More Chinese Than ChinaWith over a hundred hikable peaks above 10,000 feet, Taiwan stands shoulder to shoulder with the world’s great trekking destinations. But hikers still equate the nine-million-acre island with Happy Meal trinkets, not snowcapped summits. In 2009 Asia specialist KE Adventure Travel leads a tour of Taiwan’s spectacular trail-and-mountain-hut network (paths date back to the early 20th-century Japanese occupation). "You can go from a very tropical, bustling Chinese city to remote mountains very quickly," says trip leader Richard Price. Taiwan was spared the destruction of China’s Cultural Revolution, so in many ways it’s more Chinese than mainland China (thousands of temples are still in use). The island, 125 miles off the coast, is a mix of marsh, broad-leaved woodland, cloud forest, and five ranges. Thirteen-thousand-foot Jade Mountain is the crown jewel of KE’s hiking trips. "Walking along the spine you’ll experience the different ecological zones and have a great view of other mountain ranges," says Price. There, far from the crowds of Taipei, your chances of seeing small Asiatic bears, marmots, ferrets, and butterflies are better than seeing humans.
Outfitter: KE Adventure Travel; keadventure.com
Length: 15 days
Departs: April, October
Next: Indonesia: Where There Be Dragons