Alishan Mountains

We cheaped out and saved on hostel expenses by taking the overnight train from Taipei to Chisyi City in the more rural south and attempting to get some shut-eye whilst on the move. The train was less than comfortable. We booked late and the only available tickets were standing, but I bagged a seat later on. We arrived in Chisyi at 4:00AM and stumbled, sleep-deprived, into a couple of all-night old school arcades, complete with a basket ball game and veteran style Guitar Heroes. Then at 6, we managed to snipe a good deal with a taxi driver to take us to the Alishan Forest Recreation Area, arriving 2 hours later as opposed to a more expensive 3 hour bus ride. Normally we would have caught the train but a recent typhoon damaged the tracks and it wasn’t running. The views on the taxi ride were stunning as we ascended into the mountains. For the most part however I was asleep (very little sleep was achieved on the train), with the exception of the first hour that we had to sustain conversation with a local chap who shared the lift with us. After being dropped off sleepy-eyed at the entrance to the National Park at around 8, we booked a room at the cheapest lodge we could find and grabbed some much needed breakfast and caffeine before heading off on one of the walking trails. Ended up hiking to 2,663 meters and encountered torrential rainfall on the descent without a coat. Would like to say the views were stunning but the mist was so thick you could barely see over the mountainside. Finally, we opted for an early-night cap to catch up on missed sleep and prepare for a 5:00am sunrise tour the following morning.

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