Alishan (阿里山), located in the central Taiwan, is one of the most
well-known mountain resorts in Taiwan and among the neighboring
Asian countries. Alishan is famed for its 5 wonders: sunrise,
sunset, cloud sea, various forest facets, and mountain train.
Alishan mountain range is one of the five mountain ranges in
Taiwan, and is composed of 18 peaks above 2,000 meters. What most
people mean when they say they are going to "Alishan,"
they are referring to the tourist village inside the Alishan
Forest Recreation Area, which has a total of 1400 hectares
embracing high mountain peaks and rich cultural and natural
Getting there ...
Our bus departed from Taipei at around 8:30AM, and got to
Taichung to pick up my uncle and we had a quick lunch at around
11:00AM. Similar to our last trip to Central Taiwan 2 years
ago, my uncle (who was retired from Forestry Bureau) arranged
this entire trip for us. After lunch, we rode the bus to Fen Chi
Hu (奮起湖) and switch to the famous Alishan mountain train. We had a walk
around the "Old Street" in Fen Chi Hu before our train
arrived at 3:45PM. From Fen Chi Hu (elevation 1405m), the train
climbs using different ways: 3 times of switch back rides and one
time of "8" ride at Tuli Shan, and the "Z"
ride at the split railway.
The Second Day ...
- Jhushan (祝山)
The Alishan experience will not be complete without going
to see the sunrise at Jhushan. There were 3 cars/vans
taking us to a viewing platform, which was far away from
the train station where most visitors were gathering for
sunrise on Jhushan, and we had the entire top of the
mountain to ourselves. The most incredible view was the
cloud formation that it was like a waterfall flowing over
a cliff. Thirty minutes after sunrise, the clouds have
risen and covered the places around us.
We got off our cars on the half way down from Jhushan and
started the easy walk downhills. We visited the Guest House
which was late president Chiang Kai-Shek's villa when he
- Tefuyeh Trail (特富野登山古道)
After a nice breakfast at the Alishan Hotel Annex, we
headed to the Tefuyeh Trail, which follows an old
railroad track winding through dense forests. It is an
easy, shady, and leveled hike, and all of us enjoyed the
walk and fresh forest smell.
- Giant Trees Trail (巨木棧道)
After a lunch break, we all started the hike on the Giant
Trees Trail in the Alishan Forest Recreation Area. We
passed by a few traditional Alishan landmarks: Elephant Trunk (象鼻樹), Three Generation Tree (三代木),
Pagoda of Tree
Spirit (樹靈塔), Guangwu
Cypress (光武檜), Shoujen
Temple (受鎮宮), and the most famous Alishan Sacred Tree (神木) which
was hit by lightning in 1956, and was fallen and put to
rest in 1997. There are about 20 giant trees along the
trail and each one is numbered with its age, height,
perimeter, etc., and all the kids were busy in
remembering those specs.
We did not have a chance to really enjoy the sunset time
at Alishan. All I had was a moment of glance of sunset on
our way walk to the Alishan Hotel Annex for dinner.
The Last Day ...
- Jhushan (祝山)
I decided to take the train to Jhushan for another
sunrise. The experience was very different from the day
before: it was so crowded that I almost could not find a
spot for myself!! There were 2 trains departed in the
morning (I caught the 2nd one at 4:30AM), and each train
had 8 cars with ~ 50-60 people in each car. This brought
~ 1000 people to Jhushan and almost all were jammed at
the viewing platforms around the train station. It was
the busiest morning I've ever had to start a day.
- Tatajia (塔塔加)
We left Alishan after having a breakfast at around
9:30AM. We entered Yushan (玉山) National Park and stopped at
Tatajia visitor center since Linus has threw up twice in
the bus because of the winding road. Tataja is the
trailhead to climb Yushan, and it has a nice view for a
few high mountains. We went back to the bus after a short
break and started to descend via New Central Cross-Island
Road (新中橫) back to Nantou. The ride was quite bumpy sometimes
because the road has been washed out from previous storms
and there were some temporary passages over the river
Going Home ...
After came back from the mountains, we went to visit a few
relatives in Nantou because it is my parents' home town, and
stayed there till 5PM. Since we had too much snack in the
afternoon, we decided to skip a formal dinner and had a casual
one at a resting area along the highway on our way back to
Taipei. With the temperature ranging from 15 to 25 degree C,
Alishan is a nice place to escape the extreme summer heat and
humidity from Taipei.
[Back to Photo Page] [Go to Alishan Gallery]