Alishan Mountain

August 20-21, 2016

I think ever since I arrived in Taiwan I have always wanted to go to Alishan Mountain. For one reason or another I have never taken the leap to go there or never taken the time to actually plan a trip there. When my roommate, Alex, said she was going with a group of people I immediately asked if I could go as well. Janet, who was planning the trip, agreed and for 1,300NT (44USD) I was able to join the tour bus.

Alex, Arie, Janet, and I all met for dinner late Saturday evening and then went to the bus station at 10:00pm. The bus left, but then at 11:00pm it stopped at a night market/rest stop. We thought it was a bit strange, but took the time to walk around the market until we were off again.

Because the bus was going through the country and into the mountains the road was very windy which created this ridiculous swaying affect. I couldn’t read my book for fear of getting car sick, so I attempted to sleep. It was very hard to sleep on the bus, so I think I maybe got two hours of sleep and I know Alex didn’t get any.

At around 2:00am we got off the bus and waited as the group leader bought our tickets for the small Alishan train. I was so thankful 7-11 was open because I was able to buy a coffee at nearly 3:00am. We took the train up the mountain and then waited for the sunrise.

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After awhile the sun started peaking out from behind the other mountain in front of us and we were able to see a clear view of the outline the mountains were making. But the farther the sun came out the more the clouds in the valley started to rise. What originally was a beautiful, clear view turned into a wall of clouds in minutes. We were very disappointed so we took some time to walk along a path for a little bit and then come back. By the time we got back the sun was out and we had an amazing morning view of the valley. Although we didn’t get to see the actual sunrise view, we still got an amazing one nonetheless.

Our time on top of Alishan was finished and our tour guide started leading us down the mountain. Alex and I thought we were just walking down to the next train station. Oh how wrong we were! We ended up walking all the way down to the base train station of Alishan. I felt so sorry for Alex because she hadn’t gotten any sleep and then had to walk for 3 hours down a mountain. While it was a beautiful walk with great views it was really hard to enjoy while completely exhausted.

We spent a little time in the small tourist town that was located by the train station and had lunch with the tour group. After even more waiting we finally got on the bus and headed towards Nantou. Janet had failed to inform us that we were making all of these extra stops which put very tired Alex and I in a state of anger. I don’t think we would have been so upset if we were not so tired. The tour bus made two stops to let the group see very large, old trees, and then one stop in Nantou at a tourist stop. There we had some very strange, yet delicious plum and coffee ice cream.

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Alex and I were so happy when we arrived back in Taichung. We rushed toward the train and decided to eat at Sushi Express. We stuffed ourselves with food and went home to collapse in our beds.

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Despite our trip being longer than planned I am so glad I went. I finally got to see Alishan and all of its’ gloriousness. Plus, now Alex and I have yet another ridiculous Taiwanese story to laugh about in the future.