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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

CarmenXTW: Beautiful Alishan Forest Park 阿里山森林公园

Hey all, sorry for the wait. Just got back from another weekend trip and I'm kinda exhausted. Will tell you why soon haha. Anyways just gonna quickly share loads of photos from Alishan's trip. 

Continuing from the previous Chiayi post, the main agenda of our weekend escape was to visit the Alishan National Scenic Area 阿里山森林游乐区! I bet many of you knew that this is one of the must-go places in Taiwan! Wasn't sure what to expect at first, because it seems that the best time to visit Alishan is during spring time where the cherry blossoms blooms. Thought it wouldn't be that nice, "It's just a forest afterall, Malaysia oso got a lot laaaaa" But I was wrong. Love the weather, the beautiful sights of nature especially the super tall trees with dark green leaves that looks like a carpet over my head. Loving the peaceful and calm atmosphere. It's autumn, so there were sights of red, orange and brown tones... My camera memory was occupied at full speed haha...

Since we were staying in Chiayi City, we took the Alishan Shuttle Bus at Chiayi Train Station. 
Crazy enough, we took the 6am bus to maximize our time at Alishan.

The whole journey took around 2.5 hours!! So do check the bus schedules or else you will end up reaching only at 12pm and had to go back by 5pm. 
Anyways the journey was kinda amazing, I didn't expect 70% of the journey was on the mountain roads! Enjoyed the foggy and dream-like view haha  

Can't forget the moment I stepped down the bus, instantly feeling the cooling stream of air around, and the sun was shining brightly. Such a comfortable weather! 

The bus stopped at the tourism center, where you can find many souvenir shops and local products.

From the visitor center, we went up for our first stop. One thing I love about this scenic area, is that there's a clear route for tourists to walk along and enjoy the attractions. So you don't really need to plan on where to go or worry about getting lost, just follow the road signs or the walking path.

1. Alishan Train Station 阿里山车站
Alishan consist of several areas connected by a railway system and Alishan Train Station is one of the main stations. Each station has a different architecture and this one being the main station has a more majestic structure, spanning 3 floors, very rustic.

2. Alishan House 阿里山宾馆
Situated on a small hill, it's a beautiful hotel with an awesome patio in front. The patio has many cherry blossom trees and I can totally imagine how beautiful it will be during spring. Despite being a hotel, they actually welcome non hotel guests to visit. There's a coffee bar at the patio, wished I was enjoying a warm latte while overlooking the beautiful mountains in front.

Check out the red cherry blossom leaves. It's my first time seeing autumn hues!

3. 沼平公园 Zhao Ping Park
Up the slope from Alishan House, ZhaoPing Park was an open area with various trees surrounding. There's actually an elevated walking path that allows you to enjoy the scenery of ZhaoPing Park at higher position but I thought it's the wrong road and skipped that instead haha...
Anyways manage to catch sight of an incoming train!

One of my favorite photos
Green and reds 
If it's srping it would be green and pink (cherry blossoms!)

The railway just makes a good photo

4. 沼平车站 ZhaoPing Station
Just a few steps away from ZhaoPing park, the Zhao Ping Station is another beautiful train station with lots of cherry blossom trees surrounding it! Do explore around the area and take in the beautiful scenery of mountains and clouds ahead!
Gorgeous don't you think?

It was really foggy and the whole area looked so mystical!

5. 姐妹潭 Sisters Pond 
After Zhaoping station, it's the journey in the woods! Really love all the densely packed trees surrounding me while allowing flares of sunlight to shine down on me. Take a deep breath and let the oxygen fill your lungs. 

It didn't take long to reach Sisters Pond. 

Thought of twilight when I see all the straight and thin trees. 

You get to see trees in many different shapes as well. 

Sisters lake actually consist of two separate lakes. The first that came into sight was the "younger sister" pond 妹潭 which is smaller and looks more....gloomy...
Probably because of the light green trees around that created a canopy above the lake, with minimal sunlight going through. With the fog, it looked like a place for Chinese Ancient Kungfu Drama Series.

Just a few steps away, the Elder Sister Pond was a larger lake with dense trees surrounding it. The water was a shade of emerald and this too, looked like a place for those Chinese Ancient drama's people to sword-fight while flying around with 轻功!

6. 永结同心 Heart Tree
well unlucky for us, the heart was broken :(
The trees were suppose to be connected in a heart shape but I guess some wind or storm broke the branches.

7. 受镇宫 ShouZhen Temple
There's a block of shops opposite of the temple which sells souvenirs and food. We reached around lunch time and had the nation's popular packed lunchbox 便当!
爌肉便当 Braised Pork Lunchbox TWD100
Abit pricey but it's really a hearty meal with all the side dishes of veggies, tofu and egg. 

Of course there will be a temple in Alishan. Many visitors have prayed for good luck at this majestic Taoist temple on the hills!

A mystical lake right next to the temple. 

8. Giant Trees Boardwalk Trail 巨木群栈道 
Next we started a jungle trail of exploring the thousand years old trees. Once again, just immerse yourself in the oxygen rich jungle and snap your head up to see all the super tall trees. 

The famous no.28 Giant Tree  (28号巨木)
Think it's small? compare it with the tree next to it, the one next to it looks like chopsticks!

9. 神怡桥 Shenyi Bridge
An ancient bridge across a stream with lots of fog over. Mystical and dream-like.

10. 神木车站 Sacred Tree Station
Another out of this world place haha... It was super foggy and this wooden structured station looks like a mysterious station with trains that will take you to somewhere magical.

11. 慈云寺 CiYun Temple
Another temple and this is above the clouds. It's a hike up to this temple and when the moment I saw the temple, it did felt like I was some kid trying to go to Shaolin Temple to learn kungfu haha
The temple looks vry peaceful and undisturbed.

12. Alishan Museum 阿里山博物馆
Just a short distance from CihYun temple, there's a small museum that showcases the history and functions of Alishan. It's a place to learn about Alishan's development and it's importance to Taiwan. 

Mini figures that tells the story of Alishan's development. 

More giant trees and sights around: 
13. 千年桧木 Thousand Year Cypress

14. 三代木 Three Generation Tree
A tree on a tree on a tree. 

15. 象头木 Elephant Tree
Well my photo can't really show how it looks like. It does look like an elephant head on the front!

16. 香林拱桥 Scented Wood Bridge

And that's pretty much for Alishan, I took loads of photos, wished I could share them all!
It's really pretty over there and I really enjoyed all the walks and sights. Will miss the autumn colors of cherry blossoms, the rustic railway stations, the fairy-tale like woods and the serene surroundings. But I guess the best time to visit would be spring, where the cherry blossoms and magnolia will be in full bloom! Well, that's a good reason to visit again! :D

[Some tips]
Transport: We reached Alishan around 9.30am in the morning and finished the trail around 3pm. Well there were some attractions that we missed so I guess you will need more time (especially if you love taking photos haha) so take the earlier bus or leave with the latest bus.  
The one-way tickets cost TWD236. You can buy the bus tickets at Chiayi Train Station Ticket Booth.

Food: Suggest you to have breakfast first before starting the trail because we end up getting super hungry by 10am even though we had our breakfast at 6am . You may grab some food at the tourist center. There's 7-11 and some restaurants.
Have your lunch at the Shouzhen Temple area, many snacks and of course the famous lunchbox.

Sights: Personally think the railway stations are super beautiful and you have to visit them!

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