After checking in Da Feng Hotel, it was time for us to explore the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area (阿里山国家森林游乐区)! We were provided with 2 return tickets on the Alishan Forest Railway from Alishan Station (阿里山车站) to either Zhaoping Station (沼平车站) or Shenmu Station (神木车站). However, as the sky typically turns dark from 5pm, we did not have time to explore sights at both Zhaoping Station and Shenmu Station, so we decided to go to the latter as our hotel reception lady, 张姐 mentioned that the Shenmu Station area is more beautiful.
Anyway, some information on Alishan Forest Railway, it was initially constructed by the Japanese from 1899, intended to transport logs down the mountain. With Alishan as 1 of the top attractions in Taiwan, the railway has been transporting visitors to Alishan National Scenic Area since 1963. It rises from an elevation of only 30m above sea level to a height of 2,274m in just 71.4km. Oh, I also read that this forest railway is only 1 of the 3 remaining mountain railways in the world (though I am not sure how accurate this is haha).
We took the last train bound for Shenmu Station at 3.15pm so it meant we only had about 40 minutes to tour its surroundings…… Here are some pictures I managed to take despite the rush & foggy weather. 😛
Shenmu Station, located 2,138m above sea level, was named after the famous Alishan Sacred Tree that was more than 3,000 years old. The tree was known as Shenmu, before being toppled in a storm in 1997.
Too bad we didn’t have much time to visit the other major attraction – Ciyun Temple (慈云寺) which is in the opposite direction from our trail at Shenmu Station, as we forgot that the weather there is usually foggy and we couldn’t stay out for too long (unless we don’t mind trekking from 1 station to the other without taking the train hehe). Furthermore, we also missed the lovely Sisters Pool (姐妹潭) at Zhaoping Station.
Nonetheless it was still a cool experience to breathe the fresh air of Alishan! 😉