Home » Alishan Trip, All, Taiwan

Alishan 001 – Snap Decision to Go to Alishan

Submitted by on July 2, 2010 – 2:05 pm
Bamboo at Alishan

Friday July 2, 2010 7:00

Snap decision to go to Alishan. It’s seven in the morning, and the train has just left from the platform. I’ve had so much experience taking these trains and it is so easy that I’m taking it almost too casually. I stroll out of Rooftop in Taipei fifteen minutes before my train is scheduled to leave. I hop on the MRT at Zhongshan Station, go one stop, stroll up two escalators, and, with a glance at the monitor to see which platform to go to, I’m there waiting for my 7:00 train at 6:55. The train pulls up and off we go.

I’m also super casual about packing. I might end up paying for it on this trip though. I have a feeling that I’ve left a bunch of important things behind. We’ll see. One thing I left behind on purpose is my film camera. I’ll probably regret it, but I don’t care. I just wasn’t in the mood to lug the thing around and then have to deal with processing slides and scanning slides. All I brought is my little digital point and shoot. The pictures I get from it aren’t as nice, but that’s okay.

I made the decision to go on this weekend trip very casually as well. I was just monitoring the weather, and for a brief moment it looked like it wasn’t going to rain all weekend. I’m not saying that the weather report was great. It wasn’t even good. It just wasn’t terrible. In Taiwan, your perception of what makes good weather changes a lot. A good weather forecast is one that is not actually terrible.

I didn’t want to go to just anyplace just for the sake of going someplace. I wanted to go somewhere special, a place in Taiwan that you’re supposed to see before you leave. I also wanted to go someplace new. I could go back to Hualien and Taroko Gorge or someplace like that. One could go back to Taroko Gorge many times and enjoy it each time and see new things each time. I wanted to go someplace new – to a place that, if I didn’t see it, I would regret it.

There aren’t too many places like that left. There are a thousand places that it would be interesting to see, but only two or three that are on my list as places I have to see before I leave. One of them is the Kenting area. This is the southernmost tip of Taiwan and is Taiwan’s beach place. I’m not that interested in the beaches, but the scenery around there is supposed to be beautiful and dramatic. I could spend several days there. I’d also like to go to Green Island and Penghu Island. A return trip to Tainan would be nice, too. And finally, I’ve always wanted to go to Alishan.

When people here think of Alishan they think of two things – the narrow-guage railway and going to see the sunrise. I believe the railway was built by the Japanese and was used to haul out Cedar trees. Now it is run strictly as a tourist train. According to Lonely Planet, it is one of three narrow-guage steep-grade alpine trains in the world. The train takes 3 hours to climb 2,200 meters and goes through 49 tunnels and over 77 bridges. My plan is to rent a scooter in Chiayi and travel around that way, so I have no need for the train.

As for the sunrise, I’ve never been that excited about sunrises. I’ve seen a number of them on various trips I’ve gone on, but I don’t go out of my way to see them. I certainly don’t make a habit of getting up at 4:30 in the morning to climb to the top of a mountain to see a sunrise. Chances are that after all that effort there won’t even be a sunrise anyway. It will probably be cloudy and the sky will just lighten.

I’ve done a tiny bit of reading on the Alishan area, but little of the information has sunk in. I don’t have a mental image of the area. My idea is simply to drive around the mountains on a scooter and see what there is to see. I’ll find a nice town to stay in and then explore the town and go from there.

3:20 p.m. Fenqihu


The train ride to Chiayi was a real pleasure. I can’t get enough of riding the trains in Taiwan. It is so easy to do, and, other than the very conspicuous absence of coffee, it’s a pleasure from beginning to end. My seat was a window seat and for 3.5 hours my world consisted solely of sitting back and watching the world go by. The west coast train ride doesn’t have the scenic attractions of the east coast train ride, but there is always something of interest going on out there beyond the window. I don’t think I could explain 99% of what I see out there, but it all has a familiar air to it by now. I say that I couldn’t explain any of it in that I don’t know what the buildings are or how the bits of land go with the buildings.

One interesting thing is how there are so many cultivated fields mixed in with the urban areas. You don’t see that in Canada where farms and cities are quite separate. Farms are too big to be inside cities in any way. Here, everything is jumbled together, and oddly shaped rice fields are in between all the buildings. At least this is true out where the train tracks go. Inside the cities themselves, of course, there are no rice fields. This is all taking place between cities and out in the suburb areas. In all my travels in Taiwan, I’ve never seen farms and fields that I would consider large enough to feed the thirty million people that live here. Perhaps the huge size of the farms in Canada have given me a skewed perspective on how much land is needed to feed any given population. In any event, I don’t see enough fields growing enough things to account for all the food that is in the stores and markets. I’ve been drinking milk ever since I came to Taiwan, and I think I’ve seen three cows in the whole country – and that was on a recreation farm. Where are all the cows and pigs and chickens? Where is all the rice? Where does all the food come from? Fish, I understand. I’ve seen the fishing villages and the fish markets there, so I understand where the fish comes from. The rest is a mystery.

I’ve rarely talked to anyone on the trains here. Most people that have ever sat beside me don’t speak English at all. In fact, I rarely end up talking to any Taiwanese at all on my little weekend adventures. That has mostly to do with my lack of Chinese, but it also has to do with the mood of the place. People are very self-contained for the most part and don’t need to talk to the odd foreigner that passes by. And we foreigners are completely insignificant as a source of tourism revenue. The Taiwanese themselves head out in their tens of thousands every weekend and fill all the tour buses, mountain trails, and hot spring hotels. The occasional foreign tourist like me is just a speck in a dust storm.

This lack of foreign tourists is another quirk to traveling around Taiwan. When you travel around other countries in Asia, you can count on meeting people like yourself – tourists and longer-term travelers from the west. You naturally run into them and strike up conversations and do things together. It is one of the great pleasures of the backpacker trail. Traveling on your own in Taiwan is not like that at all. Unless you make a strong effort to meet people, if you start out traveling on your own, you will likely stay that way. The chance of meeting someone else traveling alone is very small to none.

This lack of foreign tourism is both an advantage and a disadvantage. It’s a disadvantage in that the country often feels at a remove. It has its own rhythm and style, and this style is very unfamiliar and often uncomfortable for a westerner. There are few open and friendly and understandable restaurants and cafes. I rarely, if ever, pass a place and get hit with the feeling of, “Oh, what a great little place. I think I’ll pull in there and have something to eat or drink.” Most of the time, I have no idea what a particular restaurant serves. They don’t fall into categories that I understand – a breakfast place, a lunch place, a dinner place, a coffee shop, etc. In any event, they usually look closed. I see signs and tables and chairs, but there are never any people inside eating or drinking. I’ve had the experience many times of driving up to what I think is a restaurant and then having the people running the place just stare at me wondering what I’m doing there. My guess is that they open only at certain times or they open only for large tour buses that have arranged a meal in advance. But I’m only guessing.

Hotels have a similar air about them. Most of the time, finding a place to stay is problematic. There either are few hotels, or I’m just looking in the wrong place. Again, there is a rhythm and a style that I can’t quite get my head around.

These are disadvantages, but there are also advantages to the lack of a tourism infrastructure for foreigners. No matter what I do here or where I go, I always feel like I am having a genuine and real experience. One can spend two years traveling through Thailand and Laos and Vietnam and Cambodia and spend the entire time in the backpacker community staying at cheap hotels built for backpackers, eating in restaurants built for backpackers, taking buses filled with backpackers, and experiencing the country with other backpackers. It’s actually a lot of fun, and, for me, time spent with other backpackers can be one of the most enjoyable parts of a trip. However, the countries themselves can end up feeling like backdrops and movie sets. In Taiwan, you don’t get that experience because you feel like you are the only person out there traveling around. All the other tourists are Taiwanese tour groups, Taiwanese families, Taiwanese students, and Taiwanese couples. It’s an odd feeling. I’m smack in the middle of the tourist trail out here in the Alishan area, and yet I still feel like I am somewhere very foreign, because it is Taiwanese tourism.

My train arrived at the Chaiyi train station at 10:25. I’d travelled three quarters of the way down the length of the whole country, but I did it in an easy 3.5 hours. The Chiayi train station was similar to all the train stations I’ve seen in Taiwan – big and airy, a bit dirty and broken-down, but very convenient. There were stinky, big bathrooms right there. There was a 7-11 where I got my morning cappuccino. A dozen taxi drivers were waiting right outside the station and asked me if I needed a taxi. I didn’t need a taxi, as the train station is right downtown. I love that. All I had to do was walk the short distance to the street and I was right in the middle of Chiayi.

Right across the street was what I was looking for – a scooter rental shop. There were two or three of them in fact, and they each had young guys outside them trying to get customers to come to their shop. I always have mixed feelings about that. If a guy comes running up to me to get me to go into his shop, my instinct is to resist and go somewhere else. I don’t want to be hassled or hustled. However, why is this being hustled? The guy actually wants my business and he wants it badly enough to come right out onto the street and talk to me. Why should I ignore him and go to some shop where the guy is sitting behind his desk and ignoring customers?

With that thought going through my mind, I agreed to go with this young guy. He spoke only a word or two of English, but those words were all he needed. He knew the word motorcycle (which is what they call scooters here), and he knew numbers from one to ten. With those words, he could rent me a motorcycle and understand how many days I wanted it for. Beyond that, we used sign language, and inside of five minutes, I had a nice 125cc scooter and a helmet for four days at NT$300/day (less than $10 US). He didn’t ask for a driver’s license, just ID, but was more than happy to take my driver’s license when I presented it. The system was actually pretty efficient. They had a pre-made form on the photocopier with two square holes cut out of it – one for an ID card (my ARC), and one for a driver’s license. He simply stuck my two cards into the empty holes and hit the copy button. This gave him a complete rental form with my ID nicely inserted in it.

Not surprisingly, my cell phone was more important than my driver’s license. It is becoming increasingly common around the world for even small businesses to depend on cell phones. In this case, I had to write my name and phone number on the form. He got out his cell phone and dialed the number that I had written down to check that it was genuine. I was supposed to show him my cell phone when it started ringing to confirm that that phone number was real and that I had the phone with me. Without that, I don’t know that he would have rented me the scooter. And by dialing my number, we now had each other’s phone numbers in our phone’s memory in case we need them later. A final thumbprint in red ink over both my signatures, and we were done. I picked out a helmet from his shelf, put on my backpack, and drove away. Nothing could have been simpler, easier, or more pleasurable. It’s so much fun to just arrive at a train station, walk out the gates, rent a scooter, and then drive away.

In the train station, by the way, there was a very nice tourist information office. Considering how few of us foreigners there seem to be traveling around Taiwan, they have certainly bent over backwards to make it easy for us. I’m thinking about all the signs that are in English and the tourist brochures and maps that are in English.

Alishan is one of the biggest tourist destinations in Taiwan, so there are lots of maps and brochures available. On the right side of the desk was a display of maps and brochures in Chinese, and on the left side was a display of maps in English. One of the women at the desk spoke English, and she got out a pen and wrote directions on my map to show me exactly how to get from the train station to the highway – Highway 18 – that leads up to Alishan. I didn’t have plans to go that way (I planned on taking the smaller Highway 159), but it was a nice touch and I appreciated it very much.

I was also very surprised and pleased to see that the gas tank on my scooter was full. The arrow was pointing at a big friendly F – or so I thought. I’m so dumb that I actually misread my gas gauge. I thought the arrow was pointing at the letter F when in fact it was pointing at E. The really funny part of that is that I was so pleased and surprised to have a full gas tank that I thought about it over and over and kept looking at the gas gauge. I’ve only rented a scooter twice before in Taiwan, and both times the tank was empty. I understood that that was the system in Taiwan. So I was pleased at this shop’s initiative in renting scooters with full tanks. It was great customer service.

Anyway, I drove out of Chiayi and quite a ways into the mountains. At one point, I glanced at the gas gauge, and I was surprised to see that the arrow was now indicating that I had MORE gas than when I started. At first, I imagined that was because I was going uphill and when I leveled off, the arrow would then point differently. However, it didn’t really change. And this puzzled me. How could I have driven all that distance and ended up with MORE gas than at the beginning?

Obviously, I couldn’t. And with a big laugh, I realized my mistake. The arrow had been pointing at E this whole time. And now the arrow had moved beyond the E and into the deep red. I didn’t have more gas. I had less gas, and I was about to run out.

I had a decision to make now, and it was an important one. I could either keep going ahead, with the hope that there was a gas station in the mountains somewhere. At least then I wouldn’t have to backtrack. Or I could turn around and go back toward Chiayi. I didn’t remember seeing a gas station, but there was a better chance of there being one down there than in the mountains on Highway 159. Either way, I really thought I was screwed. The arrow was as far to the right past the E as it could get. I clearly had almost no gas at all. The only thing in my favor was that I had been driving up into the mountains for quite a while. If I turned around and went back to Chiayi, I could turn off the engine and coast for most of the way down. And that’s what I did.

As I coasted down the mountain, I started thinking about gas. This is another of Taiwan’s quirks. A large percentage of the population uses scooters as their main form of transportation, and scooters have very small gas tanks. People have to fill their tanks very often. You’d think that this reality would create a certain market pressure so that tiny gas stations would pop up all over the place. Failing that, you’d think that some enterprising entrepreneur would sell gas by the liter at roadside stands.

Yet, this is not the case. I think it points to something significant about Taiwan. I recently went to the Philippines on a holiday, and I rented a motorcycle while I was there. The Philippines is similar to Taiwan in that lots of people use scooters, motorbikes, and taxi-tricycles as their main form of transportation. Naturally, there were little roadside stands everywhere selling gas in 1-liter bottles. It just makes sense. I saw the same thing in Cambodia when I was there. The economies in the Philippines and Cambodia can’t support a full-service gas station on every corner like you see in Canada or the United States where the car is king. But people need gas, so people stepped in and started selling gas at the side of the road.

This hasn’t happened in Taiwan, and I’ve often thought about it. On my trips by scooter into the countryside, I’m always thinking about gas. I always fill the tank all the way to the top just before I leave Taipei. Then I calculate how far I can go on that tank of gas and try to anticipate where a gas station might be. Then as I drive, I’m always scanning for gas stations. When I see one (rarely), I make a mental note of where it is. And I’ll often go in and top up the tank. I might only need twenty or thirty NT$ worth of gas, but I’ll top up anyway, because I never know where the next gas station might be. I assume that the Taiwanese are in the same boat. Yet, no one has jumped in to fill this market need. Why?

The answer, I believe, is that Taiwan is somewhere in the middle between a country like the Philippines and one like the United States. The economy in Taiwan is much more advanced and much richer than that in the Philippines. It so much richer that no one could survive on the income they would get from selling 1-liter bottles of gas at the side of the road. And perhaps it is just advanced enough that safety regulations wouldn’t allow it. In the Philippines, anything goes, and there is no problem for someone to fill up Coca-Cola bottles with gas and sell them outside their house. This would obviously be illegal in Canada. You’d have ten thousand police and other regulators howling about safety and insurance concerns and taxation concerns. And no one needs to do it in Canada anyway, because everyone drives cars, which have big gas tanks and don’t need to be gassed up every 150 kilometers. Even so, there are gas stations everywhere.

Taiwan is somewhere in the middle. It’s just rich enough and developed enough that there isn’t that population of poor people that would see an economic advantage in sellng gas at the side of the road. It’s also just developed enough that there is some regulation and police enforcement, so anyone trying to sell gas like that would probably be busted. Yet, it’s poor enough that scooters are still a main form of transportation, even for families, and there aren’t gas stations everywhere. So you have the situation where there are entire towns all over the place with no access to gas at all. I’m in one of them now, and I wonder where people get their gas from. Do they have to drive all the way to Chiayi to get gas? That makes no sense at all. So there has to be a black market for gas of some kind. But where is it? I’ve never seen gas for sale anywhere but at these few huge full-service stations.

As I was driving down out of the mountains looking for a gas station, I glanced around at all the little shops looking for some hint that there was a black market operation in gas somewhere, but I never saw anything. I stopped at a couple of scooter repair shops, and they also didn’t sell gas. However, they did point me in the right direction, and at one big intersection, I looked left, as they told me to do, and I saw a large gas station. I was saved.

Once I had a full tank (for NT$160), I sped off back into the mountains. When I first saw the mountain range as I was leaving Chiayi, it took me by surprise. The size of it always does. I forget just how big the mountains are here and how high. At the last minute, I did throw a light jacket into my backpack, but I started thinking that I should have packed better. The last time I drove through the high mountains, I had to stop and buy gloves. It was so cold that my hands froze on the handlebars.

The road climbed and climbed and twisted and turned. It was all great fun, and I stopped from time to time to admire the view and take a picture. The road got quite narrow in places and there was evidence that typhoon Marakot had done a lot of damage up here as well. Most of the road had been repaired, but there were a dozen or more construction sites still operational where they were repairing the road. There was a real concern for falling rocks, and I kept my eyes on the road. The danger of being hit by a falling rock was there, but that was not likely. More likely was hitting a rock that was already on the road, and I made sure not to get too distracted by the scenery.

I had several maps with me, and they all had different names for all the towns. They even had different roads. Some had roads that weren’t marked on others. And at times, I came across roads and towns that weren’t on any of my maps. I just had to make my way along as best I could.

Eventually, I got to where I needed to be and I joined up with the main road to Alishan. I realized as soon as I saw that road that I had made a good decision to take the back road – the smaller the road and the smaller the town, the better. The main road was quite large and went through more developed towns. It wouldn’t have been as interesting.

The town I ended up in was called Fenqihu. Exact pronunciation is still something of a mystery. Fenqihu had a certain charm, but it took a while for that charm to make itself felt. I knew that it was a stop on the Chiayi-Alishan railway about halfway between them. I also knew that it had an old street, which, like Jioufen’s, had developed to sell local arts and crafts, souvenirs, and local foods. Beyond that, it was a mystery, and I parked my scooter near the railroad tracks and started to look around.

I had my usual trouble finding a place to stay. I knew there were at least four hotels in Fenqihu, but I couldn’t find them. I suppose at some point I should learn the Chinese character for “hotel.” I just always assume that a hotel will look like a hotel, but it rarely does. One hotel did look like a hotel and that is where I ended up staying. It was called the Fancylake Hotel and was the best hotel in town. When I walked into the lobby, I knew it wasn’t my kind place. It was too fancy and too modern. However, I asked at the front desk about rooms and prices, and they cut me a deal and gave me a room for one for NT$1,200. The regular rate appeared to be NT$2,800, assuming double occupancy. I took the room and moved in.

After I moved in, I walked around Fenqihu, and the charm of the town started to make itself felt. It’s an odd mix of elements, as many towns in Taiwan are. The setting is very nice. It sits right in the bowl formed by three mountains – one at the back and two down each side like arms enclosing it. The history of the town states that the original settler thought the placement of these three mountains made it perfect in terms of shelter from the elements. There was also abundant water in nearby streams.

The town’s history is also tightly bound up with the Japanese occupation of Taiwan and the logging railway. Fenqihu is exactly halfway between Chiayi and Alishan, and the train would stop there to refuel and take on water. The people got used to looking for lunch in Fenqihu and the “famous” Fenqihu lunch box was born. (I put famous in scare quotes because, of course, many railway towns in Taiwan are famous for their lunchbox.)

When the railway was converted over to a tourist operation, Fenqihu reinvented itself as a tourist town. An old street was dutifully installed with local delicacies and souvenirs for sale. Trails were built in the surrounding hillsides and through the town itself. It’s very cool up here, so it became a popular spot to visit and soak up a bit of history and a bit of cool weather. Three of the old locomotives are on display in a big warehouse-type building right beside the train station. Two of them are of a type that I’ve never seen before. The wheels are turned by a screw and cog assembly like you would find inside watches. The walls of this warehouse are covered in photographs of the logging operation. It was an interesting display and it made me more interested in seeing the giant cedar trees at Alishan.

The trails in and around Fenqihu are very developed. It’s almost difficult to apply the word trail to them. They’re even much more than paths or walkways. They are literally boardwalks that have been built over mountains. I can’t imagine the amount of money and effort that went into building them. I had the same feeling when I saw the trails at Bitou Cape and around Jinguashi. The Taiwanese nature of the town comes through when you consider the buildings of the town. Anywhere in Europe, the buildings would have matched the trails and the setting in tone. The whole place would be charming and quaint and picture-perfect. Here, you get an interesting contrast between the perfect trails and the broken-down quality of the buildings. There is the usual junk and debris everywhere and if you cropped a photograph to show just certain areas, you could probably convince someone they were looking at pictures of a big city slum, not a famous mountain retreat.

On my walk, I stumbled across the Catholic church and the hostel there. I was lucky in that the Catholic dog – a big roly-poly thing – was chasing (well, ambling after) another dog up the street and the Swiss sister that runs the hostel was chasing after it. I spoke to her and found out that there were rooms available. I was so impressed with the open park style of the compound and the sister’s friendliness that I asked if I could reserve a room for the next two nights. I didn’t even need to see a room. The dorm beds cost NT$250 and single rooms cost NT$500. I’d read that this place is very popular on the weekend, but I was early enough that rooms were still available. To be honest, the NT$1,200 a night that I was paying at the Fancylake Hotel was a great deal for what I got. If you have the money, it’s actually a better deal than the hostel. For the extra NT$700 you get a big stack of white fluffy towels, your own bathroom with a big wooden tub, a big bed with a soft mattress, a bag of cedar chips to put in the closet, complimentary tea and hot water in the room, a big fan on the ceiling, a TV, a free breakfast, free tours of the area, and the convenience of being right in the middle of the town where all the action is.

I would likely have stayed at the Fancylake at least another night except that, nice as the room was, it was extremely hot and never cooled down. Even with the window open, the cool night air simply wouldn’t come in and it stayed hot and stuffy the entire time. The view from the window was of the walls of other buildings, and I happened to be right over the kitchen and the noise coming from there was deafening at times. Finally, the free breakfast was that odd Taiwanese breakfast which I still can’t figure out. I looked forward to having a cup of coffee at a table and planning my day and then having breakfast. However, there was no coffee or tea. The tables were low tree trunks and there were no chairs. Instead you sat on little chunks of wood. It looks quaint, but for those of us who like backrests, it wasn’t very comfortable. And the food that was laid out wasn’t very appealing. I didn’t really see any food. There were some boiled eggs cut in half, some peanuts, a strange furry brown substance I’ve never understood, and then a leafy green vegetable. I considered trying to eat this stuff to be polite, but I knew it wouldn’t do me much good as fuel for a day of hiking, so I went to a local convenience store and got a lunchbox instead. I need my rice in the morning, or I’m not going to make it to lunch.

The hostel at the Catholic church by comparison comes out on top in almost every department. The view from my window is of some lovely forested areas plus mountains in the distance. The bed is a single bed with a typical hard Taiwanese mattress, but I slept just fine. I don’t have my own bathroom, but there is a sink and tap in the room so I can shave and brush my teeth in the room. I only have to use the communal bathroom for the toilet and to shower. You don’t get the individually wrapped packages of shampoo and soap, but they have soap and shampoo dispensers in the bathroom and the shower. It’s more convenient, and you don’t end up throwing away all the packaging. The room is smaller and less ornate and less furnished. However, it has exactly what I need. The fancier hotels often give you things you don’t need (like the TV), and they miss the point when it comes to other things. The room at the Fancylake had a desk but a stool instead of a chair. I can’t sit on a stool very long. My back starts to hurt. My room at the hostel had a nice student’s desk with a simple chair and a nice desk lamp. It also came with lots of hooks and shelving for your luggage. I’m a big fan of hooks. I don’t think you can have too many hooks in your life. The room didn’t have a fan or air conditioning, but it stayed warm during the night and cool during the day without getting stuffy. It was quiet. All I could hear were birds in the trees. Finally, there was a hot water dispenser in the kitchen area with complimentary coffee.

I should mention the firefly tour at the Fancylake. I walked through the lobby at one point and a young woman spoke to me in English and asked if I wanted to join the firefly tour. Without that invitation in English, I probably wouldn’t have gone. After all, it’s not like I haven’t seen fireflies before. However, it seemed pretty casual, so I said yes and I showed up at seven for the tour.

About eight people went on the tour, and we simply walked to the train station and then down the tracks. A local dog – a fat and friendly and stinky beast – joined us, and it became clear that this dog tagged along every night. I chatted with the tour guide a little bit and found out that she was from Tainan. She’d been working at the Fancylake for two years. She also told me something that I wasn’t aware of – that the tourist train wasn’t operational, hadn’t in fact been running since typhoon Marakot ten months earlier. This was the same typhoon that had destroyed the southern cross-island highway. Mud and rock slides had destroyed much of the railroad tracks and they hadn’t been repaired yet.

For a while, I thought the firefly tour would be a bust. We stood around for quite while without seeing any. The guide didn’t seem worried, however, and as if on cue, they started to appear. I wasn’t terribly excited about it all of course. I was more annoyed by the mosquitoes savaging my legs than excited about the dozen fireflies flickering amongst the trees. My companions, on the other hand, were overjoyed. They reacted with excitement that seemed far out of proportion to the event. I suppose it makes more sense when you consider that they had never seen fireflies before. This was the first time for all of them, and fireflies really are kind of cool.[slickr-flickr tag=”Alishan Trip Blog 1″ sort=”date” items=”50″ type=”galleria” orientation=”portrait” align=”center”]

Rock-Climbing Cliffs at Longdongwan
Alishan 002 - The Giant Trees


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