sea of cherry blossoms awaits April visitors to Alishan
Translated by Yvonne Chen
From the second half of March, a mountain full of
cherry blossoms marks the beginning of the Alishan
Cherry Blossom Festival. A variety of cherry blossoms
show their beauty in a dazzling floral display that
satisfies visitors until mid-April. Delicate Yoshino
white cherry blossoms contrast beautifully with the
blue sky, while slightly-larger Oshima cherry blossoms
are innocently white. The varying shades of Azumahiga,
Yaebenishidare and Fugenzo cherry blossoms push the
beauty of pink to its limit. A glimpse of such scenery
is like the fleeting expression of a baby--so precious
one scarcely dares to blink.
crowd at the Alishan Cherry Blossom Festival is also
an interesting sight. The place is swarming with daily
visitors during the flower season. Photographers stand
by their tripods, wait to capture the perfect moment
from these mesmerizing scenes. For a photo-album glimpse,
visit the photography exhibition at the Alishan Farmer's
Association credit department.
are several photo-taking sites. The steps of the local
police station exude a sentimental feeling and nicely
frame the small train in front of it. The tracks,
cherry blossoms and mountains in the background are
truly breathtaking. On the other side, in front of
the Alishan Resort, is another great place to take
in the cherry blossom petals, dancing in the wind
and falling like snow. A cherry blossoms "snowflake"
landing in your tea cup is sheer poetry, coming through
your nostrils, eyes and mouth, and straight to your
mind as the imagery implants itself on your memory.
addition to the highway, the famous Alishan train
is also a great way to go. In contrast to normal rail
lines, the Alishan Forest Track takes a Z-shaped switchback
pattern up the mountain. The 7.14-kilometer line starts
at the Chayi Train Station, 30 meters above sea level,
and climbs all the way to the Zao-Ping Station, 2274
meters up. The tropical and sub-tropical forests along
the way wash away thoughts of city life, cares and
concerns on the plains below.
are two trains up the mountain each day, at 9 a.m.
and 1:30 p.m., with returning trains at 1:18 p.m.
and 1:40 p.m. One-way tickets are NT$399, with 15
percent off for round-trip tickets. The reservation
hotline for Chayi Northgate Station is (05) 276-8094,
and (05) 267-9833 for Alishan Zao-Ping Station.
March through May, there is a round-trip Sunrise Train
from Alishan for NT$150. Since sunrise is between
5:25 a.m. and 6:20 a.m., the train travels runs to
the sunrise viewing area at 4:10, 4:20 and 4:30 a.m.
and returns at 6:45, 6:55 and 7:05 a.m. On weekends
and holidays, there are six ascending trains from
3:20 until 4:35 a.m. and four descending trains from
6:45 to 7:50 a.m. On weekends and holidays, Sunrise
Train tickets are sold in advance, the day before,
at Zao-Ping Station, between 1:30 and 5 p.m. and from
6 to 8 p.m. at the Alishan Tourist Service Center.
Train tickets for the next day can also be bought
in advance or reserved by telephone one month in advance.
For information, call the Alishan Tourist Service
Center (05-267-9917) or check the website of the Agriculture
Committee¡¦s Forestry Bureau.
Tips: Be sure to prepare for the mountain cold weather
and make your hotel reservation ahead so you can properly
enjoy your excursion.
Note: The Alishan Railroad is once again fully operational
and safe, following a recent March accident, according
to central and local government authorities, who have
taken additional safety precautions.
Alishan Resort 05-267-9811; Alishan Civilian Lodge
05-267-9611; Alishan Fu-Ruoh-Se Service Center 05-267-9602;
Alishan Youth Center 05-267-9561; Alishan Train Lodge
05-267-9621; Gao-Feng Hotel 05-267-9739; Wan-Kuo Hotel
05-267-9777; Wen-Shan Resort 05-267-9627; Ching-Shan
Hotel 05-267-9733; Den-Shan Hotel 05-26-9758; Mei-Li-Ya
Mansion 05-267-9745; Li-Shing Mansion 05-267-9634;
Cheng-Kong Lodge 05-267-9735; Wu-Feng Lodge 05-267-9730;
Da-Feng Mansion 05-267-9769; Ying-Shan Lodge 05-267-9803;
Shen-Mu Lodge 05-267-9511