The Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area is one of the most exciting tourist stops in Nantou, Taiwan. You won’t run out of things to do in this natural park since it has so many attractions for you to enjoy. It offers magnificent waterfalls, soothing hot springs, and lush forest that is filled with beautiful flowers, pine trees and maple trees. A number of rivers converge in Aowanda, thereby forming waterfalls, unique landscapes and hot springs, namely the Aowanda, Wandanan River and Wandapei River Hot Springs.
This popular 2,700-hectare recreation park is also known to many as a “Home for Maple Trees”, because of the many colorful maple trees that beautify and light up the landscape. The maple trees and the entire forest change color by the season. The trees are colored light green in spring, deep green in summer, and stunningly bright red in autumn and winter. The tall foliage is amazing to watch as they dance to the blowing soft winds. The park’s Maple Tree Trail is made up of various kinds of maple trees.
Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area is found in the county of Nantou in Central Taiwan. It is popular for its stunning natural resources and considered by many to be the “Switzerland in the East”. The capital and only city in the county is Nantou City. Although it is tiny, beach-less, and far from Taipei, visitors regularly come here to enjoy its many breathtaking natural treasures.
Around 3,500 visitors come here every day, especially in the months of October and November. They come for the many natural attractions but primarily for the maple trees. The most popular activities are bird watching, hiking, sightseeing, and Nature photography set in a mild climate and pleasant weather all year round. The roads leading to the park, however, were recently damaged by a strong typhoon, since Taiwan is situated along the Asian typhoon path. The roads have been restored and visitors have made their way back.
Other than the Maple Tree Trail that cuts across the maple forest, facilities inside the forest recreation area include the Cherry Blossoms Garden (showcasing pretty pinky cherry blossoms), Maple Suspension Bridge (that overlooks the gorgeous maple forest), Strongmen Slope (a challenging trail for hikers), Ecology Classroom and Forest Classroom (with a trail and platform for bird-watching), Forest Trail (featuring pine trees and singing birds), and JoAnn’s Branch (a special spot for bird-watching).
Aowanda is home to about 120 species of exotic birds, which include the yellow-throated minivet, oft-sighted vivid niltava, Formosan blue magpie and green-backed tit. The park is a world-famous bird watcher’s paradise that is regularly visited by avian enthusiasts and Nature lovers from all over the globe. The best time to come for bird-watching is from November to June. There are also tons of butterflies and fireflies. Butterflies rule in March through October, while it is the fireflies’ turn from April to June.
The Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area is open every day from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is NT$150 for adults and NT$100 for children on Monday to Friday, and NT$200 for adults and NT$100 for children on weekends and holidays. The park is located on Da-an Road, Cin-ai, Village, Jenai Township.