Here's an account of our journey to the highest point in Taiwan
We opted for weekday ascend so we applied under Pai Yun Lodge Advanced Application for Foreigner, application starts 4 months to 35 days before the ascend date, log on to https:/… and apply for permit. Just follow the guideline - "How to Use the system"
There are 92 slots per day up for grab. One month before the commencement of the trek , there will be a ballot at 3pm.
Initially, we didn't get a slot but typhoon Matmo caused some trekkers to cancel their application so we filled up their slots.
The authority sent an email asking us to pay up but since we were foreigner, we were allowed to pay upon our arrival at Tataka Mountaineering Service Centre one day before the commencement of the trek. We also booked 2 meals and sleeping bags at Pai Yun Lodge.
We then call 049-2702213 to secure a bed at Dong Pu 东浦山庄 http://dongpu.mmweb.tw/?ptype=info
Day 1 - Took the TRA from Taipei to Chiayi (overnight at Enjoy House 嘉義‧享嘉 - 嘉義市世賢路二段612號（玉山國民中學對面）陳小姐，0963115708 @ TWD 1300 per room )
Day 2 - A cab drove us from Chiayi to Tataka Mountaineering Service Centre (TWD 3,000 one way) Tel : 886937654959 / 0928110564 Mr. Zhong (Toyota Altis - Fit 3 pax with backpacks comfortably)
Detoured to a Tea plantation, bought some Alishan Oo Long Tea
Arrived at Tataka mountaineering Service Centre, paid TWD 480 each for the Pai Yun Lodge one night accommodation. Collected the Park Entry Permit and went next door to the Tataka Police Squad to fill up form for the Mountain Entry Permit. http://eli.npa.gov.tw/E7WebO/index02.jsp
We were given 2 copies of the permits of which one copy we need to submit on the day of our trek.
Overnight at Dongpu Lodge (TWD 300 each).
Hot water available for shower from 6pm -10pm.
Accommodation is hostel style where 50 of us shared a room with mattress and thick comforter. Dinner Turkey Bento which we packed from Chiayi. Most of the trekkers had instant noodles. Power points available to charge our camera and phone.
Most of us couldn't get much sleep as trekkers came in at different time of the day / night and depart at different time (as some who couldn't secure a bed on Pai Yun Lodge opted to do a single day ascend to Yushan, some opted to camp at Yuan Fong Campsite). For those light sleeper, bring ear plug, eye pad etc.
Day 2 - Walked up to Tataka police squad and report ourselves. From Tataka Mountaineering Centre, we took the shutter bus to Tataka Saddle (trail head to Yushan). First shuttle bus start at 6:30 am and cost TWD 300 each one way - Tel : 0932832077. You can also opt to trek to the trail head as warm up , 3km uphill on tar road). Only authorized vehicles are allowed to drive up to the trail head.
After taking a group photo, we embarked on our journey to Pai Yun Lodge. It was a truly beautiful trail and with perfect weather, one of our trekker took trekker 9 hours to reach Pai Yun as he was busy taking photographs. Though it was summer and the sun was shinning it was 8c at 1pm when I arrived at Pai Yun Lodge.
Upon our arrival, we were advised by the ranger to keep ourselves warm and hydrated at all times. We paid and collected our sleeping bags and meal vouchers. Rental of sleeping bag is TWD 300, Dinner TWD 300 and Breakfast Noodle TWD 150. U can also opt for pre dawn breakfast (porridge TWD 150). Dinner was served at 5pm.
The sleeping bags were probably never washed but came with a sleeping sack (washed weekly) that smells of fresh detergent. One of our sleeping bag was full of weeds and grass, I wondered whether if a cow which rolled in a haystack slept in it). Most of us didn't use the sleeping bag as it was very stuffy in the dormitory.
No shoe, no bags and wet jacket allowed in the dormitory. We have to wear house slippers and leave our jacket at drying area and bags in locker. No warm water for shower. No rubbish bin as we are required to bring all our rubbish down. If you opt to cook, u are only allow to do simple cooking at designated area. Bring your own thermos as they periodically provide hot water for refill. No charging of phone or camera available. Bring your power bank. Cellular and internet reception available but unstable. Electricity also unstable so wear your headlight at all times.
Not all lodgers at Pai Yun has the intention to summit as I saw a group actually carried beer and hard liquor up to Pai Yun lodge and were having a jolly good drinking session at 3420 m. Out of the 12 family members who shared the dormitory with us, only 2 went to the summit.
A 9 years old girl who shared our dorm was crying constantly as she has massive headache and was given bottled oxygen. Another young man was vomiting none stop throughout the night due to AMS. It was a sleepless night for me as one of my team member was having fever and headache and I was worried sick. Thankfully he recovered for the summit attempt the next day.
Day 3 - We left at 2am for the summit. The fastest trekker summit at 430am and last trekker 630am. Beautiful sunrise but due to the constraint of space at the summit and long Q, we descended quickly after taking the photo.
As instructed by the shuttle bus driver, we called him when we reached Monroe point (1.6km before the trail head). Please take note that the last shuttle bus will leave at 5pm so those who came after that will have to hike additional 3km to Tataka / Dongpu.
We went to the Tataka centre hoping to apply for the certificate only to be informed that we need to go to their Shuili office to get an instant certificate with our summit shots. Address : Employee Cooperative, Yushan National Park Headquarters, No. 515, Sec. 1, Jungshan Rd., Shueili Shiang, Nantou, Taiwan 553, R.O.C. Since it was located 's far away and the opposite direction of where we were travelling, we didn't pursue the matter.
Back to Chiayi with cab (TWD 3,000 )
It was a truly amazing experience and all nature lovers should make an attempt to do it and not let the permit system deter you. Hope this account will shed some light in planning your trip to Yu Shan.
Happy trekking !