Activity No. 165, Songzhu 5th Rd, Beitun District, Taichung City, Taiwan 406 Published on: 16-07-2016
|08:00 AM - 06:00 PM|
|HSR Chiayi Station / TRA Chiayi Station / Hotels in Chiayi City|
|Highlight of the city|
|38.00 - 143.00 USD|
Private Transfer: From Chiayi - Alishan Giant Forest is good for
Image copyrights belong to authors
Why Private Transfer: From Chiayi - Alishan Giant Forest is special ?
- 09:30 pick up
- 10:00 Provincial Highway 18
- 10:30 Alishan Tea Plantations
- 12:15 lunch @ Alishan
- 13:15 Alishan Station
- 13:30 Alishan Forest Railway
- 13:45 Zhaoping Station
- 14:00 Sisters Ponds
- 14:00 Alishan Shouzhen Temple
- 15:00 Giant Tree Trail
- 15:30 Shenmu Station
- 18:30 drop off
What to explore at Private Transfer: From Chiayi - Alishan Giant Forest?
09:30 pick up
10:00 Provincial Highway 18
- Another interesting thing about Taiwan is that cities are not far from mountains. Within two hours of driving, you can get to somewhere quiet, green, and exotic. We are not talking about small hills but mountains with altitudes over 3000 meters, and which truly define the character of this island.
- Starting from Chiayi High Speed Rail Station, Highway 18 stretches all the way to Alishan National Forrest Recreation Area. Dating back to the Ching Dynasty, this road brings you from the bustling downtown area, along long and winding roads through the surrounding tea farms, eventually to the picturesque scenery of the forest area. If you are interested in geology, you will see different layers of rock exposed from the greenery, which expresses itself as part of the Alishan Mountain Range, one of the five ranges in Taiwan.
- With the frequent possibility of fog along the way, even veteran drivers like us would not under-estimate the difficulty of driving this road. The winding roads of Taiwan is what gives a special personality to the journey. So please sit back and relax, and enjoy the drive through the clouds to the summit of Mt. Ali!
10:30 Alishan Tea Plantations
- Alishan Oolong (烏龍茶) is one of the best High Mountain Oolongs in the world. It is famous for its incredible sweet aroma and smooth flavor. It is grown on Alishan in Chiayi County, between the elevation of 1,000 and 2,000 meters. This part of the mountain is humid with low temperature and misty before dawn and dusk. Also, the tea trees are irrigated by spring water. These conditions are perfect for creating Alishan Oolong’s outstanding flavors and aromas. The temperature varies much from day to night. This condition makes the tea tree grows slower than normal. It makes the tea leaf soft and growing better.
- Oolong is picked in April, May ~ August, and September. Compared to Green Tea (綠茶), Oolong is picked rather late in the season. By this way, the leaves have a chance to grow larger and stronger so they will survive the complex processing. Another side effect of the late picking is that the leaves have more oils in the leaves which give the tea its smooth taste. After being picked, the leaves are left in the sun to wither, which softens the leaves for processing. If the weather is not suitable, the leaves are brought indoors in large ventilated rooms with lamps to wither the leaves. The leaves are laid out in bamboo trays to oxidize. When the tea master has decided that the leaves have withered enough, they are then dried before being shaped and roasted to finish the tea.
12:15 lunch @ Alishan
13:15 Alishan Station
- Here we are, at the one and only Alishan Station. The wooden train stration stands at the gate of Alishan Forest Area welcoming tourists from far and wide. The station we see now is actually the new one built in 1981 that replaced the original, and which is now called Zhaoping Station. However, this station was also destroyed by the 921 earthquake and it took 8 years to rebuild this station before it was reopened in 2007.
- The first thing you’ll notice is the semi-arc design of the wooden pillars. You will also be amazed by the marvelous mountain forest view of Mt. Ta surrounding you on the observation deck. It is relaxing to see the clouds flying against the woods, and on a clear day you can see far beyond into the valley below the deck. Try to distinguish the four amazing sculptures carved from cypress representing the beginning, development, transformation, and continuation stages of Alishan Station.
13:30 Alishan Forest Railway
- The Alishan Forest Train (阿里山小火車) is listed as top 3 must-see in Alishan, along with the sunrise and the forest. One of the reasons that forest trains attraction millions of tourists to take is it climb mountain through forests. In the past, it functioned as a forest railway that transported limber between Chiayi (嘉義) and Alishan. It could ascend up to Jhushan (祝山) whose altitude is 2451 meters.
- Due to the steep terrain, the rail construction was quite a task. One can see the unique spiral-like rail route on Dulishan (獨立山). Additionally, the most well known is the “Z-shaped” trail stretch that’s characterized by “three moves forward and three backtracks” and “advancing by retreating” for Alishan Forest Train.
- In Jhangnaoliao Station (樟腦寮), there is a very rare “swich-back” station. It’s characterized by the “X-shaped” track. When train travels on sloped main line, the waiting train has to drive onto the parallel railroad sidetrack to wait when two trains meet. It will leave the sidetrack and go on the main line after the other train on the main line has passed through.
- The unique engineering of the Alishan Forest Train remains a spectacle to train fans worldwide. Besides, the view during the train ride is spectacular. Boarding the train at Chiayi Station, traveling through towns, and one can witness how the view of old streets fades into a nature landscape. Surrounding by forest in mild temperature, it feels like backing in time on the old train. With the elevation increases, you see a growing number of pine trees. It’s not just the way to reach the destination, but also the way to experience the old time.
13:45 Zhaoping Station
- While travelling on the nostalgic train that used to facilitate logging during the Japanese Colonial Era, you’ll be visiting several old train stations in Alishan such as Zhaoping Station, the former Alishan Station. This is one of the earliest developed areas in Alishan, but a catastrophic fire back in 1976 reduced the area to ashes. Later, Zhaoping Park was built up on the original site and today welcomes you with the spectacular view of Alishan. When cherry blossoms are blooming in the park, visitors can appreciate the sea of flowers from the 176.7-meter-long walkway suspended 14 meters above the ground. As the view is grand in spring, large crowds often flock to the park and pack the viewing areas when the flowers are in full bloom.
- Zhaoping Station has undergone a renovation in 2013 and continues to impress with its modern-looking wooden structure, which is so pleasing to the eyes. The station hall and the platform entrance are on the first floor, connected with the original platform; on the second floor, a permanent exhibition that highlights the history of Alishan allows you to have some extra education while traveling. The balcony overlooks the vast Zaoping Park and the lofty Tashan (Mt. Ta) is a great place to enjoy the misty cloud forest that dazzles your eyes.
14:00 Sisters Ponds
- Alishan Sisters Ponds (阿里山姊妹潭) is composed by two high mountain pond above 2,100 meters sea level. The Elder Sister Pond (姊潭) has a surface area of approximately 530 square meters, and the Younger Sister Pond (妹潭) is around 66 square meters. There is a 180 meters trail along the two pond, and a gazebo made by cypress on the Elder Sister Pond.
- There was a saying that two sisters from the Zou (鄒族), are an indigenous people of central southern Taiwan, jumped into the ponds to commit suicide over love, and that was why these ponds got famous. Based on recent scholar study, it’s a fake story made up by a photographer who tried to attract tourists to take photos.
14:00 Alishan Shouzhen Temple
- Shouzhen Temple (受鎮宮), which is located in Alishan Forest Recreation Area, is the highest elevation temple in Taiwan. In 1927, the Taiwanese lumbermen helped Japanese cutting down red cypress. In that time, aborigine hided in the bush and cut intruders’ heads down once they entered the forest. Lumbermen were afraid of it. They wanted to be blessed and protected by god by means of building a temple. However, approval was needed to build a temple from Japanese Government during Japanese Colonial Era. After Taiwan’s Retrocession, Taiwanese lumbermen didn’t work for Japanese anymore. Yet, there were still many lumbermen working in Alishan above 2000 meters elevation. After one and another accidents happened, someone proposed to build a temple in Alishan. Finally, Shouzhen Temple was finished in 1948. It’s the biggest temple in Alishan.
- One of the most well-known tales is that every March on the lunar calendar, around the time Xuan Wu God (玄天上帝) is to celebrate his birthday, the temple is visited by wonder butterflies (神蝶) who roost on the statue. These wonder butterflies have been on the statue, and worshippers believed that these beautiful creatures were celebrating the birthday of Xuan Wu God. (In fact, the wonder butterflies aren’t really a butterfly species, but a Brahmin moth called Brahmaea wallichii.)
15:00 Giant Tree Trail
- The towering giant trees (神木) is one of the most representative symbols in Alishan. Abundant rainfall and perennial mist enveloping the mountains have made Alishan the homeland of red cypress trees. During different weathers and seasons, visitors may have different experience. On a sunny day, sun rays stream through the leaves of trees. As thick fog covering the forest, the trail looks mysterious.
- There are two “Giant Trees Boardwalks” through the giant forest, one begins from the front of the Thousand-Year-Old Cypress and the other one is from Xianglin Giant Tree (香林神木), or also called Giant Tree No.28. Xianglin Giant Tree is the most majestic tree in Alishan Forest Recreation Area. It’s a red cypress tree at approximately 2,000 years old, 43.5 meters in height, and 13.1 meters in circumference. Passing through the boardwalks, you will see 36 soaring red cypresses along, each over a thousand years old.
- On the other side of boardwalks, there is a giant tree lying on the group beside Alishan Shenmu Station (阿里山神木車站). This was the icon of Alishan. This is Alishan Sacred Tree (or also called Alishan Shenmu, 阿里山神木). In 1906, a Japanese technician discovered this giant tree. His measurements found that the tree was 55 meters in height, 23 meters in circumference, and 3,000 years old. The sacred tree is a red cypress which had been guarded by the Zou (鄒族), one of the 16 aboriginal tribes in Taiwan for generations. The tree was protected and revered as a sacred being. However, repeated earthquakes and storms year after year, the Alishan Shenmu burned to die in 1956 after a severe lighting strike. The Forestry Bureau decided to cut and lay the giant tree in 1998 due to its slant in 1997.
- A forest bathing trip involves visiting a forest for relaxation and recreation while breathing in volatile substances, called phytoncides, which are antimicrobial volatile organic compounds derived from trees. Alishan is the perfect place for forest bathing.
15:30 Shenmu Station
- The history of Shenmu Station dates back 100 years. Shenmu means “sacred trees” in Chinese. Although the Japanese government logged many trees around this area, fortunately enough, some of the really old ones were not taken away because their hollow center is not useful. You will see the remains of the sacred tree lying near the station and it is more than 3000 years old. Once the representative of Mt. Ali, the picture of this tree is now found all over the world. Because the tree was dead and leaning precariously, it was decided after careful consideration by the Forestry Bureau to uproot the tree and lay it down on the ground. A small shrine was built to memorialize the sacred tree and record its history.
- Another interesting thing about this station is the use of a railway zig zag (or switchback), to minimize the impact on the environment and to make it easier for the locomotive to climb steeper grades. After passengers board, the train completes a series of back and forth maneuvers along the rail line with the use of railroad switches to allow the train to climb or descend the mountain.
- If you have more time, try a walk on the “Sacred Tree Trails” to explore more of the woods.
18:30 drop off
- Transportation (fuel, parking, and toll fee) / Passenger insurance / Taxi
- Meals / Entrance fees / Train tickets
No. 165, Songzhu 5th Rd, Beitun District, Taichung City, Taiwan 406
HSR Chiayi Station / TRA Chiayi Station / Hotels in Chiayi City
Private Transfer: From Chiayi - Alishan Giant Forest serves Private tour.
(1 - 1 participants.)143.00 USD
(2 - 2 participants.)73.00 USD
(3 - 3 participants.)50.00 USD
(4 - 4 participants.)38.00 USD