Thursday, 10 April 2008

Taiwan trip - 10 Apr 08

We wake up at 3.30am in the morning with the morning call from the minsu. We bought sandwiches and milk from the 7-11 next door before boarding the train to Jhushan 祝山. The journey to Chushan by train takes about 30 minutes and we reached Jhushan station at around 5am. Jhushan is famous for watching the sunrise and is also the highest train station in Taiwan.
4am in the morning
Dog also wake up so early wow...
I'm at Jhushan
Where on earth got last train departing at 6.30am in the morning?
So many people catching the sunrise
Train waiting for departure
There is someone here who guide us on the exact location to watch the sunrise and how to capture nice photos. According to him, the sun rises from Siouguluan Mountain 秀姑恋山 (a unique name) and for the past 6 days, there were no sunrise. We are really very very lucky to be able to watch the sunrise today.

The exact time and angle from which the sun appears depends on the season. Sunrise experts say that the sunrise is actually quite different in winter, spring, summer, and autumn. For instance, at summer solstice (June 22) the sun should rise at exactly 5 a.m. from Alishan's most northern point. At the winter solstice (December 22) sunrise comes two hours later, at 7 a.m., and the sun rises from Alishan's most southern point.

Waiting for the sunrise
Beautiful sunrise

The sun rises before 6am and by 6am, everywhere is full of sunlight. We explored around using the map which the minsu owner gave to us.

Sea of clouds

It's only 6.15am Let's go for a walk Last train leavingIt's damn cold If we are so tall, haha...
Graffitied walls
Beware of train coming

We decided to head for 对高亭 which takes about 1.5hr to reach there. There is no other transportation other than our foot. We walked for almost 500m and went to the public toilet. On the way there, we didnt meet even a single person hence we decide to abort our plan and head back. It's better to safe than sorry.

So ulu... Flowers everywhere
A Japanese style house Jhaoping Station 沼平站
Coniferous tree

We decided to see the 石猴. We took the railway path as it is more flat then the normal route which is up and down the hills. Once again, there were no people except the 2 of us.

Trees everywhere

There used to be trains to 石猴 but it was closed after 921 earthquake. We just continue to walked and walked.

We were the only users

We reached this junction where there is a warning sign. There is a signboard warning that there are tunnels ahead for the route to 石猴 and prohibits people from entering due to the 921 earthquake. Since we can't head to 石猴, we decided to head to the other direction but the problem is how to climb up to the bridge? We decided to turn back and see if there are stairs leading up to the original pathway.

How to climb up to the bridge?Stone path
Up at the bridge

We saw a map indicating our current position and we were only halfway to Greater Tashan 大塔山. It's 9am now and we are running out of water. We estimated that by the time we reached Greater Tashan and back, it would be around noon time. Hence we abandoned the plan to climb Greater Tashan. On the way back, we encounter 2 Taiwanese guys. They are from Taoyuan and one of them is a policeman. We chatted for a while and they remark that both of us are brave as we came all the way from Singapore to Taiwan then to Alishan, hehe...

Still a long way to go!!!

There are two scenic ponds in the forest and are named Two Sisters Pond (姐妹潭). There is a legendary story which goes: Once upon a time, there are two aboriginal sisters who both fell in love with one special man. Neither of them wanted to break either sister's heart while not being able to say no to the man, so they jumped into two separate ponds.

Younger sister pond 妹潭
Cute slogan

The Elder Sister Pond, the larger of the two, has a much-photographed octagonal little pavilion in the middle. I found quite a lot of algae in the water, this is why the pond looks so greenish.

Elder sister pond 姐潭

There are lots of specials trees here. You shall know what i mean below...

Four sisters 四姐妹Three brothers 三兄弟
Happiness from Golden Pig 金猪报喜

The signboard explains that it resembles a pair of dragon and phoenix but we couldnt figure it out how it resembles dragon and phoenix. Since they are mysterious and imaginary creatures, use your imagination!

Dragon & phoenix 龙凤配

Two old cypress trees have grown into a big heart shaped by the joints of their roots and tops. 两颗千年桧树就像是永不分离的爱侣。How sweet it is to take a photo here with your love one.

Forever one heart 永结同心 Old stumps 老树头
Forest walk

Real wasabi

Fake wasabi

Siang Lin Elementary School 香林国民小学

Shoujhen Temple 受鎮宮 is the largest temple in Alishan. The main gods worshiped here are the Syuantian Emperor, the Fude God and the Jhusheng Goddess. The exterior and first floor are imposing enough, but don't miss a visit to the second floor, featuring an incredibly ornate golden altar and a surreal room with 10,000 miniature Buddhas, all lit up with a single LED. Should i know it, I would have went in to take a look.

Shoujhen Temple 受鎮宮

We bought one sausage each which cost NT$40 ~ S$2. It's yummy. We also bought a lot of 山猪肉. It's super delicious and i bought 10 packets back, haha...

Cuttlefish Sausages, Fish eggs sausages, Sakura wasabi sausages etc.

Barbeque pork 山猪肉 Limit to 6 people
I'm the only one so the bridge is safe

The big roots lying at the ground are the real roots of the first generation tree which was alive back to fifteen hundred years ago. Two hundred and fifty years after it wilted and died, a seed happen to land on it and took the nutrients out of the decaying old log to grow into the second generation tree. The latter ran through the its natural course and it took another three hundred years before the third generation tree started its turn. How amazing it is!

Three generation trees 三代树

Elephant trunk tree象鼻木

Am i somewhere in Europe?
Post box
By the time we finished our forest walk and went back to the minsu, it's already 11.30am and we decided to buy cup noodles from 7-11 for lunch. However, the cup noodles does not taste nice. =(

Shops selling souvenirs

Train leaving

Yummy, it's fresh milk
Our lunch

We rested until 1.30pm and headed to the Police station to take photgraph as the train which passed by the police station has certain timing.

It's raining...Getting ready for the train to pass by
Here comes the train
Cream puff for snack

After enough of taking photographs, we head to the visitor centre. There are visitor helpdesk and a film room screening documentary about Alishan on the first floor and a display center on the second floor outlining the history of the Alishan railway, the wildlife you might see and a bit on the native aboriginal Zhou tribe.

What Alishan is famous for?
Trains tickets
Du Li Shan spiraled climbing section
Z shaped climbing section
Different temperate zoneWhat each season is famous for
Flowers seen in Alishan
Too bad it's a painting...

It's almost 4pm and we headed back to the minsu to bath. We met the minsu owner's son - Mr chen and we chatted for a while. He asked us whether we are free in the evening cos he can drive us to watch the sunset. Of cos we are ok with it since there is someone local who can bring us around. We thought that he would bring other guests staying in the minsu but it turns out that we are the only two. I also dunno where he drove us to and then he stopped his car by the road side. Wow... the scenary is nice. We stand there and watch the clouds moving but too bad the clouds blocked the sunset and we couldnt catch the beautiful sunset.
The best time for seeing the clouds is probably autumn when swathes of cloud wrap the mountain peaks. The clouds appear to move in huge billowing waves, which sometimes swallow the island-like mountain peaks. Too bad... Visitors are advised that the best location to view Alishan's famous sea of clouds is Erwanping 二萬坪 which is the train stop before Alishan. The views from Erwanping are magnificent.

Playing with the grass
Sun is setting
Moon is coming out
After that, we went for dinner near the minsu. The dinner cost us NT$360 ~ S$18 which is not cheap but the food portion is really enough for 4 persons. We couldn't finished the food which i find it a waste.


Then at about 8pm, Mr Chen called and ask us whether we have any activity later on. He suggested to drive us to see fireflies! My sis and I had not seen one before and we were quite excited about it. It's also really very nice of Mr Chen to drive us to see fireflies.
He drove downhill and search and search for the fireflies. After some searching, we finally found the place and there is quite a lot of fireflies. The whole place seems to be lighted up for Xmas. So amazing. According to Mr Chen, fireflies like to settle at marshes hence this place has a river which explains why fireflies can be found here.
On the way back, my sis got motion sickness and we wound down the window to catch some fresh air and Mr Chen drove slower. I watched the TV while my sis goes to bed immediately. Turned in at around 10pm and tomorrow had to wake up at around 4am. ZZzzz.

>>Day 7: 11 Apr 08

1 comment:

furlycia said...

hi.. was doing my research for my upcoming taiwan trip when i chanced upon ur blog! thanks for the information.. really appreciate it! =)

just want to ask, is there only 1 train station in alishan?
so this train station will be the one that i'll arrive at when i tk the train up to alishan from chiayi?

is this the train station that i'll be taking the train up to jhushan as well? also, do we purchase the sunrise train to jhushan at this alishan train station? would u happen to recall wad is the opening hours of the ticket counter? hope to hear from u soon! heres my email:

would realllllly appreciate ur help! thanks in advance. =)