28th December 2011 – On Day 5 we visited Alishan 阿里山 or Mount Ali, another National Scenic Area of Taiwan. Alishan is located in the Ali Mountain Range and is well known for its sunrises, and on a suitable morning one can observe the sun come up on a sea of clouds in the area between Alishan and Yushan.
And guess what if you are a chinese, most likely you’ve heard the most popular Taiwan’s folk song Ālǐshān de gūniang, ‘the girls of Alishan’, that refers to the beautiful girls of the Tsou aborigial tribe (who first settled in this mountain). This song is also well known in several foreign countries, like the People’s Republic of China.
We had to struggle to wake up at 4:30am and crawl to the forest railway station to board the train departing for top of the mountain at 5am. Arriving at the train station we joined the crowd of maybe 100 – 200+ people who wants to watch sunrise too – this didn’t come as a big surprise to me as Alishan is one of the top tourist attraction in Taiwan.
We arrived at the mountain top around 6AM and had to wait till 7am for the sun to come out, and it wasn’t easy to wait, as the weather was around minus 5 degrees as it was an early morning in winter on the top of a mountain of roughly 2,500m above sea level. I got myself a sweet spot to take photos and waited there for an hour (wouldn’t want others to take my spot!).
And the luck was with me that morning, the sun rose and everyone was so busy taking photos. After having done sunrise viewing, we toured around the forest park of Alishan for its famous cypress tree landscape before calling it the end of the day.