Day 3 / 20-Sept-2015 : Watch Sunrise at Alishan
Today we have to wake up super early so we can be at Alishan Station by 4am to catch the sunrise at the top of Alishan National Scenic Area . The owner of our homestay, The owner, we call her “Lǎo bǎn niáng” or literally means lady-boss helped us arranged a van who will bring us to Alishan station. The fee is 300 NTD per person, 500 NTD if you choose to be pick up after watching the sunrise, the driver will wait for you at a given time and place. We decided to take our own time after sunrise so we just opted for one-way fare.
The homestay prepared the breakfast the night before so when we wake up early the next morning, we have something to eat before we leave for Alishan. One table offers local cuisine like porridge, steamed buns or pao’s. Another table has bread and different spreads with coffee and different locally produced herbal teas.
After a 30-minute travel, we arrived at Alishan Station, our driver helped buy for us the entrance fee (200 NTD) for Alishan National Scenic Area and the train ticket to the top of the mountain (150 NTD), so we only have to queue for the entrance to the train station. So if you are going on your own, you will have to queue for this things before you can proceed to queue at Alishan train station. After another 30 minute train ride, we arrived at Zhushan Station, from there another 5-minute hike to the viewing platform. The “Lǎo bǎn niáng” gave us a very useful tip. She said there are actually two viewing platform from Zhushan Station, she told us not go straight to the nearest platform (the one where there is an announcer specking over a microphone), she said we follow a path to the right and go further up (10-15 minute hike) this platform she said has a better view and not as crowded as the one near the station.
The sky started to lighten up by 5:30am.
Until finally, the “magic” happened in front of our eyes.
We walked further around the viewing platform and saw this magnificent view of sea of clouds.
The magnificent sunrise over Alishan, there was a sense of accomplishment after waking up very early, long queue for the train ticket, the hike to the viewing platform and the very cold weather. Everything was forgotten once the sun starts appearing in front of you.
After staying for a while we decided to take the train back down to Alishan station.
Another useful tip from “Lǎo bǎn niáng”, she suggested that we alight mid way (Zhaoping Station) and from there we can check the old railway track of Shuishan leading to the Giant Tree of Mt. Shuishan.
The clouds playing above Alishan (just outside Zhaoping Station), this trip was really all about re-connecting with nature.
Shuishan Line was a branch of forest railroad system connecting Alishan and Dongpu. It starts from Jhaoping station but nowadays it is only a preserve railroad line going to Shuishan station. The whole length us 1.6 kilometeres and will take about one hour to walk to and from railroad entrance through the Giant Tree.
A very nice vice of the sky along Shuishan railroad track.
The preserved wooden platform of Shuishan Station.
From Shuishan station wooden platform to Giant Tree you will pass through a wooden railroad bridge structure. Walking further about 200 meters along the slate ladders, you will reach the Shuishan Giant Tree.
Directions to the Giant Tree
Small trees lining up mightily.
The patch way leading up to the Giant Tree
And finally, the famous Shuishan Giant Tree comes to view.
The age of Shuishan Giant Tree is approximately 2,700 years. But the Formosan red cypress still looks verdant and luxuriant. The circumference of the red cypress exceeds 16 meters and measures over 30 meters in height. Being located in the neighborhood of Alishan water resource sanctuary, Shuishan Giant Tree is renamed “Reservoir Giant Tree”
After resting for a while, we decided to walk back to Zhaoping Station.
Walking pass back again the old Shuishan Station.
There is a (Zhaoping) park behind Zhaoping Station, from here you can take the Alishan tour bus down to Alishan Station if in case (and I’m sure you will be) you’re too tired after the walking and hiking.
The bus fare, we paid 50 NTD for the ride down to Alishan Station.
The Alishan Tour Bus which you will see around Alishan, they have designated bus stops in and around Alishan National Forest Recreation Park.
Alishan Town, the wooden structure behind the building where 711 is, is the Alishan Train Station. The green bus in front of 711 is the bus that travels from Chiayi to Alishan back to Chiayi, this is the last stop if you take the bus from Chiayi.
The fare schedule of the Alishan Bus going to Chiayi.
Bus ride from Alishan Station
We spent the rest of the day relaxing at the homestay, another tea and some fresh fruit was prepared for us by the homestay care taker. We happily finished it outside the wooden view deck while watching the clouds dance in front of us.
Day 4 / 21-Sept-2015 : Alishan
Today, the only plan we have is just stay and relax at the homestay. It’s a good thing that the homestay that we choose has a very quiet and peaceful surrounding with a good view of the nature.
Breakfast prepared at the homestay, it’s the same for the last 3 days but I’m not complaining 😉
We just wandered around the homestay area to enjoy the “green” views.
Green space between the homestay building and the wooden view deck.
Path way from main gate leading to the wooden view deck
Wooden gate of the homestay as what you will see from the main road outside.
A very relaxing view indeed.
Another resting area
“Lǎo bǎn niáng” has two cats and a dog
She/He seems to enjoy the “limelight”
We requested the “Lǎo bǎn niáng” to drive us back to the town nearby so we can try a local restaurant for our last lunch in Alishan (we’ve been having 711 food all throughout but i’m not complaining ;-p ). She told us to try this restaurant, I forgot to take a photo of the name of the restaurant but it’s located along the main road, the “town” just before the homestay and Alishan Station. There are 2 convenient stores in this area, all of which is along Alishan Express (main road). The pork dish on top left is 200 NTD, the veggies on top right is 90NTD, fried rice with pork cutlets on bottom right is 80 NTD, and the tofu on bottom left is 80 NTD for a total of about 450 NTD good for 2-3 pax. The taste are all very nice since they are all using local home grown ingredients.
After lunch “Lǎo bǎn niáng”fecth us back and we hang out at the wooden view deck a little more.
Enjoying the weather and nature for the last time.
“Lǎo bǎn niáng” 2nd cat, she was surprised when I told her that we’re leaving the next day ;-p
Below the wooden view deck has 4 more rooms aside from 4 rooms in the 2nd floor of the main building (1st floor is were the dining area is). Our room is below the view deck so we have our own balcony facing the mountains.
Another tea time
I tried doing a V-blog (video blog) but the video result did not passed my very meticulous taste, so I decided that I should stay to just “normal” blogging ;-p
Our last night in Alishan and at Lauya Homestay. Tomorrow we will be travelling to Jiufen via Taipei