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Taiwan: Alishan National Park, Kaohsiung, Sun Moon Lake, Tainan, Taipei, Taitung, Taroko National Park, Yehliu Geo Park

Alishan National Park, Taiwan: Peaks and valleys
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief

Alishan National Park, Taiwan

Alishan National Scenic Area is dominated by the Alishan Mountains, which feature cloud-ringed peaks and green valleys. The area is home to Tsou aboriginal villages, known for tea production. A narrow-gauge train, part of the Alishan Forest Railway, runs through high-altitude forests. The Giant Tree Plank Trail boardwalk winds past huge cypress trees, including the fallen Alishan Sacred Tree.

Chu-Shan Railway Station, Alishan National Park, Taiwan It was a 3-hour drive to the gates of Alishan. Would have been more had the rains not been there as clear weather would have invited the photographer in me to make frequent stops. Since Alishan National Scenic Area is protected, all vehicles need to be parked outside the zone. The hotel's bus would then ferry us to the reception area.

Our hotel for the night was Alishan House, a 5-star property bang in the middle of the forest. Our room on the 7th floor overlooking the cypress and cedar trees offered a pristine experience; not to forget the crisp mountain air.

Rain was playing a spoilt sport. Our plan for the afternoon to walk in the forest was aborted. However, the time on hand was well spent in exploring the resort. In the months of March to May, the many cherry blossom trees are a sight to watch. We also missed seeing the sea of clouds that engulfs the valley. So be it.

Generally speaking, it's a good idea to get the dinner included in your package. The spread is lavish.

Ancient Tree, Alishan National Park, Taiwan I opted to wake up at 3:30 the next morning. The plan was to take the old mountain train to Chunshan to watch the sunrise. The train chugs up, waits at Chunshan station untill sunrise and then comes down again. That's it. With the weather being good, it's a nice trek downhill back to Alishan. Thanks to the weather, there was no sunrise for us neither was the sea of clouds! It was a good experience nonetheless.

We returned to the hotel at 6:30, ready for breakfast. Post that, we would leave for Kaohsiung via Tainan.

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