Sunday, April 26, 2009

Taiwan – Alishan Forest Recreation Area (阿里山)

Another top tourist attraction of Taiwan. The name was so famous and the song about the beautiful Alishan ladies was popular. Thought I would have chance to certify this statement, but I had no time. I stayed only 2 nights and it was raining. Without own transportation it was handicapped to travel to villages nearby.

To many tourists, it was a must to ride the small forest train from JiaYi (嘉义 – altitude 30m) to Alishan village (altitude 2200m). The journey took 3.5hr and passed through 3 climatic zones – tropical, subtropical and temperate. The train was 1 of the 3 most famous mountain trains in the world.

The Alishan village was small and packed with hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops. Starbucks was boasting its highest outlet in Taiwan here.

The common activity was to hiking in the forest. Plenty of centuries old trees around. The ordinary route was too easy and frequented by elder folks. So I tried challenging the TaShan (塔山 – altitude 2610m). Was regretful… I spent 4 hrs hiking on this route, but the thick fog and mist enveloped the whole mountain, not even the silhouette of nearer view could be traced. Worse, I injured my knee cap again, was painful to climb up and down the stairs on the way back.