High above in the mountains, Alishan is a hill station shrouded in mist, preserving an ancient past.
From Kaoshiung we boarded the HSR train at the Zuoying station for Chiayi which is about 30 minutes in the train. I had time for coffee at starbucks and then I boarded the bus just outside the station to Alishan. Plan your trip as the buses have specific timings. I took the bus at 10:10 AM and the tickets are to be bought while boarding the bus. The bus takes about 2.5 hours from Chiayi to Alishan , just after 30 minutes of straight highways, the bus started its climb across winding mountains. Must say it was not the most comfortable ride with so many turns but the cloud and mist made the view a welcome change from the routine city skies. Finally, I had to buy tickets to enter Alishan National park and it was a bit chilly and very misty indeed.
Take the mini train at Alishan station and get off at Zhaoping station and get lost in the woods! The trees are amazing, some of them are truly “Giant Trees” around 3000 years old. They belong to the cypress family. The evening mist and thousands of tall trees make the atmosphere serene and surreal. It does seem spooky as the light fades and a touch scary indeed.
You will find several weird shaped trees , heart, pig, elephant – whatever the shape they are all huge and seem to have a life of their own. Do they wake up and move at night…?
The Alishan Sacred Tree was struck by lightning and finally fell several years ago . It lay in its resting place which is the same where it would have been born from a seed 3000 years ago
There are a few small lakes in the middle of the forest which makes the place a magical. Most lakes have crystal clear water and are completely see through to the bottom.
A misty evening at the Sacred Tree station. The mist and the silence gives you a sense of peace and tranquility. As the sun sets, the last few sun beams try to light up the mist and a few rays breakout from within the mist…
After the chilly walk through the forests of Alishan, what better than finding a warm and cozy coffee place – “Alishan Coffee”, the owner seemed like a man with a passion for collectibles and has created the perfect environment for a cup of tea overlooking the dusky sky and cypress trees on a fading backdrop of the Alishan mountains…
There are several choices of coffee and tea to choose from in the coffee shop . I choose blue mountain tea with peanut butter toast..what a nice end to the evening, Then had a quick dinner and went to bed early for I had an early morning the next day
Next morning, I was up at 3:30 AM and headed out to the Alishan station only to find there were several hundreds of people already lining up to take the small train which would take us to the place from which we could see the sun rise . It takes about 30 minutes in the train to reach the top , a small station called Chu-Shan
Its fairly easy to get a front spot to the view unless you decide to take a stroll. Get out of the train and head straight to the fencing and take a spot to the left of a solitary tree and this is what you will see.
Slowly but surely the orange glow intensifies as the sharp sun rays burst through the angles within the massive mountain ranges till a point where one is blinded by the powerful appearance of the sun hitting straight into the eyes
The sun now shines bright and sunny and its time to head back and this time we queue up well in advance to get a seat as we climb down the hill back to the Alishan station
Back to the Alishan station and you are greeted with clear blue skies , the mist from the early morning is now all gone as the sun shines bright and you are glad to receive the warm sunshine
Time to bid goodbye to the beautiful Alishan mountains. Time to catch up some much deserved sleep on the bus ride on the way downhill as we arrive at Chiayi. Then we board the train to Taipei