Sunday, September 14, 2014

Taiwan 2014 Day 2: Exploring Mount. Alishan

After our lovely breakfast at the Alishan House hotel, packed our bag and checked out. Really miss this beautiful and elegant hotel. The hotel shuttle van fetched us to the Alishan Forest Recreational Area; the area where all the major shops, food stall and tourist bus carpark. This is the same area where the Alishan Railway is located. 
After the sunrise viewing in the morning, it's time to explore the Alishan Forest ! Our driver + tour guide waited for us at the entrance of the railway station at sharp 9.30am and he guide us through the forest.
Let the pictures do the talking....

Bought our railway ticket and our next stop is ZhaoPing station.

Railway ticket

There's lots of other tourist around and we patiently waited for our turn to board the railway.

You'll see sculpture like this everywhere.

A few minutes later, we reached Zhou Ping station. For the adventure seeker, you can actually hike up the hill using the designated route. For me, I prefer taking the railway. If you come to Alishan Forest to admire Cherry blossom (sakura flowers), the correct place to view is at Zhao Ping station. There's tons of cherry blossoms trees that will welcome you at this station. Too bad that we were few days too early thus, they have not really bloom yet ;(

But no worries if you can't see the sakura, Alishan Forest is famous for their giant sacred trees. Well, you can check out the history of Alishan Forest here. Since it's a forest, don't worry about leeches which might suck your blood. Unlike the trekking route in our Malaysian forest, clear path of road and stairs as well as road signs are built everywhere to guide you. Basically, if there's no stairs or well-built road for walking on certain area, it means you can't enter that area. We were here in spring thus it's nice to enjoy the beauty of Alishan forest under the cold and windy weather. 

From Zhao Ping station, we walk our way to see the Sisters Pond. There's some legend about these two ponds where the two sisters jump into the lake over their love to a man. It's up to you whether you believe it or not. Well, it's a nice place to snap some photographs anyway.

Here's some unique giant trees while on our way to Sisters Pond. There's some label on the trees but didn't bother to read ;P

Giant scared tree with its roots. Pretty big huh the hole formed by its roots.

Here's another rabbit home hole. Entrance to Alice in wonderland? hehe

You'll see these amazing tree barks. It's sad to see some uneducated visitors who keep tearing them apart to be kept as souvenirs. Don't really know how to read sign boards huh these people. 
Tree bark destroyed by uneducated tourist.

Here's the Sisters Pond.There's 2 ponds; one is elder and another one is younger sister pond.

Pretty scenery!

Guess what, I met an uneducated tourist when I was trying to take pics with this sculpture. You see, when the tourist before you had finished her turn and walked away leaving no one standing near the sculpture; it means it's the opportunity to take a pic. However, this out-of-no-where rude tourist came screaming in typical-"you know which country"-style mandarin saying that we are blocking the sculpture. And that he was trying to take photographs of the sculpture without anyone in it. WTH! Imagine you're in a place full of people with everyone trying to take a nice pic of a particular landmark or object from all direction and suddenly this mad tourist shoo-ing people to move away because he does not want any human being inside his photograph. Well, he's not even queuing up! Just barged out of no where and behave like a barbarian.
The legendary sign.

From there, we walked further heading to ShenMu station where we will take the railway back to the main station. It's easier to walk downhill than uphill. Along the way, there's lots of beautiful cypress tress to enjoy. 

This one is said to look like a pig?

The heart shaped!
The giant scared trees forest

Misty forest.

Walked further and we saw these beautiful flowers. It's the Magnolia Garden and yes, it's Magnolia flowers and it's blooming season.

Thinking of Magnolia ice-cream in Malaysia.. hehe
Pretty flower.

Walked further and you'll reach the Shouzhen temple. Many tourist was there but we didn't went in though.

The Shouzhen temple in the middle of the forest.

You can also purchase the local Alishan specialty here; wasabi. They comes in the fresh plant where you can make fresh paste at home or buy the ready made paste.

Fresh wasabi plant.

And you can purchase the "ai yu" seeds to make your own "ai yu" jelly at home. Or maybe ai yu drinks too.

Near the temple, we saw some wild cherry blossom that had bloom ;) This is the wild mountain species of cherry blossom.

Standing proudly along the bridge.

Then, we pass by the bridge with a dry up river bank.

Further down, you'll see more giant scared trees with sign boards showing the tree's number.

Soon, we reached the ShenMu station and waited for the railway back to the main station. There's a ticket booth where you can purchase the one way ticket here.

at ShenMu station

Patiently waiting for the railway...

Railway track.

We didn't went for the Giant scared trees trail as it requires us to climb up hill from ShenMu station and we're already very tired at that time. Walking through the forest covered with mist and cold weather is a good experience. For some people, they might experience some difficulty in breathing due to the cold, it's like exercising (running) in a cold. 

The 1000 year old tree at ShenMu station which had fallen down.

Here comes the train!

After we reached the main station, we had about 1 hour to enjoy our lunch before we start our journey back to Chiayi High Speed Railway station. We went to the shop next to the one where we had our dinner last night. The "jiu jiu jiu" or 999 Restaurant. 

Order list and it's also the bill

 Since we're not that hungry, had some light meal due to the heavy buffet breakfast in the morning.

I love this fried rice! Taiwanese rice is fat and chewy!!!
Fried rice

Stir-fry paku pakis vegetable

 Not bad this noodle. Taste like fried ramen.
Fried noodles

 Price was cheap and it costs about RM20 for these three including drinks.

Lunch time.

From there, we bid goodbye to Alishan and continue our journey to Chiayi HSR station. It takes about 2 hours plus to reach the HSR station and slept all the way. There's some tea plantation along the way. WIll make time for it next trip! Will visit Alishan in future again to see the sea of clouds and sunrise too!!

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