A must-do hike, the Walami Trail begins high above the Nanan River, about 12km southeast of Yuli in the eastern Nanan section of Yushan National Park. Along the path there are high waterfalls, suspension bridges, lookouts, sections cut straight into the cliff walls, and the constant sound (and occasionally sight) of monkeys crashing through the trees.
It's a subtropical jungle out there – and one of the best preserved in Taiwan. The views down the valley and across the mountains are chillingly beautiful.
The trail hails from the Japanese era and was built to facilitate the opening of the east as well as maintain a careful eye on indigenous tribes. In fact, the Walami Trail forms part of the much-longer Japanese-era Batongguan Traversing Route, which cuts right across Yushan National Park.
You can hike the first couple of kilometres without permits. With permits you can hike the 14km (six to seven hours) up to the attractive Walami Cabin and spend the night. The A-frame cabin has water and room for 24 hikers.
Apply at least a week ahead of time for a permit (see Yushan National Park website: www.ysnp.gov.tw). On the day of your hike check in at the Nanan Visitor Centre and then pick up a mountain permit at the police station. If you plan to return the same day you can pick up a one-day pass (on the same day) at the visitor centre provided you apply earlier than 9am.
If you don't have your own transportation, a taxi from Yuli to the visitor centre will cost about NT$400, more if you want the driver to wait while you arrange permits and then drive you the last 6km to the trailhead.
Consider renting a bike in Yuli. You'll first pass old Hakka villages dating back to the 1850s, then along open fields, and finally up the deep wooded Nanan River gorge – passing Nanan Waterfall (南安瀑布; Nánān Pùbù) – which just gets more lush and wild with every kilometre.