The scenic Southern Cross-Island Highway (
Since the highway zigzags through a wide area of the Yushan National Park (
Highway No. 20 was completed in 1973 but was opened to the public in 1993, because of the dangers inherent in its treacherous terrain and the frequent landslides.
The highway rises from a few hundred meters above sea-level at Tainan to 2,731m at Yakou (土
More importantly, this spectacular route, stretching 209km from Tainan to Taitung, passes by the southwest entrance of the Yushan National Park, at the route's 109.5km mark and extends to the 147km mark, at the west end of Yakou Tunnel. The terrain of the park rises from Lakulaku Stream Valley (
Such a topographically varied territory with a mild temperature gives birth to dramatic natural scenery: steep river valleys, breathtaking gorges and giant Taiwan red cypress or Morrison spruce forests.
The area's temperature is generally cool, though there is great variation between day and night and between seasons. Temperatures go as high as 30?C in the summer and drop below-zero in the winter. Best of all, snow is rarely seen on the route, mainly due to a lack of moisture in the air.
From January to March, as soon as spring touches the ground, the area is decorated with numerous flowers such as Taiwan cherries, azaleas and plum blossoms. The Taiwan lily, Formosan raspberry and glandular rosa (
Since different animals live in different floral zones, the rich variety of vegetation in Yushan National Park breeds a wide range of fauna, such as Formosan macaque, wild boar, black bear and numerous bird species, both endemic and migratory.
Across these vast mountains and green valleys, a ferociously brave tribe, whose members proclaim themselves "the sons of Yushan," has resided for many centuries.
The present-day Bunun tribe (
The Bunun are an internationally renowned group of people who are blessed with an amazing talent of choral singing. Every year, between the months of April and July, the Bunun tribesmen hold two traditional festivals.
At the height of each ceremony, a team of eight or more adult men (no women are allowed) form a small, close circle and sing praise songs such as Pasi But But (Praying for a Rich Millet Harvest, 祈禱小米豐收歌) or Manandi, (Chief Ritual Song, 首祭之歌) to worship their gods in eight vocal parts (a choir normally sings four vocal parts in the West).