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Alishan, Taiwan

December 15, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Alishan National Forest Recreation Area

Alishan, the famed mountain in southern Taiwan is a place that I had wanted to visit for a long time even before the historic railway track was damaged by earthquake.  The railway has been partially restored to Fengchihu from Chiayi.  So with camera packed we set off to Alishan.

Fengchihu Railway stationThe railway now terminates at Fengchihu. The journey takes about 2 hours from Chiayi. From here, we caught a bus to Alishan Park.

The train we took from Chiayi arriving at Fengchihu Station.

One of the must do activity at Alishan is to watch the sunrise.  The best sunrise spot is at Mt Ogasawara Viewing platform.  To get to the platform, visitors had to wake up at 4.30 am to catch the 5.30 am train from Alishan station to Zhushan station, a journey of 25 minutes.  The viewing platform is about 15 minutes hike from Zhushan.  As we stayed at Alishan for 2 nights, we did this early morning trip twice!

Sunrise on day 1.  One bonus we did not expect this late in the year was the lingering red leaves on the maple trees.

Sunrise on day 2.  We did not get the sea of cloud but the experiencing the beautiful of this mountain and watching the sunrise in this magical place was good enough.  At least we get to see the sun rose on both morning.  

Red leaves illuminated by the sunburst.
 

After the sunrise, we hiked down to Zhaoping through the Zhushan footpath passing cedars trees and ground cover carpeted with moss, lichen and lush green vegetation.

At Zhaoping, we hiked along a disused railway track to the Shuishan Giant Tree which is still alive after 2300 years...that is before Jesus or Mohammad were born.

The forest was so peaceful here that even the cat sat down and meditate; or maybe it was stalking a bird for dinner.

In the late afternoon, we strolled to the sister ponds and cedar grooves around there.  The late afternoon sun pierced the canopy with shafts of light bathing the undergrowth with a soft warm glow. Parts of the ground around the tree roots are littered with autumn leaves.

We also visited the Xianglin Sacred Tree, the thousand year Cypress, the Tree Spirit Pagoda and the nearby Ciyun Temple where there were some exquisite Calla lillies which immediately reminded me of  Marplethorpe's classic images which I tried to emulate.

We concluded our visit of the area after walking the Giant Tree Plank Trail where there are many giant trees of between 800 to 2000 years old.  Yes Alishan is magical and the beauty of the place surpassed my expectation.


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