Alishan Township, Chiayi County, Taiwan 605


Alishan is not a single mountain, but a range on Taiwan's spine with soaring mist-caressed peak and slow-paced small villages. Immerse yourself in a lush forest of tall bamboo as well as nourish the city-fatigued soul. It's beautiful. Due to its elevation, it's considerably cooler than the coast, with daytime averaging 14-24°C in summer and 5-16°C in winter. We were here during Autumn, the temperature was around 8°C -19°C.

DAY 2: Alishan - Alishan National Forest Recreation Area - Fenchihu - Tian Chang Di Jiu Bridge - CingJing 阿里山 - 阿里山森林游乐区 - 奋起湖 - 天長地久橋 - 清境

Check out my 7D6N Taiwan Itinerary here.

You can choose to land in Taipei or Kaohsiung depending on your itinerary. If you plan to visit Alishan first, it's advisable to fly to Kaohsiung International Airport (KHH) as it's nearer compared to Tao Yuan International Airport (TPE). Regardless of TPE or KHH, you need to get to Chiayi 嘉義. The easiest and fastest way is to take the Taiwan HSR.

We landed in KHH, took a 10 mins walk to Kaohsiung train station and head to Zuoying HSR. We got ourselves some finger food from the 7-11 after collecting the HSR ticket at the counter that I've pre-booked via Klook, it took us about 30 minutes to arrive in Chiayi HSR station.


By Alishan Forest Railway to Fenchihu, then take a direct bus to Alishan.
This is the most popular option because of the old style railway and the scenic route up to Alishan. This train holds only about 180 passengers, thus, you have to book online in advance here (at least 2 weeks ahead). Sadly, I couldn't squeeze out time for this.
Uphill time: 9.00am, extra trip at 10am on the weekends
Downhill time: 4.20pm, extra trip at 5.20pm on the weekends
Ticket Fare: NT384 / person (excluding direct bus to Alishan)
More info: Alishan Railway (only in Chinese)

By Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Bus
Just outside of Chiayi Train Station.
Line A: Chiayi HSR Station to Alishan Station (9.30am, 10.10am, 11.00am, 1.10am)
Line B: Chiayi TRA Station to Alishan Station (6.05am to 2.05pm every hourly)
Ticket Fare: NT350 / person

By Private Car / Van
We arrived in Chiayi HSR station at around 4pm+ whereby the only choice was to take a private van up to Alishan. The drivers will be waiting outside of Chiayi HSR Station, approach them and negotiate if possible. Be prepared for the twists and turns road.
Taxi Fare: NT2600 for 6 people


Admission Fee: NT300 / person (Note: If you have a student card, you'll get half price)

I thought we have to travel somewhere to enter the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area and start hiking or exploring, never know where we stayed was in the area itself. Hence, we have to pay the admission fee before getting to our hotel. (Click here to read more about where I stayed, it's so convenient.) Upon checking in to our hotel, the owner gave us a map and briefed us how should we tour around Alishan National Forest Recreation Area. 

Alishan Station

Alishan Forest Railway train runs to three stations within the park: Zhaoping, Shenmu (Sacred Tree) and Zhushan (Sunrise viewing point).

Note: Hop onto the old wooden train from Alishan Station to Zhaoping Station ONLY on Wednesday, 9am. We were just so lucky! I didn't know until the lady who sold the train ticket told me about it.

View from Alishan Station

Things-to-do in Alishan National Forest Recreation Area

1) Sunrise tour / Watch the sunset

We didn't manage to catch the sunset in Alishan, we go for the Sunrise tour. There are two options for the sunrise tour: 

Zhushan Sunrise:
Buy the Zhushan train ticket ONE day before at the Alishan Station (Level 2) or Chiayi/Beimen/Fenchihu Station from 1.00pm to 4.00pm. You'll be informed the time to watch the sunrise since the sunrise time changes every day.
Ticket Fare: NT150 / One way/person 

Sunrise Tour provided by the hotel - Cing Shan Hotel.
We chose this for convenience purposes. The owner gave us a morning call at 5am and we departed at 5.30am. The driver stopped us halfway to see a 2700 years Sacred Tree. We were at the sunrise spot by 6.30am to wait for the sunrise. Unfortunately, the beautiful sun was covered by the thick black clouds. We couldn't see anything except for some light rays. Thereafter the driver sent us to a restaurant for our breakfast buffet which provided by the hotel.
Price: NT300 / person

2700 Years Sacred Tree

Huge tree trunk

Sunrise Spot

Covered by a black thick cloud

After the sunrise tour, our driver sent us back to the hotel restaurant for breakfast.

2) Alishan Station - Chao Ping Station

We took the old wooden forest railway from Alishan Station to Chao Ping Station. From there we entered the forest and started hiking. The trails are easy (follow the sign or the map given), suitable for all beginners. After hiking along the forest trail, you'll end up in Shenmu Station. 
Ticket Fare: NT100 / One way/person 

The old wooden train, only available on every Wednesday 9.00am.


Around Chao Ping Station

Here's the way towards the forest trails

3) Alishan Hiking Trails

I loveeee the morning hike that calms and grounds us. My fatigued soul was completely recharged. Hike along the forest trail and you'll see the Bamboo Forest, Sisters Pond, The Three-Generation Trees, Alishan Museum, Sacred Tree, Ciyun Temple, and some food stores.

Sisters Pond

The Three-Generation Trees

Alishan Museum

Sacred Tree

Ciyun Temple

 Food stores

Toilets are available around the food stores area.

4) Shenmu Station - Alishan Station

Ended our morning hike at Shenmu Station and we took the forest railway back to Alishan Station. We spent about 2.5 hours in the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area.
Last train: 12.15pm
Ticket Fare: NT100 / One way/person 

5) 7-11

We got ourselves some warm food at the 7-11 before heading back to our hotel.

Our favorite 7-11 sausages

6) Alishan Post Office

The highest post office above sea level with a traditional Chinese architectural style in Taiwan has become a tourist landmark. Tourists can go in for a commemorative stamp or postmark and can even purchase post office memorabilia. Get a wooden postcard and post it back to your loved ones.
Note: Wooden postcard can be found anywhere in Taiwan (Alishan, Cingjing, Shifen, etc....)

The post office was closed during lunchtime.


After spending the whole morning in the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area, we headed over to Fenchihu Old Street for the famous railway bento by our private chartered van. This street has a long history where you can find different restaurants and shops here.
Read more about our private chartered van here

Famous Fenchihu Railway Bento



A Tsou Cultural Tribe Park in the mountainous Alishan area. A great place to experience a different culture, traditional dance and much more. Unfortunately, we were too we decided to forgo this interesting place.
Business hour: 9.00am - 4.30pm  
Admission Fee: NT300 / person including an NT200 voucher you can use in the park


Good for a stopover or photo spot. It is a suspension bridge built in 1937 and were used by the early villagers of Gong Tien Chuang and Chu Kou to go to Chiayi. Nearby is the Longyin Temple which founded in 1980.


Founded in 1980, a sacred spot that people would go before entering Alishan. There are also food stalls around here.


Shan Bin Restaurant 山賓餐庁
This "famous" restaurant that everyone would recommend is located opposite of the Alishan Post Office but we did not get to try it.

Fenchihu Railway Bento 鐵路便當
A bento which basically consisted of rice, pork, chicken and some vegetables. The Fenchihu bento has been widely known for more than half a century for its well-preserved taste. Back in the old days, the vendors would get ready to yell out "Bento, Bento" when the train came closer to the station. They will then carried thousands of freshly made lunchbox onto the train compartment to satisfy traveler's hunger.

Local Delicacies
Bamboo shoots, AiYu Jelly, Alishan Coffee, Alishan Oolong tea, Baked Donuts 現烤甜甜圈

Baked Donuts 現烤甜甜圈  @ Fenchihu  NT30 / pcs

I enjoyed myself so much in the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area because of the weather, the refreshing air, the relaxing vibes and it wasn't crowded. Suitable for anyone who wishes to nourish the city-fatigued soul.

Next stop: Cing Jing (Will be up on my blog soon)

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