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The Green Heart of Taiwan- Alishan Mountain

When you think about Taiwan, 4000m high mountains aren´t the first thing that comes to your mind, but this small island is full of beautiful high mountain ranges. Near the tallest peak, the Yushan, is the Alishan, one of the most famous tourist spots. It is part of Chiayi county, which is also the richest of all Taiwan in terms of botanical variety. The Tropic of Cancer runs right through Chiayi city (and Hualien on the east coast), and there is a monument marking its latitude. Alishan region should definitely be on your travel list while you are here, and that´s why it’s being introduced here.

Alishan Mountain range is famous for beautiful sunrises, thousand-year-old cypresses and, of course, the top-quality teas grown here. When planning your trip from Taipei, you should consider an overnight stay at Chiayi city. This is the only city of Taiwan that got its name by an emperor: In 1787, emperor Gaozong of the Qing Dynasty chose the name in recognition of the residents‘ bravery, (Chiayi 嘉義 meaning “commending the martyrdom“) for having successfully defended themselves against rebel attacks.

After arrival, you can enjoy the first rays of dawn slowly lighting up a romantic scenery of foggy peaks and woodlands. Then you might opt for a morning stroll through the beautiful parkland of the “Alishan Mountain Recreation Area“. Of course, here you can indulge in sipping Alishan High Mountain (Oolong) tea in a comfortable tea house. If you don’t want to stay longer, you may then decide on either going back to Chiayi, or proceed by bus to the not-too-far-away located region of the Sun Moon Lake. For the latter choice keep in mind that buses don’t go frequently, and it still takes some time for getting there.

Back in Chiayi city, you may want to know what else is there to explore: apart from lively markets, brimming temples, and interesting museums, the big city park invites for a walk. You can visit the 62m high Sun Shooting tower, referring to the old legend of a mythological archer shooting nine out of ten suns threatening to burn all life on earth: A lift takes you up to a glass platform from where you can enjoy stunning views above the city. Nearby Chiayi city,there are the old towns of Xingang and Beigang. Both are well-known across the island for their lively temple ceremonies, with Matsu as the primary deity being worshiped. The 23rd day of the third month of the lunar calendar is Matsu's birthday, and this is the largest annual event at Tianhou Temple: huge crowds of loyal believers come by buses to pay their respect,and you can watch age-old religious customs being performed.

Hopefully, this information has raised your interest for the region, and will add some unforgettable experiences during your stay in Taiwan!

More Information:
Alishan National Scenic Area
Taiwan Tourism Bureau
Taiwan Tourism Events
Alishan Forest Railway