The Alishan National Scenic Area is one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Taiwan. Aside from the lush landscapes, there are plenty of other interesting things to see.
The scenic area is situated at the Chiayi County. This is in southern Taiwan. You can get to the area via the Alishan Forest Railway. This is at the Chiayi station. You can also take the bus at Chiayi.
What to See
One of the biggest attractions here is Jhushan. There is a viewing platform where you can get a fantastic view of the skies. There is also the Giant Trees Trail which can be crossed in half an hour. The path is scenic and the cypresses have been around for hundreds of years.
Another worthy attraction at the Alishan National Scenic Area is the Shoujhen Temple. It is the biggest in the area and is very impressive in appearance. The highlight is a beautifully decorated altar. There is also a room with 10,000 Buddhas.
There are plenty of souvenir shops where you can buy cookies and handicrafts. There is also plenty to eat and drink here. You can find noodles, Taiwanese sausage, rice meals and other food. Other treats include French toast, scallion pancakes and egg crepe.
The earliest inhabitants in the area were the Taiwanese aborigines. It was during the 19th century that the Chinese started settling there. However, development began only with the Japanese.
The Alishan Forest Railway was completed in 1912. During the 1970s, logging had been stopped. Tourism was growing. In 2001, the whole area was declared a national park.
Strictly speaking, Alishan refers to the range. The average height is about 2,500 meters. The highest mountain peak is Yushan (3,952 m). In terms of flora, the most conspicuous are the Giant Taiwanese red cypresses.
The entrance fee is NT$150 per individual if coming in via public transport. If you come in by car, the charge will be NT$200. If you have a student ID, the fee is NT$100.
If you are at the area, make sure to check out the Two Sisters Pond. These are two beautiful ponds situated in the forest. The place is also noteworthy as being the start of the challenging Tashan trail.
The Alishan National Scenic Area is a great place to go hiking too. The trails and paths are not particularly difficult so they are ideal for novices.