27-28 December 2013
The bus from Chiayi Train Station made its way slowly up the windy road and arrived at the car park area. It’s a busy place filled with restaurants, stores and hostels. Many accommodations are overly priced so despite scoring low in terms of comfort, LiXingShanZhuang is one of the best deals at Alishan.
The Alishan# area was originally settled by the Taiwanese aborigines. Clashes with ethnic Chinese settlers (19th Century) pushed them further into the mountains. During their involvements with Taiwan, Japan found large quantities of cypress and developed a logging industry. The railway was built to help with transportation, villages popped up and development took off. It was only in the 1970’s that logging was halted.
Alishan National Forest Recreation Area is a range of mountains and consists of 4 villages, waterfalls, tea plantations, a railway and several hiking trails. It is 10 degrees cooler than Chiayi.
Although not as impressive as the Yellow, Hua and Emei Mountain in Mainland China, it is nevertheless a great way to seek some quiet times. The sunset is beautiful at Alishan and the trailing tracks are well labelled. It is possible to find some peace and quiet since Mainland Chinese tour groups do generate a lot of noise and facepalm moments. When they are there, avoid the major scenic spots like Three Generation Tree, Railway Stop and Sister pond.
# Alishan was named after a tribe chief who lived 250 years ago. He went hunting in the area and since he always brought back plenty of food for his tribe, that area was named after him as a form of gratitude.
There is a small temple where a generous nun/sister resides. I met her when she was walking her dog. I was the only one in the area and her smile was warm and genuine. It was a beautiful conversation where we both shared some very personal stories. Definitely the highlight of my Alishan trip!
You told me that you feel your emotional side is getting the best of you. You hold onto the little things and cherish it more than others. So why do you want to get rid of it? That makes you human right? Just find that mid-way- that balance.