Luye Highland (aka Luye Platform, Luye Gaotai), is a hill in Taitung County's Eastern Rift Valley, and is one of the most popular spots in the country for hot air ballooning and paragliding. Every summer since 2011, the longest running hot air balloon festival in Taiwan has been held here. Even if you are not a fan of going high in the sky, the area has beautiful scenery, especially of the surrounding eastern rift valley.
Luye Highland rests on a hill in Luye township of Taitung County that is about 350 meters above sea level. In 2011, the Taitung government organized the first "Taiwan International Balloon Festival" with over 350,000 people in attendance, which has been held every year since. Because the festival lasts for more than a month, according to Taiwan Everything this makes it the longest hot air balloon festival in the world.
Apart from the festival, Hot Air balloons and para-gliders take off from Luye Highland year round, weather permitting. There are paragliding lessons and rides daily which you can sign up for on site. There is also a large grassy area in the center of the hill for public use, such as push car rides.
How to get there:
By Car: From Taipei, take National Highway 5 to Yilan, then drive south on provincial road 9 until you get to Luye. See the map below for the location of the Highlands. It will be hard to miss.
By Train: Take the TRA to Luye station, and then walk, take a taxi, or take a bus to Luye Highlands (the train station is roughly 2 kilometers away from the highlands).
By Plane: Fly into Taitung Airport from Taipei, then take a taxi to the highlands.
Paragliding: 1800-2500 NT
Hot Air Ballooning: 500 NT and above depending on time
Push Car Rides: 100 NT per ride
The grounds are open 24 hours, but if you want to paraglide or ride in a hot air balloon, you should go between 8:30 am and 6:00 pm.
When to Go:
The Taitung balloon festival runs from June to August, which is when we recommend going. For exact dates of the festival, check here.
Other than that, go when the weather is good. However, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to ride in a hot air balloon any day of the year, but it is much more likely you will be able to paraglide.
Please see below:
The first time I came to Luye was in the winter of 2015, when the weather was crappy. However, this didn't stop people from paragliding on that day. We made our way to the main viewing platform and took photos.
On the main grassy area is a push-cart track, a popular activity for young children. Be warned that the price is 100 NT per ride.
With a good push these kids can go maybe 200 yards.
A paraglider just landing onto the field.
View of the main grassy area. The main grassy area and viewing tower are good places to just relax and look at hot air balloons and paragliders.
A paraglider sailing over Luye Township.
A solid paragliding trip will keep you up there for 5-10 minutes.
Main map of Luye.
Endless safety precautions. Be prepared to sign your life away if you do go up in the air.
Even though I didn't go paragliding on any of my trips there, I did enjoy the scenery as well as watching other people risk their lives.
Coming down the mountain, you have the choice of going to Hualien to the right, or Taitung to the left. Both are the right answer.
A view of the paragliders from down below.
Okay so we didn't go up in the air. But if you are interested, check out this article about hot air ballooning at Luye Highland by Taiwan Everything here, or this article about paragliding at Luye Highland by Going Awesome Places here!
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We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.