No.153, Da’an Rd., Ren’ai Township, Nantou County 546, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Located in the Renai Township of Nantou, Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area is a prime location to appreciate maple leaves from November to February. It is merely an hour’s drive away from Cingjing Farm.
Covering a vast area of 2,787 hectares, Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area spans over a wide altitudinal range from 1,100m to 2,600m, where Wanda Creek (萬大溪) joins four other rivers. That explains why Aowanda has a rich biodiversity of birdlife and is home to a wealth of birds from over 120 species. If you are lucky enough, you might even spot the Formosan blue magpie (台灣藍鵲), which is an endemic species and Taiwan’s national bird. These fascinating blue crows are usually found in groups of six or more, gliding and shuttling in the woods. They are unafraid of people, so it is quite easy for birdwatchers to have a close-up look at these “long-tailed mountain ladies.” The forest management even had a number of man-made birdhouses affixed to tree trunks for birds to nest in, with cameras recording their behavior.
As you walk deep into the forest, you will find a suspension bridge spanning the valley – this is said to be the best viewing point for admiring the surrounding mountain tops. But if you have a fear of heights, think twice. As this bridge is quite long, and its imposing height might have you suffer a panic attack, not to mention that it can be a bit scary when the wind blows. The forest is huge, so expect to spend at least three hours walking around. The grandeur of maple trees bursting with colors will make you lose track of time if you are visiting during the right season. Aowanda is also a fantastic location for firefly watching all year round, but in April and May, the number of fireflies will reach its peak. These little dancing fireflies create a magical illusion in a completely natural setting of enchanted forests, which will surely be the experience of a lifetime in early spring.