Ultimate Guide to Alishan National Forest (阿里山國家風景區)

Located in Alishan Township (阿里山鄉), 2 hours east of Chiayi City (嘉義市), Alishan National Forest Recreation Area is one of Taiwan’s most iconic protected areas and a spectacular destination for both day trips or overnights. 

Introduction to Alishan National Forest

Alishan National Forest is made up of a total of 25 mountains that reach over 2,000 meters (6,562 ft). The highest mountain located in Alishan National Forest is  Datashan (大塔山) standing at 2,663m (8,737 ft).

The entire Alishan National Forest area covers approximately 1400-hectares or about 14 km2. However, the area accessible for visitors and hikers is actually quite compact and convenient to get around. The main Alishan Village is located just inside the park gates and consists of a number of restaurants and souvenir shops, as well as a 7-11 (the highest in Taiwan at 2,200m), the Alishan Visitor and Information Center and the majority of the accommodations located inside Alishan National Forest. 

There are approximately 30km of trails located inside Alishan National Forest. Many of the trails are rated level 1-2 difficulty (out of 5). Alishan is one of Taiwan’s premier outdoor and adventure destinations and is sure to impress. We’ve put together this ultimate guide to Alishan National Forest to help you plan your next visit.

Quick History of Alishan National Forest:

At the turn of the 20th century, the occupying Japanese began to discover the rich forest resources of the area that now represents the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area. There was a brief period between 1906-1912, where the area was logged by a private Japanese enterprise. After this, the Japanese state authority took over the logging industry.

They began to harvest the forest around May 1912 and finished the construction of the Alishan-Chiayi Railway in December of that year. In 1913, the government started to deliver the timber from Alishan. It also completed a timber yard, sawmill, and other logging facilities in 1914. From this point on, Alishan forest became the foundation of Chiayi forestry, until the Taiwanese government stopped timber extraction of the area now known as Alishan National Forest in 1963. 

Hiking Trails in Alishan National Forest

Hiking the Giant Tree Cluster Trail (巨木群棧道)

2.5km (looped) | Looped trail | No permit required | Level 1 difficulty rating (out of 5)

GPX File for Giant Tree Cluster Trail (巨木群棧道)

The Giant Tree Cluster Trail is a scenic loop trail that features over 40 giant ancient Formosan Red Cypress trees. This trail actually has two separate trails also referred to as Giant Tree Plank Trails #1 and #2. Giant Tree Plank Trail #1 is approximately 600m and features a number of attractions including the Thousand-Year Cypress (千歲檜神木), the Tree of Three Generations (三代木(櫻木花道) and the spectacular Xianglin Sacred Tree (香林神木). If you’ve seen the Studio Ghibli movie, Princess Mononoke, you’ll resonate with another attraction featured on this section of the trail – the Tree Spirit Pagoda (樹靈塔). This pagoda honors the tree spirits lost during the logging periods of this area.

Giant Tree Plank Trail #2 is approximately 450m long and is connected to Giant Tree Plank Trail #1 by Shenyi Bridge. This trail connects No. 28 Giant Tree (28號巨木) and other attractions in the area. The closest access point from the Alishan Control Station (the internal front gate) is near Alishan Hotel (阿里山賓館). The trail surface is mostly a mix of boardwalks and hard surfaced trails making it accessible for hikers of all abilities. Due to its beautiful scenery and accessibility, the Giant Tree Cluster Trail (巨木群棧道) is also one of the most popular areas of Alishan National Forest. However, depending on the time you visit this area it can be quiet and serene.

The connected trail meanders through a spectacular section of the park with massive cedars found throughout, including several ancient Taiwan Cypress trees.

Hikers pass several attractions and points of interest including:

  • King Cherry (櫻王) – A massive Cherry Tree located close to Alishan Hotel. Blossoms around February-March each year.
  • Alishan Museum (阿里山博物館) – A small building that offers some additional interpretive exhibits about the history of Alishan National Forest Recreation Area. Exhibits are limited and in Chinese only. 
  • Xianglin Sacred Tree (香林神木) – An incredible, 2,300 year old ancient Formosan Red Cypress (Chamaecyparis formosensis) that has officially become Alishan’s 2nd Generation Sacred Tree. This silent giant stands 43.5 meters high.
  • Shenmu (Sacred Tree) Station (神木車站) – The northern terminus of the Shenmu Rail line in Alishan National Forest, this station is nestled in a small valley and offers hikers an easy connection to/from The Giant Tree Cluster Trail.
  • Alishan No.28 Giant Tree (阿里山28號巨木) – This is the tallest giant tree on the Giant Tree Plank Trail. The diameter has been measured at 4 meters and stretches to a height of over 43 meters. This tree is estimated to be nearly 1,100 years old.
  • Xianglin Service Area (香林服務區) , Ciyun Temple (慈雲寺) and Alishan Shouzhen Temple (阿里山受鎮宮) are also located along this route and will be highlighted below.

Hiking Shuishan Trail (水山步道)

3km (return) – Linear two-way – No permit required – Level 1 difficulty rating (out of 5)

GPX File for Shuishan Trail (水山步道)

As this trail follows the old and abandoned ZhongZhi rail line, the Shuishan Trail (水山步道) is mostly flat and requires walking on crushed stone and railroad ties. Hiking the Shuishan Trail (水山步道) takes approximately 1 hour to complete with an elevation that ranges from 2,292 to 2,317 meters.  While this is a moderately popular trail, this trail is a good choice if you are looking to escape the larger crowds of Alishan National Forest. 

The trail winds through a beautiful forest of second growth cypress and cedar trees. After crossing an old bridge and train station, hikers will arrive at the famous Shuishan Giant Tree. Estimated at around  2,700 years old, this ancient Taiwan Red Cypress is a gem of Alishan National Forest and well worth the short and scenic hike.

It takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour to complete this trail. It also manages to escape much of the day-trip crowds. You’ll find the trailhead a short way south of Zhaoping Train Station.

Hiking Tashan Trail (塔山步道)

7km (return) | Linear Two-Way | No Permit Required | Level 2 Difficulty Rating

GPX File for Tashan Trail (塔山步道)

This trail officially begins at Sister Ponds (姊妹潭) and takes hikers through a stunning cypress and cedar forest. While the first 2km are relatively flat and not particularly challenging, the remainder of the ascent up to the Tashan observation deck follow a series of steep steps for about 1.7km and a nearly one-hour exhausting climb. While certainly tiring, one of the advantages of this challenging hike is that it tends to discourage the less hardy hikers and tourists. If you are looking to escape the crowds, this may be one of the better hikes. 

Tashan Trail (塔山步道) – Trailhead

When hikers make it to the Tashan Observation Deck the views are spectacular. From here, hikers look over Tashan Peak, Jade Mountain, and Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range. Due to the high elevation, this is a great place to view the famous sea of clouds in Alishan. To return, hikers trek back down the way that they came until they reach the trailhead near Sister Ponds. 

Large (or “Da”) Tashan is considered a holy mountain of the Tsou Tribe. As the legend goes, if an individual did good deeds their spirit would be taken to Da Tashan after dying. On the contrary, people who were evildoers would be taken to Little (or Xiao) Tashan after dying.

Hiking Duegaoyue (Duigaoyue) Trail (對高岳步道)

3.5km (return) | Linear Two-Way | No Permits Required | Level 2 difficulty

GPX File – Duegaoyue Trail (對高岳步道)

Hiking the Duegaoyue Trail takes anywhere between 1 to 2 hours to complete, depending on how much time one takes enjoying the views. This is a great trail if you are looking to get away from the crowds of Alishan National Forest. Duegaoyue Trail is mostly shaded and takes hikers amongst moss-covered cedar and cypress trees. The trail is mostly well-maintained and features compact soil, wooden steps, as well as sections that follow the train tracks north. 

Walking along the Duegaoyue Trail.

The Duegaoyue Pavilion sits at 2,444m above sea-level and the views along this trail are spectacular and actually similar to those experienced at both Zhushan  and Duegaoyue Viewing Platforms (both famous for watching the sunrise over Jade Mountain). The trailhead is accessed near Duegaoyue Train Station by walking towards the viewing platform and crossing over the train tracks on your right.

Hiking Mian Yue Line (眠月線)

18km (Return) | Linear Two-Way | Permits Required | Level 1 difficulty

GPX File – Mian Yue Line (眠月線)

Winding through a mystical forest in Alishan National Forest is a trail that leaves a lasting impression on hikers. The 9-kilometer (one-way) Mian Yue hiking trail traverses a mix of old-growth and secondary forests and has become one of the most popular hiking routes over the years due to its seclusion and unique cultural heritage. Hiking the Mian Yue Line (眠月線) in Alishan National Forest Recreation Area features a number of elevated bridges, tunnels and historical sites. Development of the Mianyue Line as a forest rail service began in 1913 and reaches from Alishan New Station and ends at Shihou Station. Officially completed and opened to traffic in 1915 and the Mianyue Line became one of the two main lines of the Alishan Linchang Railway.

Brief History of Mian Yue Line (眠月線)

In 1999, the infamous 921 Earthquake rocked the country of Taiwan. The earthquake severely damaged the rail line with several sections collapsing. The Mianyue Line ultimately closed indefinitely. Since then the hiking trail has become popular with hikers in Taiwan looking to explore one of the more picturesque trails that also boasts a truly rare aura and mystique not found on many other hiking trails in Taiwan.

Unique Ecological Area along Mian Yue Line (眠月線)

The Taiwan Pleione (Pleione Formosana) is a beautiful perennial of the orchid family. Despite being very difficult to cultivate outside of its natural environment, the Taiwan Pleione has been a steady victim of thievery. Mian Yue Line traverses the Alishan Taiwan Pleione Nature Preserve, an ecologically sensitive protected area. The small preserve also houses other rare plants, such as the Taiwan sassafras, Alishan mahonia, and Taiwan Douglas Fir.

There are many original trestle bridge crossings that have no safety railings. These elevated paths can be intimidating. Hikers should practice safe hiking along these areas. There are two sections that require additional safety information:

  1. One section of a Mian Yue Line tunnel has completely collapsed and requires hikers to scramble and use hand ropes/chains to traverse. Hikers are encouraged to use extra caution during this section and only pass if they are confident they have the ability to do so. 
  2. There are also several old train tunnels that hikers will be required to walk through. While this really adds to the appeal of this hike, several of the tunnels require a flashlight, with one in particular also requiring some scrambling up a collapsed section.

For hikers looking to explore the Mian Yue Line in Taiwan, they must apply for entry permits five to 60 days in advance. The permits have been capped at 300 a day for the Mian Yue Line (眠月線). Hikers will be applying for permits to the Alishan Taiwan Pleione Nature Reserve and not the Mian Yue Line. 

Link to permit application website (Please note, this website is offered only in Chinese)

Hiking Small, Connecting Trails in Alishan National Forest

Forest Trail

2.5km | Linear two-Way | No Permits Required | Level 1 difficulty

Less of a trail than a walking path, this hard-surface path starts at the control station near the 7-11 in the Alishan Village and parallels the main park road for nearly a kilometer. This trail features a slight incline as hikers walk into the park, but it is generally a very easy trail for most. Near the Alishan Hotel, the trail forks with one section continuing to the Giant Tree Cluster Trail and Sacred Tree Station (神木車站), while the other section connects to the Cherry Blossom Trail and Zhaoping Station (沼平車站). The Forest Trail acts as a key connector trail for those wishing to explore the southwestern part of Alishan National Forest. For those not taking the mountain train or the electric shuttle bus into the park, this is the only way into Alishan National Forest.

Pond-Shore Boardwalk

400m | Looped | No Permits Required | Level 1 difficulty

Starting from the Tashan Trailhead just north of the Zhaoping Station area, this easy trail features wooden planks and compact soil as it loops around both the Younger Sister Pond, the Elder Sister Pond and the Three Brothers (tree). A short connection trail then descends down towards the Golden Pig Tree, the Magnolia Garden and onwards to Xianglin Service Area (香林服務區). This trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in Alishan National Forest. 

Cherry Blossom Trail:

300m | Linear Two-Way | No Permits Required | Level 1 difficulty

This short, hard-surfaced trail meanders through an open field dotted with Cherry Trees. It begins adjacent to the Zhaoping Station, where it features an elevated walkway about 15m off the ground. It connects to the Forest Trail and onwards south towards the control station near the southern end of the park. Walking this trail is a highlight for many during the Cherry Blossom season in late winter/early spring. 

Zhushan Footpath (or Sunrise Trail):

860m-1.3km | Linear Two-Way | No Permits Required | Level 1 difficulty

This linear trail connects the Zhaoping Park/Station area to Zhushan Forest Road. It contnues onwards towards Duegaoyue Station and the Zhushan Sunrise Viewing Platform. This trail features compact soil, wooden steps and is shaded. During the cherry blossom season, this trail is a highlight and full of cherry blossoms. It takes about 40 minutes to 1 hour to hike from the trailhead near Zhaoping Park to Duegaoyue Station. For those looking to walk back after experiencing the famed sunrise, the Zhushan Footpath is a great connection trail.

Attractions and Services within Alishan National Forest

Xianglin Service Area (香林服務區) – Conveniently located, this service area features several vegetarian and non-vegetarian restaurants. Other vendors sell coffee, high-mountain teas and other light snacks and souvenirs. Washrooms available on site.  

Alishan Shouzhen Temple (阿里山受鎮宮) – This temple was built in 1948 and is located at an altitude of 2,000 metres. It has been rebuilt once. It recently underwent restoration work. Located adjacent to the Xianglin Service Area (香林服務區), this temple features beautiful, ornate and colorful carvings.

Ciyun Temple (慈雲寺) – This unique Japanese temple was originally built in 1919 and features a gold and copper statue of Buddha. The temple was built during the Japanese occupation period as a tribute to the beauty of the Alishan area. 

Accommodation within Alishan: Reviews coming soon

Getting Around Alishan National Forest

Alishan Forest Railway (inside the National Forest)

One of the most popular ways to travel within Alishan National Forest is using the famous Alishan Forest Railway. The Alishan Forest Railway no longer connects from Chiayi to Alishan National Forest. Here we are talking about three shorter rail lines that can only be accessed once you are inside Alishan National Forest. These three rail lines can be include:

  • Shenmu Line: Connecting visitors to Giant Tree Cluster Trail (巨木群棧道) and the surrounding area.
  • Zhushan (Chushan) Line: Connecting visitors to the Sunrise Viewing Platforms of Duegaoyue, Zhushan Viewing Platform #1 & #2 and Mt. Ogasawara Viewing Lot, Zhushan Footpath, and Duegaoyue Trail (對高岳步道)
  • Zhaoping (Chaoping) Line: Connecting visitors to Tashan Trail (塔山步道), Mian Yue Line (眠月線), Zhushan Footpath, Cherry Blossom Trail, Pond-Shore Boardwalk (Sister’s Ponds) and Shuishan Trail (水山步道)

At the time of writing, there is currently ongoing construction at Zhushan Train Station. Therefore, the Zhushan Line’s final stop is at Duegaoyue Train Station. For those wishing to visit Zhushan Viewing Platforms, you will have to get off at this station and walk an approximate 10-15 minutes. When purchasing tісkеtѕ, уоu’ll nееd tо сhооѕе the Duegаоуuе option as your destination. 

Why ride the Alishan Forest Railway inside Alishan National Forest?

These rail lines hold historical significance as they were originally built during the Japanese colonial period in Taiwan. Riding the train allows visitors to connect back to the region’s history. The stations along the route are well-maintained and preserved and they reflect the architectural style of this era. This combination of cultural enrichment and historical insight adds a unique layer to any visit to Alishan National Forest. While getting outdoors and hiking within Alishan is probably one of the reasons you’re visiting this website, taking the train can also be an added convenience if you don’t have time or some in your travel party need some extra support. 

How to Purchase Alishan Forest Railway Tickets? 

To purchase Alishan Forest Railway tickets visit the Alishan Forest Railway website (to change language, click on the top right). Or visitors can purchase tickets at any of the train stations located inside Alishan. For train times please visit the Alishan Forest Railway website. The price of train tickets in Alishan National Forest range and depend on the destination you will be visiting. The train in Alishan is free for children under 6.

  • Alishan Station to Duegaoyue Station = $120ntd one-way (Kids 6-11 50% – $60ntd)
  • Alishan Station to Shenmu Station = $100ntd one-way (Kids 6-11 half-price – $50ntd)
  • Alishan Station to Zhaoping Station = $100ntd one-way (Kids 6-11 half-price – $50ntd)

Electric Buses (E-Bus)

Source: Alishan.welcome.tw

One of the most convenient (and environmentally friendly) ways to travel within Alishan National Forest is on an electric bus. They operate at a bit of a faster frequency than the train network and offer quick connections throughout the park. Alishan is the first national forest recreation area of Taiwan with an electric bus. Visitors can purchase tickets and board from a small kiosk next to Alishan Visitor Center (阿里山旅客服務中心). Tickets vary in prices depending on age, status (seniors, students and local residents) and destination within the park. Please note that you can’t use Taiwan’s EasyCard for these shuttle services. Visitors can use the e-buses to access essentially the same three locations as the train stations inside the scenic area. 

Departures from Alishan Visitor Center occur nearly every 5-15 minutes (sometimes longer, depending on the arrival of the bus).

The Alishan Electric Buses are run along three routes

  1. Alishan Visitor Center to Zhuѕhаn by E-Bus: Departing from Alishan Visitor Center, this route takes visitors to Zhushan Viewing Platforms. The frequency of departures for this route are limited to four departures daily (every 2 hours starting at 9am). For visitors looking to experience the famous Sunrise over Jade Mountain, this bus does not run that early. This is a good option for those looking to visit the viewing platform of Duegaoyue, Zhushan Viewing Platform #1 & #2 and Mt. Ogasawara Viewing Lot, or to hike the Zhushan Footpath, and Duegaoyue Trail (對高岳步道)
  2. Alishan Visitor Center to Zhаоріng Station by Е-Buѕ: Departing from Alishan Visitor Center, this route takes visitors to a location close to Zhaoping Train Station. Getting off the bus here, passengers will cross the road and walk 2 minutes to reach Zhaoping Station. This is a good option for those looking to hike Tashan Trail (塔山步道), Mian Yue Line (眠月線), Zhushan Footpath, Cherry Blossom Trail, Pond-Shore Boardwalk (Sister’s Ponds) and Shuishan Trail (水山步道), and the surrounding area.
  3. Alishan Visitor Center to Shouzhen Temple by E-Bus: Departing from Alishan Visitor Center, this route takes visitors directly to Ѕhоuzhеn tеmрlе, adjacent to the Xianglin Service Area. This is a good option for those looking to hike the Giant Tree Cluster Trail (巨木群棧道) and the surrounding area. Departures from Alishan Visitor Center occur every 5-10 minutes (sometimes longer, depending on the arrival of the bus).

Finally, Hiking (Of course!)

One of the best ways to experience Alishan National Forest is with two feet. Hiking in Alishan is very convenient and easy to navigate. The trails are very well-signed and information is available throughout the park. The trails provide an opportunity for hikers of all skill levels to enjoy the beauty of the National Forest. 

When To Visit Alishan National Forest

The good news is, you can visit Alishan all year long. But that doesn’t really help, does it? The best months for good weather in Alishan National Forest are March, April, late, late September, October, November and December. While May and June offer warmer weather, this is also the Plum Rain season. Traditionally, the area receives more rain in the summer months of July and August.

Average Weather in Alishan National Forest

Due to its high elevation of around 2,000m, Alishan has cooler temperatures than much of the island of Taiwan. On average, the temperatures can be expected to be anywhere between 5-10 degrees cooler than those found in lower elevations. During the summer months, the average temperatures reach above 15°C. In winter, the average temperature regularly sits under 10°C. While November to April can be cooler, the Sea of Clouds are more common.

Keep this in mind when you are planning outdoor or hiking trips in Alishan National Forest.

Visiting Alishan During Cherry Blossom Season

When to See Alishan’s Cherry Blossoms

The most popular time of the year to visit Alishan National Forest is during Cherry Blossom Season. Seeing the Cherry Blossoms at Alishan National Forest is like stepping into a world of enchantment. Nestled high amidst the clouds, Alishan unveils its most captivating secret during a truly awe-inspiring period: the arrival of the cherry blossoms. Prepare to be spellbound. This magnificent spectacle peaks in late March and April, marking the conclusion of Taiwan’s cherry blossom season.

Plan Ahead to Visit Alishan National Forest during Cherry Blossom Season

Visiting Alishan National Forest during the Cherry Blossom Season is a quest of foresight and planning. While day trips to Alishan National Forest are available, making the most of a visit to Alishan during this breathtaking time requires securing accommodations well in advance. During the Cherry Blossom season, accommodations inside the protected area are in high demand. They get booked months in advance. This means that those who don’t plan ahead are left with no choice but to experience Alishan National Forest as a day visitor (not the worst thing in the world). Frankly, even in quieter times, booking accommodations within Alishan National Forest is difficult. 

Where and When to see Cherry Blossoms in Alishan National Forest

How to Get to Alishan National Forest

While Alishan is a remote national forest, there are several ways visitors can access this stunning natural destination. Whether you drive, use public transportation, book private transportation, or join a tour group, you’ll be glad you made the trip.

Driving to Alishan National Forest

For those wishing to drive to Alishan National Forest, you’ll likely use Google Maps to help you along the way. As a point of reference, travel times from Taipei City will be about 4 hours and 45 minutes. From Taichung and Kaohsiung city centers, the travel times are both about 3 hours. If you are coming from Chiayi, the drive time is about 2 hours. From the east coast, the travel times are much longer, taking over 5 hours from Taitung and nearly 8 hours from Hualien (depending on road closures). There are switchbacks for the final 50km on Highway 18. While this makes for a great cycling experience, it can be an exhausting drive for some.

Taking Public Transportation to Alishan National Forest 

Taking public transportation is a popular way to get to Alishan National Forest Recreation Area. This means that it can be somewhat challenging to secure tickets on the day of your trip, particularly if you are planning on visiting Alishan National Forest on a weekend or holiday. We suggest planning ahead as much as possible and booking your bus ticket in advance. There are two primary was to get to Alishan National Forest: 

  1. Taking a bus from Chiayi High-Speed Rail Station or Chiayi Bus Station
  2. Taking the Alishan Forest Railway from Chiayi to Fenqihu and then connecting to a bus to Alishan National Forest. 

Chiayi County is the most common starting point for those wishing to travel to Alishan National Forest by public transportation, most specifically Chiayi City or Chiayi High Speed Rail Station. If you will be taking Taiwan’s High-Speed Rail (HSR) to Chiayi HSR Station, visit their website and book your ticket in advance. If you will be taking the slower train to Chiayi, you will be arriving in the city center and will need to visit the TRA website to book your ticket. 

How to Get to Alishan National Forest by Bus

Many visitors to Alishan will take the bus and the two most popular pick-up locations are Chiayi HSR Station and Chiayi Train Station (in the city center). It is important to note that Chiayi’s HSR Station is located approximately 20 minutes from the city center. While there is a 7-11 and other small shops, there are few amenities located inside or near the HSR in Chiayi. One of the extra bonuses of taking the bus is the 50% discount off admission into Alishan National Forest. The regular ticket price for admission is $300 ntd, but is only $150 just by showing the receipt of the bus ticket. 

The Bus pick up is located just in front of Chiayi Train Station’s East Side.

From Chiayi’s High-Speed Rail Station

  • Visitors can take Bus #7322 (specifically 7322, as 7322a route detours into Fenqihu) from Chiayi High Speed Rail Station (HSR). This is the first pick up location of this route. Buying tickets in advance is possible, but passengers can buy tickets when boarding the bus. The bus fee from Chiayi HSR is $251(ntd) one-way. Either use an EasyCard or pay the exact fee amount and ride the bus all the way up. From thе Ніgh Ѕрееd Rаіl (НЅR) ѕtаtіоn, visitors can expect an approximately 2-hour buѕ ride tо Аlіѕhаn National Forest. 

Visitors can also take Bus #7329 from Chiayi HSR. This route bypasses Chiayi Train Station en route to Alishan National Forest. Click here for bus #7329 route and schedule timetable.

From Chiayi City Train Station (TRA)

  • If you will be connecting with the bus from Chiayi City, you will need to get to the south east side of the Chiayi Train Station to board. The exact pick up location is located here. From the TRA Chiayi Train Station, visitors can take Bus #7322 or bus #7322c. Again, if you take bus #7322a, expect a bit of a longer trip as the bus detours into Fenqihu. The bus fee from Chiayi HSR is $240 (ntd) one-way. Visitors can view the route schedule for Bus #7322 here.

How to Get to Alishan National Forest by Train (+ bus transfer)

If you have the time and are lucky enough to get train tickets, one of the most spectacular ways to get to Alishan National Forest is to take the Alishan Forest Railway from Chiayi Train Station (in the city). The Alishan Forest Train now only takes passengers to Fenqihu. In 2009, the tracks were destroyed during Typhoon Morakot between Fenqihu and Alishan National Forest. Despite this, the train journey is truly spectacular.

Source Alishan Forest Railway

This once-in-a-lifetime train service starts at 30m above sea-level in Chiayi City and rises to 1,400m in Fenqihu. During this elevation gain the ecosystems change significantly from tropical to temperate to alpine. From steep gradients (think >6%), mountain tunnels and bridges and even rare z-shaped switchbacks, the Alishan Forest Train is one of the most unique mountain trains on Earth. As such it’s pretty popular. 
Visitors wishing to reserve seats for the Alishan Forest Railway (between Chiayi to Fenqihu must book seats online. Seats must be reserved up to 15 days in advance (only from 6am to midnight Taiwan time). It always sells out, so book early. You don’t have to book in advance for the bus.

Navigating the Train/Bus Transfer

For those taking the train, you will also have to buy a ticket to Fenqihu, where you can transfer onto the bus (1 more hour). The train to Fenqihu takes just over 2 hours, while the bus from Fenqihu takes about 1 additional hour. The exact pick up location and bus stop for the bus from Fenqihu to Alishan is located north of Fenqihu Old Street. Visitors can find the location here. Visitors will be boarding either 7322 (originating at Chiayi train station) or 7329 (originating at Chiayi HSR station). Please note, there are three departure times from Fenqihu to Alishan (11:30 AM, 12:50 PM and 2:00 PM and three departure times from Alishan National Forest to Fenqihu (9:10 AM, 10:10 AM, and 2:10 PM).

For those interested in visiting Alishan National Forest, but require either a guide and/or transportation services, please click on the links below.

Hiring a guide and/or private transportation to Alishan National Forest:

Book a Day Trip Now

Whether you are hiking alone or with a group, book a guide and transportation now!

Book Transportation

Order a private driver & vehicle to drop you off and pick you up.

Published by Taiwan Outdoors

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