We departed Chiayi City for our 2D1N Alishan tour on day 2, & along the way we stopped over at Fenchihu (奋起湖), a 1,400m above sea level spot, which was once a refuel middle stop for the old Alishan forest trains. It is well-known for its Old Street (老街), lunch boxes (铁路便当) & bamboo trees (四方竹). Do not be misled by its Chinese name for thinking that there is a lake at this tourist spot, for the Chinese word “湖” stands for “low-lying area” in the Taiwanese dialect. 😛 It got its name as it is being surrounded by a sea of clouds as well as mountains on its North, East & West, & when misty it looks like a lake.
The Old Street (老街) is actually quite short (about 500m) & our driver told us that we can complete the street within half an hour (for a local like him only 10 mins haha). The Old Street is filled with mostly little shops selling local products & souvenirs such as black sesame crunchies (黑芝麻饼) & wasabi products (山葵酱，盐等) as it is now a popular tourist spot. Of course, one cannot leave Fenchihu without buying 1 of its famous 铁路便当.
Below are some pictures of the Old Street & now defunct railway station for your viewing pleasure.
We redeemed our complimentary lunch box from Fenchihu Hotel (奋起湖大饭店). Actually it was a mistake our driver made, as our tour was only supposed to provide us with dinner & not lunch, but he insisted lunch was included. Anyway, as you can see from the picture above, the lunch box looked sumptuous, with 2 big fat pieces of meat, half a braised egg & lots of vegetables (spinach & bamboo shoots). It was very cheap at just NTD100 per box! Oh & coincidentally when we reached the hotel to redeem our lunch boxes, the boss featured on the lunchbox was sitting there, & he looked exactly the same as the picture, just older now.:P
When we opened up our lunch boxes at Da Feng Hotel at Alishan while waiting for our room to be ready, the hotel staff looked at us with envy & joked that we could exchange our lunch boxes with theirs (as the one we had is famous). However, I actually thought the chicken drumstick tasted too raw, but the pork chop was nice.
We bought 2 types of local products here: the wasabi salt & cream sauce, as well as the black sesame crunchies. The shop / stallholders were friendly enough to allow free sampling of the products.
The Taiwanese said that Fenchihu is the Jiufen (九份) of Southern Taiwan (台湾南部). I shall see when I get to Jiufen. 🙂