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14.1.16

阿里山 Alishan

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I have heard of this place way too many times from my relatives as some of them are residing in Taiwan. My maternal side of the family loves everything Taiwanese - TV shows, food, music, attractions etc. So I sorta kinda know what to eat and where to go when I finally get to visit this beautiful country. As all of you might already know, I'm a sucker for nature and Alishan National Scenic Area is definitely a must-see when I'm in Taiwan. Oh and also, I grew up listening to the song, 阿里山的姑娘 (The Girls of Alishan) that refers to the beautiful girls of the Tsou aborginal tribe, one of Taiwan's most popular folk songs.

The Alishan National Scenic Area is a mountain resort and national park located in the mountains of Chiayi County in Taiwan. It includes, among other things, mountain wilderness, villages, waterfalls, high altitude tea plantations, the Alishan Forest Railway, and several hiking trails. The area is also famous for its production of high mountain tea and wasabi!

The most memorable experience from Alishan would be its idyllic and spectacular sunrise and hiking trails. Believe it or not, it was also my first time catching the sunrise. For the first it was absolutely magical I loved every single moment of it!

So there's a list of things to do in Alishan: 

Attractions

The national park is relatively family friendly tourist attraction for nature-lovers and tea enthusiasts.


  1. Chase the sun. The sunrise has claimed its fame and if you ask any local what is the most important thing to do at Alishan, they would all tell you to head over to the highest peak to catch the sun peeking up from underneath the "sea of clouds". To get there, you will have to take the old Alishan train from Alishan station to the Jhushan station to get a glimpse of the phenomenon. 
  2. Alishan Giant Tree Trail. The more you hike the more Alishan would reveal its natural wonders. Getting around Alishan is quite easy and it will involve some combination of trains, walking and hiking. Maps are widely available in English for travelers. For the Alishan Forest Railway, be sure to check the train times with your hotel as some may only depart for sunrises and the like, and they are also prone to shutdowns due to the volatile mountain terrain. 
  3. Fen Qi Hu 奮起湖. A small town of low wooden buildings built into the mountain side, midpoint of the Alishan Forest Railway. This place is famous for its natural rock formations, mountain streams, forests and ruins of Shinto temple. Also famous for its production of high altitude food products such as bamboo shoots and Aiyu Jelly. One of the must try would be the local box lunches 奮起湖便當 which were once sold to passengers on the rail line. 

Eating in Alishan

  1. Most restaurants in Alishan are more or less on the same level, serving up a mixture of local mountain vegetables in Taiwanese style. You'd find something that will suit your taste. If all else fails, go to 7-11. 
Accommodation
  1. The Alishan Train Station surrounding area is jam packed with hotels. Be aware that during major Taiwanese holidays, long weekends or the Cherry Blossom Festival, it may be nearly impossible to find a room. 
  2. Do take advantage of the hotels' highly discounted weekday rates. If you could only go during the weekend or holiday, booking in advance is necessary. 
PS: I'm still trying to put together my Taiwan Vlog. So watch this space for weekly updates on my travel escapades! x 

Fierce and Love, 
J

Follow me on Instagram and Snapchat @joyceroxanne for more updates!


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