Alishan, Taiwan, or Ali Mountain, is one of the top tourist destinations in southern Taiwan. Not only is it a relaxing escape from the city, but it is also a wonderland for nature and wildlife lovers.
The Alishan Mountain range in Chiayi County was once aboriginal land rich in cypress trees (also known as Hinoki or Taiwania trees). Loggers discovered the area and the Alishan Forest Railway was built to transport the trees. When the resources in the area were exhausted, the railway was slowly transformed to accommodate a growing number of tourists who came for the tea and wasabi that grew well in the area. at the turn of the twenty-first century, the area was designated as a National Scenic Area and has become known as one of the eight wonders of Taiwan.
The narrow-gauge Alishan Forest Railway still exists today and is one of the most popular tourist attractions. Travelers can catch the train in Chiayi and ride all the way to Alishan National Scenic Area. The train is most crowded in the early hours of the morning, when tourists cram on the Zhushan line to see a stunning sunrise (and often a cloud sea) over Jade Mountain. Escaping the crowds to find a more private viewing spot is a must, as the sunrise is one of the most serene and breathtaking in Taiwan.
Although the area was cleared of many of its natural resources, forests of ancient trees still remain, and can be seen on a stroll around the forest area. The railway also stops at Shenmu (or Sacred Tree) Station.
Those who wish to try some of Alishan's famous tea, wasabi, or aiyu jelly should be sure to stop at Fenqihu Station. In addition to snacking through a traditional Taiwanese Old Street, travelers can learn about the town's history at the railroad museum, or take a quick stroll to see ancient cedar trees and bamboo forests.
Alishan, Taiwan hostels are available to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. It's advisable that you book your Alishan, Taiwan hostel months in advance, and as they can get particularly busy during the spectacular cherry blossom season (February through April) and in the summer months (July and August). If your chosen Alishan, Taiwan hostel is full, there are several hostels in the nearby Chiayi City.
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