2012 Alishan – Taiwan

By Vita Kuo

For centuries, Taiwan was known as “Formosa” which means “The Beautiful Island” in Portuguese. Even now, Taiwan is still known for its lush-green mountains, pleasant climates, and delicious cuisines. The prominent travel guidebook, Lonely Planet, and its extended family of travelers, bloggers and tweeters recommend Taiwan as one of the top 10 countries for travel in 2012. You definitely shouldn’t miss this attractive island this
year. Going forward in 2012, Asian Fusion Magazine will present a series of stories in our upcoming issues to give you a taste of how wonderful it is to travel to one of the most beautiful tourist spots in the world!

Because of its varied and incredible natural resources, Taiwan has recently transformed itself into a “Natural Fairyland” for travelers to enjoy. Among the major landmarks associated with Taiwan, Alishan is amongst the most representional spots. Around 250 years ago, one of Taiwanese aborigine tribes, Tsou, went hunting and accidentily found this heavenly place. Located in Chiayi County in southern Taiwan, Alishan is the home of a wide variety of plants, animals and landscapes. Overwhelm- ing cherry blossoms, spectacular sunrise views, dazzling ocean clouds and the production of high quality Alishan tea are some of the special things that make Alishan popular among both local and international travelers.

Every year, when it comes to springtime, mesmerizing cherry blossoms in various colors cover many tourist spots in Taiwan. The Alishan Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the

most popular flower festivals. Covered by more than 19,000 cherry trees, of which 18,000 of them are Yoshino cherry trees, Alishan is over-flowing with spectacular amounts of white and pink cherry blossoms every
spring. Alishan Police Station, Alishan House, Alishan Work Station and Zhaoping Park are some of the best spots for watching the blossom spectacle. This year, the mesmerizing Alishan Cherry Blossom Festival will be hosted from March 15th to April 15th.

Besides the Cherry Blossom Festival, every tourist will not miss the chance to visit the sacred trees in Alishan. The thousands- year-old trees awe everyone with the power of Mother Nature and bring peacefulness to everyone’s heart. You can take the world- renowned Alishan Forest Railways- Zhaoping and Alishan Sacred Tree routes to discover the splendors of Alishan. The Alishan Forest Railway was constructed by the Japanese Colonial Government in 1912. The main purpose at that time was to facilitate the logging of cypress and Taiwania wood.
But now, the line caters mostly to tourists with its signature Z-shaped switchbacks, 50 tunnels, and over 77 wooden bridges, which have become a unique experience for every passenger. In October or November, Alishan holds the romantic event inviting lovely couples to have a memorable wedding at Alishan mountain resort. Sacred trees serve as witnesses and guardian angels of their love. The unchanged much-told tale of the magic tree wishes a bright future for the attending couples.

The brilliant sunrise and astonishing ocean clouds are attractions of Alishan as well. The clouds here are so dense and thick that the mountaintops appear like islands on the ocean clouds. The formation of ocean clouds depends on the terrain, altitude, airstream, and humidity.

From the peak of Alishan, if the weather is misty and humid, you will see the clouds tumbling around the mountains just like water waving in the sea. Wandering through Alishan at that time, you will believe that a fairyland really does exist on the earth. Alishan is also famous for its sunrise. When the weather is good, you can see the sun come up over Yu Mountain (Yushan), and the view is astounding. There are several places to watch the sunrise; one of them being Jhushan. You can take the train from Alishan and then Chaoping Station up to Jhushan where there is a viewing platform, or you can walk up. Although it is not fun at all to wake up around four o’clock in the morning to wait for the sunshine, with the view of the sunrise in Alishan, it is worth giving up a little sleep.

Alishan is also one of Taiwan’s famous tea growing areas, which produces dainty High Mountain Oolong tea because of its misty weather. High Mountain Oolong is grown around 1000 to 2300 meters in altitude. Alishan’s high mountain climate offers much fog and low temperature, which are ideal for producing the best High Mountain Oolong tea. Moreover, the water used for irrigation is from pure mountain springs, which is the other important factor of why Alishan High Mountain Oolong tea is so special. When you sip the tea, the unique flavor will spread across the tongue and leave a pleasant smooth taste on your palate.

For more information, please visit http:// www.taiwan.net.tw or http://www.ali-nsa.net/