Friday, January 06, 2012

To Alishan

Alishan is easily a top destination for Taiwan. Alishan National Scenic Area is a huge place. Most of the time Alishan means taking the historical scenic railway to the Alishan Forest Recreational Area (a fraction of the whole). As luck would have it, the railway is still under major repairs after six tourists were killed in a derailment last spring.

Balancing tourist traffic and transportation links, we decided to stay at the village of Fencihu (aka Fenqihu)in the Alishan National Area for three nights which gives us two whole days of hiking. Thus from Changhua, we took a one-hour train ride to arrive in Chiayi at 10:30. At the Chiayi Tourist Office, we confirmed that we would have to wait until 3pm for a bus that goes all the way to Fencihu. Hourly buses to Alishan Forest Recreational Area would only get us as far as Shizhou. We could walk the rest of way, 6km (google maps said 5.1km). There are no taxis at Shizhou, but we decided to charge ahead on the 11:10 bus to Shizhou, and hitch or walk to Fencihu.

The bus ride took 90 minutes. We got off, put on our backpacks, crossed the street and got on Rt 169 going north. The road is going uphill, but not steep. There were kilometer marks along the way every 500 meters. I had no problem walking with my pack. There were cars with ample capacity going by us, but decided not to hitch since walking with our packs did not seem like a chore. John did make us take two breaks. Soon after four kilometers we reached the lower part of the village. We looked at a couple of rooms at the Catholic Youth Center. The nice Swiss nun who showed us the rooms is almost more fluent in Mandarin than I. John could hardly hold back grinning watching the two us conversing in Chinese. Since they had no wi-fi, we decided to keep looking, so we ended up with a cozy room at the Fencihu Hotel, breakfast included.

All is well. We still had some daylight for a stroll around the village. Our map showed a Cedar Trail that loops around the village, much of it turned out to be boardwalks. I adore boardwalks. This may just be the nicest and most impressive of all boardwalks for me. We picked so well to come to Fencihu and I walked here with my pack!

Taking a break on the walk in to Fenqihu.
Walking to Fenqihu, Taiwan

The Cedar Trail.
Chinese Cedar - Fenqihu, Taiwan

Sun-Ling enjoying the boardwalk (Cedar Trail).
Cedar Trail - Fenqihu, Taiwan

Fenqihu at sunset looking much more picturesque than it actually is.
Fenqihu, Taiwan

No comments: