I went to Alishan this past weekend with some friends from the university. Alishan is a park up in the mountains in southern Taiwan. It's not too far from Tainan. Because of it's easy accessibility, it's become one of the major nature-tourist spots in Taiwan. Lots of tour groups go up to Alishan, and one doesn't need to be in any sort of shape to go and check it out. We went as a group of 6 people and stayed for one night.
Here's the view from our hotel window.
Here's a view of the town where we stayed. It's basically all hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops.
We left for Alishan after class on Friday morning. It takes a while to get up there, mostly because driving on the twisty mountain roads is slower going than if you were on a highway. We got to Alishan in the evening, and aside from having dinner we didn't do much. However, that was because we planned on getting up at 4 am the next day to see the sunrise. It's sort of a selling point in Alishan. If you take the train to the highest station, there's a place that's supposed to be nice for seeing the sunrise.
While we did manage to get up at 4, we forgot to call ahead and ask for sunshine, so we didn't see any sunrise, and we got rained on the whole day after that. Always call ahead.
The Alishan area has had people living in it for a long time. Originally, like the rest of Taiwan, the people living here were Austronesian people. In the Japanese colonial era, the Japanese government decided to develop the area to get access to the sweet, sweet mountain lumber. The Alishan railway was originally built for the purpose of hauling lumber down the mountain.
This is Alishan's ridiculously over-built Post Office.
There were about nine million tour groups passing through here when we did. From what I've heard, most of them are tourists from China. I listened to their Chinese, and I definitely did hear a lot of the continental accent.
It so happened that this temple was having a festival, so it was one of the places we stopped on the way down back to Chiayi.
That's it for the Alishan trip!