Highway 24

Pingtung County

The last section of Hwy 24 is a gorgeous winding highway that leads you deep into the mountains. Not for the fainthearted, some parts of the road run along very steep cliffs. Do check the road conditions before setting off, as the area is inaccessible during heavy rains. You have to register at the police station (at the Km26.8 mark) before entering the Wutai area.

This section of the road, between Sandimen and Wutai (霧台; Wùtái), is 18km long and the altitude changes from 100m to above 1000m. Expect head-spinning views of the river, valleys, waterfalls, cliffs and indigenous villages. Wutai (after the Km39 mark) is an attractive Rukai settlement, with an unusual Catholic church and traditional slate-walled houses.

From Wutai, you can continue the last 8km to the abandoned village of Ali, or head back and make a detour to Dewen (德文; Déwén), a pretty coffee-growing village sitting 800m to 1200m above sea level. To get to Dewen, switch to County Rd 31 (northbound) before you reach the police station (if you're going downhill). From this turnoff, it's a 6km drive to the village.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Pingtung County attractions

1. Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

2.81 MILES

If you manage to enter this Rukai Catholic church (c 1959) – it sometimes closes when there's no mass – you'll see some unusual religious art. Rukai…

2. Indigenous Peoples Cultural Park

3.68 MILES

The park, set in forested mountains, displays true-to-life examples of traditional indigenous houses and communal structures. A museum near the entrance…

3. Lovers Gorge Waterfall

8.88 MILES

You can drive up to the first of the five levels of this waterfall, only the first three of which are accessible by a trail. It's easy to reach but less…

4. Purple Butterfly Valley

9.54 MILES

The valley known for purple butterfly-watching is not one geographical location, but a number of sites around Maolin National Scenic Area. The best time…

5. Maolin Gorge Waterfall

9.74 MILES

The 14m-high Maolin Gorge Waterfall is the more attractive of the two waterfalls in the scenic area, the other being Lovers Gorge Waterfall. You'll see a…

6. Duona

11.21 MILES

Duona village, lying in a river gorge, is home to the Rukai tribe. Though not many traditional houses remain, the village is worth visiting to see how the…

7. Choose Chius

12.62 MILES

This is where Taiwan's first cacao grower, Mr Chiu, and his son run their restaurant and chocolate-making facility. They're the only Taiwanese chocolate…

8. East Gate

13.29 MILES

Meinong's (heavily restored) 18th-century East Gate was one of many structures built for defence against invaders and wild beasts.