The Top Things to Do in Alishan, Taiwan

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The Top Things to Do in Alishan, Taiwan

Deep in the mountains of central Taiwan, Alishan National Scenic Area is a great destinations for those looking to explore the great outdoors of the island. While the west coast is almost completely covered with towns and cities, the central region is sparsely populated, filled with overgrown forests and jagged mountains to explore. Alishan is one of the easiest to reach scenic areas, with plenty of hiking trails and things to do in all seasons.

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The Top Things to Do in Alishan, Taiwan

See the Sunrise at Zhushan

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Alishan has a number of popular sunset viewing spots but the most picturesque would have to be Zhushan. The sight of the sun rising over the scenic mountain peaks in the background and lighting up seas of cloud is incredible and words hardly do it justice. You can take a train to get there from Alishan Station, which starts early for visitors heading there for the sunrise. You'll probably need to take a train from about 5 AM to get there in time.


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With most of the 415 square kilometres of Alishan covered with forest and mountain treks, hiking around and exploring the vast wilderness is a must. For those looking for a challenge, Taiwan's tallest mountain, Yushan or Jade Mountain is a popular hike for the more accomplished mountaineers. Most people attempting the climb take a guide and spend a night on the mountainside. If you're looking for something a little simpler, try taking the Alishan Forest Park Loop instead.

Alishan Forest Railway

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Although most people take a bus to get to the Alishan area, the most scenic route is definitely by taking the Alishan Forest Railway from Chiayi. Part of the railway is closed but you can take the train from Chiayi Station to the picturesque town of Fengchihu. Along with other sections that work their way through the mountains.

Cherry Blossoms

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For a few weeks usually starting in March, various spots around Alishan are covered with beautiful cherry blossoms. With over 19,000 cherry blossom trees across the park, the area makes for a great alternative to the more popular and crowded cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan.

If you can't make it for the sakura season, consider heading there in the autumn instead, the colorful fall foliage is arguably just as stunning.


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A small village hidden deep in the mountains, Fenchihu makes for a great base to explore the surrounding area. The town is home to a famous 'old street' full of boutique shops selling snacks and handicrafts. There's also a picturesque bamboo grove and high-reaching conifer forests that make for great hiking spots.

Visit a Tea Plantation

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Taiwan is famous for its high mountain oolong tea, with one of the most famous kinds being the tea picked around Alishan. The tea is more floral and smoother, with a long-lasting aftertaste that has made this style of tea famous. While there are plenty of places to drink and purchase Alishan tea all over Taiwan, for tea advocates, visiting the source is a must. There are tea plantations all over the mountains here and many of them also double up as family hotels to stay at. Most will allow you to sample the tea for free, or for a small charge, along with explaining about each different type.


Reachable by both train and bus, Alishan is an easy escape to nature while visiting Taiwan. Apart from the gateway city of Chiayi, you can also get buses to the Alishan area from other cities including Taipei and Sun Moon Lake.