Alishan is probably one of the most famous attractions in Taiwan. Located in the mountains of Chiayi County, Taiwan, the Alishan National Scenic Area is definitely a must-go for families!
An overnight stay is highly recommended so as to do everything there is to do there. Also, crowds of tourists often vanish at mid-to late afternoon, giving the entire area for one to relax in. Viewing the sunset and sunrise on the mountain range will be infinitely easier as well. The beautiful scenery, cool air, and many undemanding trails dotting the area make it a perfect place to unwind with your family.
To get there, it is highly recommended for one to take the Alishan Forest Railway. A relic from the days of Japanese occupation, the railway station was originally a centre for the logging industry at Alishan. Now, it still retains elements of the archaic 20th century architecture making it a novel sight. Kids who love Thomas the Train cartoons will definitely find this a treat! Antique-looking diesel trains power along the rail. The train track itself has 50 tunnels, 77 wooden bridges and unique Z-shaped switchbacks, making it a fun and novel experience for the whole family. The train ride offers an amazing view of the countryside, with the train moving through dense stretches of bright green forests, with the trees looming overhead and mist coating the air. Or perhaps it moves along the slopes, a sheer drop only over the rails, the fright justified by the exquisite view of the valley downwards, verdant trees and grass. If the season is right, cherry blossoms will be in bloom, tiny pink flowers all over the area, with the light pink limbs of the cherry blossoms even extending over the train itself. The sights offered by the train ride itself is worth the ticket.
For accommodation, one can find many hotels and hostels clustered around the Alishan railway station itself, making it simple for families with tired tots to recuperate before taking on the park.
Once there, the park has no shortage of things to do. First and foremost however, breathe in the sharp mountain air and luxuriate in your surroundings. The National Scenic Area is surrounded by breath-taking sights, be it the view of the mountain range, or the trees and forested areas blanketing the entire area. The Alishan Giant Tree Trail is highly recommended. Surrounded by a dense forest of green trees, who have been old before our grandfather’s grandfathers were born, a feeling of tranquillity and peace descends on anyone walking the trail. Also the Japanese lumbers had left behind souvenirs- Japanese temples and pagodas can be found throughout the trail.
A visit to Fenqihu will be highly interesting as well. A street is still kept in its early 20th century edition, giving the place of antiquated beauty. Nostalgia is heavy, with many buildings still retaining their antique Japanese architecture. A light sightseeing stroll might open some eyes and will be amenable to both young and old. Furthermore, the renowned Fenqihu lunchboxes call their home there, highly tasty bento sets which should not be missed. More products such as tofu and jelly and cakes only found on mountain cuisine make the visit a must!
And of course, any visit to Alishan would entail some tea tourism, a rave especially with the more elderly family members. Alishan tea is some of the finest in the world, and while the price may be steep, but it is well worth it. The delicate fragrance and richness of the Alishan drink make it a prized commodity.
Last but not least, sun-chasing in Alishan is a definite and unchanging must. There are many observation platforms along the mountainsides where one can see the full glory of sunset and sunrise. The beauty of the scene, when the sun breaks below the cloud cover and the light shoots through the clouds to break into many layers of indescribable beauty, is truly one of a kind. Do not miss any opportunity to see either the sunset or sunrise!