Watching the sunrise over the Alishan National Scenic Area feels like being in a dream—thick white clouds cover the valley below and towering mountaintops look like tiny islands in an endless ocean. It’s worth visiting during the day too, with treetop boardwalks, forests, and temples making for incredible photos.
A visit to the Alishan National Scenic Area is one of the main attractions of central Taiwan and a popular day trip destination from Chiayi or Taichung. Multi-day tours from Taipei often combine a tour of Alishan with regional sights, such as Sun Moon Lake and Puli.
To make the most of your visit, start early and ride the historic Alishan Forest Railway to Chushan to watch the sunrise. Additional highlights include a hike through the forests to the Sister Ponds and the Sacred Tree, the Giant Tree Plank Trail boardwalk, and the Shoujhen Temple, the area’s largest temple.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is an admission fee to enter the Alishan National Scenic Area.
- Pack comfortable shoes, warm clothing (it can be chilly up in the mountains even in summer), mosquito repellent, and a raincoat.
- Tickets for the Alishan Forest Train must be booked in advance and can sell out weeks in advance during peak season (July–August).
- Many viewing areas are wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
The Alishan National Scenic Area is in Chiayi County in central Taiwan. Take a high-speed rail train from Taipei to Chiayi. Then, take a bus, taxi, or the famous Alishan Forest Railway (one departure daily) to Fenqihu, where direct buses run to Alishan. From Alishan Train Station, various routes of the Alishan Forest Railway run into the park, including the sunrise train to Chushan (book your tickets the day before (times are announced daily).
When to Get There
It’s possible to visit the Alishan National Scenic Area year-round. Summer (July–August) is the busiest season, when it’s worth booking train tickets, tours, and accommodation well in advance. Autumn (September–November) is a particularly enchanting time to visit, when the multihued trees fill the landscapes with color.
Alishan’s misty high-altitude mountains provide the perfect terrain for growing Oolong tea, and the region is home to numerous tea plantations. The tea, which is irrigated using pure mountain spring water and harvested by hand, is renowned for its sweet, floral flavor and being rich in antioxidants. Alishan Tea is sold worldwide, and many teahouses and restaurants in the Alishan area can offer you a freshly brewed cup to sample.