Saturday, June 8, 2013

Taiwan: Day 5

On the 5th day of my trip, we checked out of our beautiful minsu and took a cab to THSR to depart to Alishan. We looked forward to this place the most and hoped that we got what we expected. Alishan, also known as Mount Ali is a nature preserve located in the mountains of Chiayi county. Famous attractions include the scenic railway, watching sunrise at the top of the mountain, sister lakes and basically the whole forest.

We woke up early at 6:30am then had breakfast at 7am as usual at the Family Mart then it's time to say goodbye to our beautiful room. It will be a very very long 4 hour journey in total to reach our lodge in Alishan.

Instead of taking the fast bullet train which costs twice but save more than 45 minutes, we took the slower older version which was half the cost at only NT189. Destination station would be Chiayi.

And so we moved again like the nomads. 

This is the interior of the slower train. Not bad, right? On the bright side we got to enjoy the view as we passed through small towns and countryside. However, this type of train makes a stop at each station.

We reached Chiayi station after about 2 hours later. It wasn't as long as we expected because there was so much interesting stuff to look at along the way. We also called our designated driver provided (not free) by the minsu to pick us up. Do consult your minsu for transportation. You will need about RM120 +/- per person to reach Alishan. Can squeeze 6 people in a cab but always make sure have room for your luggage.

Our driver brought us to this stall to try turkey rice.

Turkey rice tasted like chicken rice but it was very fragrant. The orange piece in our bowls look like either carrot or pumpkin. I still have no idea what it was.

Another 45 minutes later, we reached this hanging bridge. There is a longest hanging bridge in the world somewhere at the hill behind me but was closed down.

Not exactly scary because it wasn't high and the river was shallow.  Just make sure no one was running of jumping on the bridge. I admit I have shouted at a few kids here.

The river was clear that I would love to take my shoes off and walk across. It was tempting.

I think the sign says Alishan Eternal Bridge.

After you crossed the bridge you will come upon Long Yin temple of Chukou village. There seemed to be a festival on that day. Lion dance, giant figurines of Gods and other performances was seen outside the temple. Did you see some white pillars on the hill behind me? That should be the longest hanging bridge in the world I mentioned a few pics above.

Lion dance and Chinese Gods.

Performances included this pole dancer. LOL!

On the way up, we stopped randomly at a tea farm to take pictures. Climate was like Cameron Highlands but the tea farms in Cameron are nicer.

So after about 2 hours of swirling around mountains like a snake, our driver dropped up at an old train station to walk around. We were given an hour. We were 1403m above sea level. There's a signboard for that indication but couldn't find in my picture anymore.

 Looks like it has been turned into a mini museum. We did saw landslide covering the tunnel and some parts of the track across the mountain so I guess that was the reason why this track was no longer used.

This picture will create the "feel" if there's a nicer girl with better pose, better cameraman with better angle and lomo filter.

The sky looks gloomy already but don't worry, there wasn't a single drop of rain while we were in Taiwan. How lucky was that?

Dad said this scene looks like in a Chinese or Korean drama.

Couldn't resist petting and a doggie!

Do go up on the deck opposite the train station, it's just a few steps. You will see square bamboo. Instead of a rounded cylinder like normal bamboo or any other branch on plants, these bamboos have squarish stem.

As you walk further down there is a marketplace that sells mostly food products. That must be one of the highest 7-Eleven in Taiwan.

At the end of the shaded area, we tried this drink. It was very refreshing and not too sweet. The sweet part was only the ice shaving. Highly recommended.

Our friend bought a box of mochi to share but I only took one because I dislike any type of mochi unless the tiny pebbles type sold at our pasar malam.

 Above the old station across the road, there's a railway track. Beautiful scene for filming and taking pictures.

 Another half an hour later, we arrived at our minsu which is higher than the train station below so I had to put my gloves on as it was very cold.

 Love how the comforter was folded into a rose. That white gadget on the floor is the heater.

 After we unpacked our stuff, our driver took us to a surprise event.

 It was almost 5pm and everyone was busy setting up their camera on this spot. Why?

 Because of this!

Felt like I was standing above the clouds.

 The sun has began to set.

 Really thank our driver for this wonderful experience. Actually there's more so if you are interested in scenery do visit Keong Da'Great's FB album.

It's dinner time! After taking a shower, we walked up for a minute to an all wooden restaurant above our minsu. All of these (a bowl of hotpot with side dishes and refillable tea) costs NT3000 shared among 7 of us. The best dish among all would be the mini roasted chicken. The photo above was taken from one of our friends.

 After our scrumptious dinner we had to take a walk around the shops beside our minsu.

Hubby was getting cold.

Regarding the temperature, this picture says it all. Above the pillar were restaurants and I remember the right one with red signboard was named "Jiau Jiau Jiau" or something like that. Hokkien lang will know what that means .

For supper, we had our roasted small chicken that we tapau while sipping on tea and vodka. Then we went to bed at around 10:30pm because we had to prepare for an event tomorrow where everyone looks forward to when they come to Alishan. So goodnight!

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