Getting to Alishan (阿里山)

Alishan is a famous forest recreation area in Taiwan. It is famous for 5 things:

  1. Alishan Forest Railway (铁路)
  2. The forest trail (森林)
  3. Sunrise (日出)
  4. Sunset (晚霞)
  5. Sea of clouds (云海)

The most popular activity for tourists is to watch the sunrise and sea of clouds at Zhushan (祝山).

Alishan National Scenic Areas: http://www.ali-nsa.net/english/00home/home.php

An interesting way to go up to Alishan is to take the Alishan Forest Train. There are many scenic views along the way. One can also stop by Fencihu (奋起湖) station to try the many bento sets (lunchbox sets, 便当). Besides that, Fencihu also has some old streets and a small train museum which one can explore.

However, all that cannot be achieved at the moment as the Alishan Forest Railway is down due to damages caused by typhoons. According to news reports, the railway won’t be up till next year, 2012.

http://tw.news.yahoo.com/article/url/d/a/110918/78/2ywoc.html (Chinese)

An alternative mode of transport is to take a bus from Chiayi train station (嘉义火车站) up the mountain. However, buses on weekdays do not stop by Fencihu, so it’s really a pity!

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My friend and I are travelling from Kaohsiung (高雄) to Alishan on a weekday. We are disappointed that we can’t take the forest train, but nevertheless, we are still excited over the forest trail, sunrise and sunset!

We plan to take a TRA train (台铁) from Kaohsiung to Chiayi, then switch to a public bus (嘉义公车) from the train station to Alishan.

The train to Zhushan is said to be up by the end of October. But we are still worried about not being able to watch the sunrise, so we booked a room that comes with guided tour for the sunrise and forest trail. For those who do not wish to book guided tours, you may want to ask the tourist service centre (located near Alishan train station) if there other ways to go up to Zhushan other than by train.

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