Taiwan Guides: Alishan + Fengqihu (One-Day Itinerary)

Alishan is a mountainous region in Taiwan which is famous for its forests, tea and trails.

Alishan
No, it’s not fake turf

If you only had one day to spend here without staying overnight (because the hotels here are more expensive), here is how you can do it.

How to get to Alishan

Firstly, if you’re travelling from another part of Taiwan, try to reach Chiayi TRA station by 830am.

Or you can stay overnight in Chiayi; there are many hotels near the TRA station.

There are more public bus timings from Chiayi TRA station compared to Chiayi HSR (High Speed Rail) station. They are both in different parts of Chiayi and not that close to each other.

You have 4 options to get to Alishan:

1. Alishan Forest Railway

Buy tickets 15 days in advance at NT384 each for express train.

Alishan Forest Railway train
Railway fares (Source: Alishan Forest Railway)

It takes 2 hours and 20 minutes to reach Fengqihu.

There are very limited timings for trains going uphill to Fengqihu and down back to Chiayi.

Alishan Forest Railway timetable
Railway timetable (Source: Alishan Forest Railway)

There is no connecting train from Fengqihu to Alishan Railway Station, so you’ll have to take a public bus 7322, taxi or minivan (if any) to Alishan.

2. Taxi

Costs anything from NT2000 per way from Chiayi, takes about 2 hours to reach.

3. Public bus 7322

Take 7322 from the bus stop outside TRA station.

Costs NT221 per person per way, takes 2.5 hours and stops here, about 450m from Alishan Railway Station.

Travelking has also consolidated bus timings below, but note that timings may not be updated. You can download the bus timings here.

Chiayi alishan
Chiayi to Alishan bus timings (Source: Travelking)

From the table above, you can see that the bus frequency from Chiayi HSR station is much less compared to Chiayi TRA station.

4. Minivan

Costs NT250 per person per way up and down the mountain, takes 2 hours.

You can find minivan drivers touting at the gantries of the Chiayi TRA station.

They will take you up to the Alishan parking lot, a short walk from Alishan Railway Station.

On the way down from Alishan, you can ask the driver to drop you off at Fengqihu for about 45-60 mins, then you can board the same minivan back to Chiayi TRA station. So in total you pay NT500/person.

Alishan
Minivan namecard

We chose the minivan because we could squeeze in a short trip to Fengqihu.

If your minivan leaves Chiayi TRA Station by 9am, you should reach Alishan by 11am, with 3 hours to walk around until 2pm.

The minivan will then take you to Fengqihu at 3pm where you can walk around until 345-4pm, then get back to Chiayi TRA Station by 530pm. Timing is slightly flexible.

Minivan drivers don’t like to leave Alishan too late as there may be rains in the afternoon and the road can get congested by buses going down the mountain.

What to do in Alishan

Take the old train from Alishan Railway Station up to Zhaoping Station.

Alishan
Alishan Railway Station

It costs about NT100 for a one way ticket.

Alishan
Timetable (Source: Alishan Railway Station)
Alishan
Zhaoping station

Walk towards Sacred Tree Station direction, then back towards Alishan Railway Station.

Alishan
Alishan train and walking distances and durations

You can see the following attractions along the way; and there are more hidden gems you can also discover:

Three Brothers

Four Sisters

Alishan
Four Sisters

Heart-shaped trees

Boardwalk and lake

Alishan
Lake and hut

Shouzhen temple

Alishan
Shouzhen Temple

Romantic bridge for photos

Alishan
Bridge near Shouzhen Temple

Elephant trunk tree

Three-generation trees

Alishan
3 generation trees

Thousand year-old cypress

Sianglin sacred tree

Beautiful flowers (you can also plan to come here during Cherry Blossom season)

Alishan
Flowers

Cats

Alishan
Cats

My favourite part is when the forest is quiet and it’s just you, the trees and the path ahead.

Alishan
Forest trail

Occasionally you will come across groups of noisy tourists, just wait for them to pass or take another route.

If you stick to the main attractions and don’t wander off the main tracks to explore other trails, and you keep track of time, it is possible to walk back to Alishan Railway Station by 130pm.

Alishan
Boardwalk

For travellers on a budget, you can check out 娜若瑪菲 美食街 food court where you can get NT60 noodles and this yummy milk dessert with taro and pumpkin balls, two types of jelly and tapioca pearls for NT60.

Alishan
Pork noodles lunch
Alishan
Dessert

Take along an umbrella in case it rains, like it did when we were there.

What to do in Fengqihu

Fengqihu is famous for its old narrow streets that reminds us of Jiufen.

Alishan Fengqihu
Fruit Stall in Fengqihu

You can buy souvenirs and specialty products. Check out the railway museum which has old trains and a roomful of photos of railways in other countries.

Fengqihu
Fengqihu railway museum

There are a few cafés here to relax at, but if you’re only here for 45-60 mins, it is enough to walk around the main roads before going back to your minivan.

The roads can be quite steep at certain areas so take care if you’re with kids or elderly.

There are also a few trails you can explore if you’re spending more time here in Fengqihu, see the trail maps below.

Alishan Fengqihu
Fengqihu trails
Alishan Fengqihu
Fengqihu map

Other Alishan trails and scenic areas

If you plan to spend more than a day here, these are some activities you can do:

Sunrise watching at Chushan

Er Wan Ping Scenic Area

大塔山觀景台

特富野古道

鹿林神木

Check out my other Taiwan itineraries

– Taiwan winter series: North, West, South coast

– Taiwan summer series: North, East coast

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This article includes Google map links which you can star as favourites and track your location via GPS. 

You can buy simcards or rent WiFi routers with data at Taoyuan airport so you can access the internet in Taiwan. 

Check out the price plans for SIM cards and WiFi routers on Go!Taiwan website.

Go!Taiwan

Try to get your own Easycard (you can buy at MRT stations) which you can easily use for MRT/metro trips and bus services.

Have a blast in Alishan!


Also published on Medium.