In Taiwan there exists this magical place called Alishan. It’s a portion of Taiwan’s extensive mountain range, and it is a gorgeous area. I began chatting with my friend Phoebe about trekking out to see it in March, but we didn’t make it until last weekend. Trek is an accurate word. I took a slow train (about an hour and a half) to Chiayi, the closest city. Then we rented scooters and drove to Alishan National Park. It was about 2.5 hours through winding mountain roads. I had been initially a bit fearful about the drive b/c I hadn’t road tripped through the mountains yet, but the drive was ASTOUNDING.
I never felt unsafe on the mountain roads, but driving in Chiayi was the WORST. I have never seen so many idiotic drivers in such a short amount of time. BUT I can honestly say that if we had not made it to the park, the trip would have been worth it just for that sunny drive. There were so many warm fuzzy feels.
We paid the park fee of $200 ntd, and started to explore after a quick stop for Sichuanese style Chinese food. I tried Mapo Dofu for the first time. It was delicious.
Then we headed off to see the “sacred tree” and a temple in the forest. There were some incredible vistas and it was so fun to bop around the woods, in fresh air with my friends.
But the main attraction of Alishan is the sunrise. So after some hot chocolate and watching the sunset…
….we grabbed a quick meal of Hot Pot to warm ourselves up, and headed back to our hostel. We tried to get to bed by 10 pm, because we got up at 2:45 am. Then we drove to Alishan park, and got in line for a 4:30 AM train to Zhushan, the area where everyone goes to watch the sunrise.
But when we got to Zhushan, it was totally worth it.
After snapping some photos near these trees (where Phoebe and I and our closest 300 friends were standing) we went up a short hill to meet Christian and Ariela.
So there was a helicopter pad up there, and a fence, and naturally we felt the need to
Then we caught the train back to Alishan’s main train station and took a 3 hour nap before exploring the park a bit more.
After trekking around the park for a couple more hours we hopped on our scooters and drove back to Chiayi. It was an incredible trip, even if it left me dizzy from doing so much on so little sleep.
After battling the idiotic drivers of Chiayi once again, I hopped on a train and was happy to return to Taichung.