I’ve included some (paid/licensed) stock photographs below to show just how beautiful the sunsets can be there.
It’s possible to see sea of clouds at sunset or sunrise from here. You may also witness the “cloud waterfall” phenomenon when looking to your far left, as the clouds spill over the ridge.
You won’t be able to see the sunrise directly from this platform because it’s facing the wrong direction. To watch the sunrise directly, you’ll need to follow the car road downhill (if you are walking up the staircase, turn right at the top) for five minutes.
The road will do a 180-degree turn, after which you’ll have an amazing view of the valley and mountains to the east. The sun will rise above those mountains. This is the same way to walk for Mist Trail. If you follow Mist Trail further down, you can find some more sunrise viewpoints beside or above tea farms (more info on those below).
Tea Mist Trail
Tea Mist Trail (茶霧之道) is a shorter but steeper hike to the same lookout platform. Budget around 1.5 hours return for this hike, but the time is going to vary based on how quickly you walk and how many breaks you take.
From the trailhead, the trail ascends steeply through a beautiful tea farm. You’ll go up a series of ladders which ascend the many terraces of the tea farm.
You’ll definitely be huffing and puffing as you reach the Tea Mist Trail Pavilion (茶霧之道涼亭) here (see image below).
From this pavilion, you’ll have beautiful views of tea farms looking both up and down the mountain.
You could watch the sunrise from this pavilion, but the views will get better if you go even higher.
Continuing up from there, the trail will go through a small section of bamboo forest, then some amazing views of the adjacent tea farm will open up to your left (see the two below pics).
You’ll soon reach a small scooter road at the top of this adjacent tea farm. Before you turn right to continue along the trail, go left to stand at the top of this incredible tea farm and enjoy the view.
My favorite sunrise spot is here at that the top of that tea farm. That’s where I watched an incredible sunrise (see photo below). Although you can’t see them in the photo, the tea terraces were just below me.
I was able to drive my scooter to this spot, but a car could not fit. If you’re driving up to the Eryanping sunset lookout, you can possibly park here on the way up and walk one minute to my favorite spot, but parking will be very tight on the narrow road.
From my “favorite spot”, head back to the Tea Mist Trail and continue past it to the car road and turn left.
You’ll need to walk up the car road a bit, then cut through the bamboo forest again to meet the car road again once again around here. From this road, once again you’ll have an amazing sunrise view. This will be the highest possible sunrise vantage point before you reach Eryanping platform.
Continue along the car road as it goes around a 180-degree turn, and that will bring you to Eryanping Platform on the other side of the ridge, facing the sunset!
When I went for sunrise, I tried to arrive before well before sunrise time (you can find the current sunrise times on the Alipedia app – it’s for Alishan, but it will be about the same). I went to Eryanping Platform first, where I could see some beautiful sea of clouds and colors in the sky starting from around 30 minutes before sunrise time.
Then I went down to my “favorite spot” on Mist Trail to watch the actual sunrise over the horizon from there.
Where to Eat in Xiding
Most guesthouses in Xiding will offer breakfast but not lunch or dinner. If you’re planning to arrive and then go hiking right away, it might be smart to bring some lunch or snacks with you from Chiayi.
There’s a 24-hour HiLife here, which is an 8-minute walk north along the highway from Tea Mist Trailhead but a rather long 30-minute walk from Eryanping Trailhead. You can always count on getting a simple meal here if you can’t find anything else open.
There’s a small café here across the street from Tea Mist trailhead, but opening times may be quite limited – the times on GoogleMaps may be wrong.
There are also several shops selling tealeaves along the highway just north of Tea Mist Trailhead. These shops sell Alishan High Mountain Tea, Taiwan’s most famous tea, which is what you see growing on the slopes all around Xiding and Shizhuo. Read my guide to Taiwanese teas for more info.
Eight minutes’ walk south of Tea Mist Trailhead, this small restaurant is run by a tea farmer, but again opening times may be limited and space inside is small so it is sometimes fully booked.
With a car, it’s worth driving to Yupasu (游芭絲鄒宴餐廳, here), a Tsou aboriginal tribe restaurant with an incredible view.
The menu features aboriginal grilled meats, mountain greens, tofu with Alishan fresh wasabi, sticky rice bamboo tubes, locally grown teas, and aboriginal millet wine. The menu is in Mandarin, so use a translation app if you need to – here are my recommended apps for Taiwan.