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3D2N Alishan Muslim-Friendly Itinerary: Uncovering Taiwan's Stunning Mountain Area

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Faruq Senin  •  Dec 11, 2019

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Ever since my colleague, Khaliesah, visited Taiwan’s scenic mountain area of Alishan last year, it has been on my bucket list. So when I found out that it was my turn to explore Alishan this time around, I was super excited! For the uninitiated, Alishan is a mountainous region in central Taiwan known for its mountains, fragrant tea and red giant cypress trees (more on this later!). While Alishan literally means “Ali mountain”, the region is actually made up of a range of different peaks and townships. Beyond its scenic nature, I discovered that there’s so much more to Alishan than meets the eye. This 3D2N Muslim-friendly itinerary will introduce you to Alishan’s exciting activities, Instagram-worthy spots and more. During my trip, I explored the Meishan Township, the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area and Fenqihu. Note: This itinerary is most suitable for those of you looking to do a self-drive trip or with a private driver. You can still follow this itinerary if you’re travelling via public transport. Do refer to our transport tips at the end of the article! #HHWT Tip: Some of the links to the websites of various attractions in this article might be in Chinese but don't worry! When you're at the page, right-click and click on "Translate to English" and you're all set 🤗 
Day 1: Taiping Scenic Area
  • Located in Meishan Township, Taiping is one of the scenic areas surrounding the Alishan region.
  • It’s best known for its 36-bend cloud road which starts from a 100-metre elevation all the way up to 1000 metres. As you go further and further up the mountain, you’ll be greeted with enchanting views.
Go on the Taiping Suspension Bridge (30 min)
  • The main highlight of Taiping is none other than the Taiping Suspension Bridge. It’s the longest suspension bridge in Taiwan!
  • At 1000 metres above sea level, the air here was super refreshing and I enjoyed the breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains 😍
  • If the weather is clear, you can see Chiayi City (about 30km away) and even the Penghu Islands off the coast of Taiwan.
  • #HHWT Tip: If you visit during winter, you might even be lucky enough to have a magical view of a sea of clouds covering the mountains beneath.
  • The bridge is also a stunning spot for photos!
  •  While you’re on the bridge, it might sway a little but it’s really sturdy, so there’s little to worry about if you’re afraid of heights. 
  • Admission fee: NT$100 (it’s recommended to purchase the tickets online as access to the bridge is limited to 300 people at any one time) (Note: SGD1 = NT$22.41, MYR1 = NT$7.32, IDR1000 = NT$2.17)
  • Opening hours: Weekdays; 9AM-4.30PM, Weekends/PH; 9AM-5.30PM (closed on Wed)
  • Address: 5, Xiakengzai, Meishan Township, Chiayi County 603, Taiwan
  • Directions: Check out their website
Soak in the atmosphere of Taiping Old Street (30min-1h)
  • After admiring the awesome views at the bridge, it’s time to soak in the laid-back atmosphere of the Taiping Old Street nearby.
  • Here’s where you can find Insta-worthy street art, a number of cafes and old-school shops!
  • Don’t miss out on local Taiwanese specialties like tea eggs (egg boiled in tea) or get your first taste of tea from Alishan here 😊
  • I stumbled upon this cafe called Rainbow House Garden which grows their own coffee beans. That’s when I learnt that besides tea, the mountains of Alishan are good for growing coffee too!
  • Fun fact: All coffee that’s grown in Alishan are of the Arabica species.
  •  This is the coffee fruit before the bean is extracted. Guess what, you can actually eat it! The friendly cafe owners offered me the fruit and it tasted slightly sweet.   
  • The owners explained that they use a machine to extract the seeds before processing them into coffee beans. It was fascinating as it was my first time seeing the coffee fruit and learning about the process.
  • #HHWT Tip: The shops in Taiping Old Street are closed on Wednesday (similar to Taiping Suspension Bridge) so make sure you plan your itinerary properly!
Savour a yummy Muslim-friendly meal at Air Library (空氣圖書館) (1h)
  • One of the newest cafes in Taiping Old Street is Air Library and they provide Muslim-friendly meals (with advance reservations at least a week in advance).
  • I was blown away by the gorgeous interior of Air Library - the cafe used to be a space for cultivating orchids! The owner wanted to retain as much of the old space as possible so he decided to keep it minimalist and decorate the cafe with plants 😍
  • What’s interesting is that wooden bookshelves are used to separate the different dining areas (hence the name library!) which I thought was really interesting! You can find antique furniture, old porcelain ware and vintage items around the cafe too.
  •  For dinner, I had their fresh herbs and healthy herbal hotpot with mushrooms and vegetables. One of the local produce which Taiping is known for is mushrooms so you have to try it! 
  • Although the meal seemed simple and healthy, the taste definitely delivered. I always thought herbs would taste bitter but somehow, the hotpot was really tasty and comforting 😋
  • My meal was also accompanied by Taiwanese home-cooked dishes like braised mushrooms, fried taro cake and fried tofu.
  • The fried taro cake was my favourite! It was crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and had a tinge of saltiness.
  • Later I learnt that the cafe owners actually spent months ensuring that their vegetarian dishes taste good as there are many vegetarians in Taiwan (about 10% of the population).
  • Other than Muslims, the cafe also wants to be an inclusive dining spot for vegetarians, those with kids, the disabled, cyclists and more.
  • #HHWT Tip: Air Library has a room where you can do your prayers and it’s equipped with a wudhu facility and prayer mats 🤗 Just remember to bring your own prayer garments!
  • Halal status:  Vegetarian and seafood options available and can be prepared using separate utensils. The Muslim-friendly status has been verified by the International Muslim Tourism Industry Development Association (IMTIDA). Do note that pork is served in the restaurant. We recommend that you dine at your own discretion. 
  • Opening hours: 9AM-6PM (closed on Wed)
  • Address: 2, Xiakengzai, Taiping Village, Meishan Township, Chiayi County
  • Reservations (at least 1 week in advance): Call +886 5 257 2366 or through Facebook
Stay overnight at House of Ahan (阿漢的家民宿)
  • Time to rest for the night at House of Ahan, a bed & breakfast (B&B) run by a local family.
  • A B&B (called minsu in Chinese) is the most common type of accommodation in Taiwan’s countryside and it’s the best way to experience the warmth of the locals!
  • I stayed in the Superior Queen Room and the cosy interior immediately made me feel at home. The room was really spacious - there’s a balcony and sunroof too! Room rates start from NT$3500 per night.
  • House of Ahan also has a couple of family rooms which are perfect if you’re travelling with family or in a big group.
  •  What I loved about House of Ahan were the Muslim-friendly amenities - there’s a qibla direction in the room and you can request for prayer mats. The toilet is also equipped with a washlet ☺️ 
  • Address: 603, Taiwan, Chiayi County, Meishan Township
  • Contact: +886 5 250 1011 or message them on Facebook
P.S. Going off the beaten path in Taiwan? This Muslim-friendly region is where you should visit next!
Day 2: Ruifeng Scenic Area, Alishan National Forest Recreation Area
Have breakfast with a view and check out (1h)
  • The awesome part about staying at House of Ahan is that they can provide Muslim-friendly meals upon request (reservations to be made at least 1 week in advance).
  • For breakfast, I was treated to a taste of home - fried Indomie with chicken cutlet, egg and sambal 🤤
  • Not to mention that the owners were super friendly and chatted with me to find out more about Muslim travellers too.
  • While enjoying my delicious breakfast, I also had this amazing view of the mountains 😍 It was definitely a great start to my day!
Admire tea plantations at 1314 Lookout (一三一四觀景台) (30min)
  • With a heavy heart, I bade goodbye to the owners of House of Ahan and continued my adventures in Alishan.
  • My first stop - the 1314 Lookout (it’s 1314 metres above sea level), which boasts incredible 360-degree views!
  •  Being in a sea of tea plantations and having endless mountains in the backdrop was definitely a relaxing feeling 🤗 
  • Coincidentally, another meaning of 1314 is “yi san yi si” in Chinese which translates to “forever”. It’s usually used as an expression of love between couples and seeing how romantic this lookout point is, it’s definitely the perfect place to visit with your partner!
  • #HHWT Tip: The best time to visit the 1314 Lookout is during sunrise!
  • P.S. Do note that to get here, you’d have to drive up a narrow and steep road up from Ruifeng Village, so make sure you drive slowly and safely!
  • Address: 603, Taiwan, Chiayi County, Meishan Township
Try tea-picking at Ruei Ming Shiang (瑞茗祥茶體驗) (2h)
  • Alishan is known for its High Mountain Oolong tea which is one of the best teas in Taiwan.
  • Tea-picking at Ruei Ming Shiang is definitely one activity you must try while you’re here!
  • As it was my first time picking tea leaves, I was really excited 😆
  •  The first step was to dress like a tea-picker and the outfits were so colourful! I was given a hat to protect myself from the sunlight and a basket to put the tea leaves. This is definitely a photo opportunity you’d want to keep for the books! 
  • #HHWT Tip: Do wear pants which are waterproof and loose as you’d need to walk through tea plantations which might be damp. I regretted wearing jeans as it restricted my movements.
  • Before I started, the tea-picker explained to me that we were going to pick oolong tea leaves. That’s when I learnt that oolong, black tea and several other types of tea actually originate from the same plant!
  • The difference is when the leaves are picked and how they are processed. For example, to make black tea, you can pick the leaves on day 37 (of the growth of the plant) but for oolong tea, you can only pick the leaves on day 50.
  • Picking the leaves was harder than it looked as I had to pull the leaves out firmly. The leaves must also be of a certain size before you pick them. It can’t be too big or too small!
  •  Fun fact: The best time to pick tea leaves is in spring and winter as that’s when the tea leaves are most fragrant. The tea-picker also told me that tea leaves picked in summer are more bitter! 
  • During the tea-picking season, tea-pickers work almost every day - they start work at 7.30AM and end at around 3.30PM.
  • After that, I also learnt a little about the process of manufacturing tea which was really fascinating.
  • It takes 2 days to produce 60kg of tea as there are a lot of steps taken to bring out the fragrance of the tea leaves.
  • As precision and time are very important, the staff work continuously throughout the night. Any delay in the process could affect the taste of tea produced.
  • After knowing that so much effort goes into producing tea, I definitely appreciate every cup of tea I drink now 😅
Tea-tasting (45min)
  • Then, it was time for tea-tasting at a bamboo forest nearby! It was a very calm atmosphere and traditional Chinese music was played in the background as I enjoyed my tea.
  • Watching the tea master brew tea was like watching a performance. Factors like time taken to brew the leaves and the type of teapot used can change the taste of the tea.
  • Fun fact: Tea masters need to be licensed and they take half a year to master the art of tea-making!
  •  I tried oolong and a variety of oolong tea called jing syuan. The tea-tasting session for each type of tea typically takes around 20 minutes. 
  • To enjoy the tea, I had to smell it first then drink it in 3 sips.
  • The oolong tea was fragrant and light. While the jing syuan had a stronger scent, the taste was actually milder; it was also a little fruity which reminded me of longan!
Tea experience at Ruei Ming Shiang To experience tea-picking and tea-tasting at Ruei Ming Shiang, you can choose from either of these packages:
  • Tea-picking, black tea kneading, tea-tasting in bamboo forest (NT$950 for 5 hours)
  • Tea-picking, black tea kneading, tea-tasting (not in bamboo forest) (NT$600 for 3.5 hours)
  • Tea-picking and tea-tasting in bamboo forest with a tea master (NT$500 for 2 hours)
To book your session, you can reserve at least a week in advance through their Facebook page. Alternatively, you can call +886 921-550087 or message them using LINE (ID: funandya). Do note that they don’t hold sessions from mid-Apr to mid-May as it’s their busy period.
  • #HHWT Tip: When booking your session, you can also let them know that you’d like meals to be provided (at an additional cost) and they can cater a halal bento meal for you. 
  • I had grilled beef with rice and various vegetable dishes - it was super yummy and filling!
Address: 60349, Taiwan, Chiayi County, Meishan Township, No. 37 Ruifeng Village, Meishan Township, Chiayi County Contact: +886 921-550087 Directions: From Chiayi Station, take the TRA to Dalin Station and walk to Chiayi County Bus Dalin bus stop. Take bus 7315A, alight at Dipu and walk for about 25 minutes. Website | Facebook Be awed by giant cypress trees at Alishan National Forest Recreation Area (3h)
  • The Alishan National Forest Recreation Area (ANFRA) is probably the most iconic attraction in the Alishan region and definitely a must-visit!
  • Together with the Sun Moon Lake and Taroko Gorge, the Alishan Forest is one of Taiwan’s most scenic spots.
  • It’s best known for its giant red cypress trees, some of which are over 2000 years old! Besides Taiwan, the only 2 other countries where you can expect to find giant cypress trees are the US and Japan.
  •  The Giant Tree Trail is a must-do while you’re in Alishan! The age of the trees on this trail range from about 700 to more than 2000 years old. 
  • Walk all the way to the end of the trail and you’ll see the 2300-year-old Xianglin Giant Tree.
  • At a towering 43.5 metres, it was selected as the second sacred tree of Alishan after the first one was struck by lightning in the 1950s (you can see the remains of this tree at the Sacred Tree train station).
  • I was in awe at how tall and gigantic the trees were and it was definitely a marvellous sight 😍
  • One of my favourite moments about the Alishan forest was when the sun rays shone through the sea of trees, creating a magical Insta-worthy moment 😍
  • Don’t miss out on the Alishan forest railway (cost NT$100) while you’re here! It was constructed by the Japanese in 1912 for logging cypress trees but now it’s a tourist train.
  • The view of the forest while I was on the train was breathtaking. I even had the chance to experience the forest shrouded in mist and it was an enchanting experience.
  • If you have a bit more time, I recommend going to the Sister Lakes to soak in the gorgeous scenery.
  • #HHWT Tip:  You’ll need to walk a lot at the Alishan forest, so do wear a comfortable pair of shoes. As the temperature ranges from around 10-20 degrees in the day, you’ll also need to layer up when it gets cold so bring a jacket! 
Muslim-friendly amenities at Alishan National Forest Recreation Area
  • If you’re finding a place to have a meal while in Alishan, head over to Alishan House, a luxury Muslim-friendly hotel.
  • The halal-certified meal is prepared in a factory before it’s sent to the hotel and you’ll need to make reservations at least a week in advance. You can request to do your prayers here too.
  • If you’d like to stay overnight at Alishan House, you’d be happy to know that they can provide prayer mats, prayer timings and qibla direction too.
  • Address:16, Xianlin Vil., Alishan Township, Chiayi County 605, Taiwan
  • Contact: +886 5 267 9811
  • But if you’re not dining or staying a night at Alishan House and need to do your prayers, look out for Muslim-friendly toilet cubicles around the park. They are equipped with bidets so you can easily take your wudhu.
  •  The good thing about the Alishan forest is that there are secluded areas where you can perform your prayers in the midst of nature. 
Alishan National Forest Recreation Area Admission fee: NT$300 (not including Alishan railway tickets) Opening hours: 24h (Do note that trains and buses around the area might end by 4 or 5pm. Do check the timings here.) Address: 605, Taiwan, Chiayi County, Alishan Township, 2鄰17號 Directions: Check out this website Contact: +886 5 267 9917 Stay overnight at Fenqihu
  • After a fulfilling day of walking at the Alishan forest, I checked in to Yeashow Villa (雅琇山莊), a Muslim-friendly hotel in Fenqihu.
  • Fenqihu is a village located about a 50-minute drive away from the Alishan and it's a very popular tourist destination.
  • Though the rooms at Yeashow Villa are very simple, their toilets are equipped with bidets and there’s a qibla direction in the room. Room rates start from NT$1220 on Agoda.
  • Plus, if you’re travelling with family or a group of friends, you can opt for their Quad rooms.
  • Before resting for the night, I had a scrumptious dinner consisting of halal home-cooked Taiwanese dishes like stewed chicken in soy sauce, tofu, chicken soup with radish and more. It was a very comforting meal and warmed me up as it got quite cold at night!
  • #HHWT Tip: Like all the spots we’ve covered so far, you’ll need to call the hotel to reserve your halal meal at least a week in advance so they’ll have enough time to get halal ingredients. 
  • Address: 604, Taiwan, Chiayi County, Zhuqi Township, 奮起湖150號
  • Contact: +886 5 256 1336
  • Directions: To get to Fenqihu from Chiayi, take the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Bus 7329A (Alishan Route A via Fenqihu) or 7322D (Alishan Route B via Fenqihu). You can also take the Alishan Express train - check out the timetable here.
Alternative accommodation: Aliscenery
  • Another Muslim-friendly accommodation around Fenqihu is Aliscenery.
  • Located amidst tea plantations, Aliscenery is perfect if you want to be away from the tourist crowd.
Credit: Aliscenery
  • Every room here has views of tea plantations and mountains which will be a treat for your eyes.
  • Not only do they have double rooms but there are also a number of family and quadruple rooms which can fit a family of 4-6. Room rates start from NT$3622 on Agoda.
Credit: Aliscenery P.S. Looking for other areas to visit in Taiwan? Check these 5 natural wonders off your bucket list!
Day 3: Fenqihu, YuYuPas Cultural Park
Start your day with an authentic Taiwanese breakfast (30min)
  • I was excited to start my day with a Taiwanese breakfast at Yeashow Villa. I enjoyed the porridge with millet and various dishes like chicken in soy sauce, soy meat and salted egg. It was just what I needed for the day ahead!
Make Aiyu jelly at Wooden Wonderland (檜樂坊) (30min)
  • Did you know that Aiyu jelly originated in Alishan? The refreshing summer treat is actually made from the gel of seeds from a fig-like fruit which can be found in the region.
  • You might have seen it sold in bubble tea stores but over at Wooden Wonderland, you can try your hand at making Aiyu jelly!
  • It’s just a short walk away from Yeashow Villa at Fenqihu Old Street.
  •  It’s actually really easy to make - first, I had to take out all the Aiyu seeds from the fruit till there’s about a handful of seeds or just a little bit more. 
  • It’s better if you’re doing it in a group as you’ll be able to get more seeds at a faster rate!
  • Next, it was the fun part! I put the seeds in a sack and massaged them in water. This process had to be done for around 5 minutes till the water became gel-like. It felt like I was hand-washing clothes 😂
  • Then, I had to wait for 15 minutes before the jelly was ready. What happens is that the seeds actually react with minerals in the water, making it coagulate. Pretty fascinating, right?
  • Finally, it was time to taste the Aiyu jelly which was served with black sugar and lemon.
  • The Aiyu jelly was super refreshing and the texture was so soft that it immediately slid down my throat 😋 It was unlike any other Aiyu jelly I’ve tasted before!
  • Price: NT$400
  • Address: 604, Taiwan, Chiayi County, Zhuqi Township, 107號1樓
  • Opening hours: Mon-Fri; 9.30AM-4.30PM, Sat-Sun; 9AM-5PM
  • Contact: +886 911 881 598 or message them on Facebook to book your Aiyu-making session.
Shop for souvenirs and snacks at Fenqihu Old Street (30min)
  •  Time to soak in the bustling atmosphere of Fenqihu Old Street as there are several souvenir and snack shops here. 
  • From typical Taiwan-themed magnets to unique items like wooden coasters made from cypress trees (right), soaps, fans, notebooks and more, you’ll definitely find souvenirs for your loved ones 😊
  • One snack you need to try is the popular Fenqihu donut! It was really buttery, sweet and crispy, reminding me of a croissant.
  • There’s no English name for the shop selling this donut (百年檜木甜甜圈) but it’s very easy to spot the shop as there will most probably be a queue 😂
  • To get there, you’ll have to go downhill from the Fenqihu main street. Check out the location on Google Maps!
  • Halal status: No alcohol or animal derivatives used in the donut. We recommend that you consume at your own discretion.
  • Opening hours: Open daily; 8AM-5PM
  • Address: 604, Taiwan, Chiayi County, Zhuqi Township, 第4鄰奮起湖50之2號
Get your caffeine fix at Kiyota Alley (清田弄喫茶堂) (30min)
  • Located right across Fenqihu Terminal Station, Kiyota Alley is the perfect place to get your caffeine fix as they specialise in both tea and coffee!
  •  I was immediately drawn to the charming cafe because of its small size and plant decorations. 
  • The owner was very friendly too! His family grows their own tea (you can buy it here too) and due to his love for coffee, he decided to sell it too.
  • The coffee beans are sourced from different parts of the world, like Honduras and Ecuador.
  • I tried one of his specialties, the High Mountain Milk Tea - he froths the milk before pouring tea in it (like how latte is made) as he wants customers to taste the tea first before enjoying the froth later on.
  • Needless to say, this was a treat but if you have a sweet tooth, you might want to ask for a little bit of sugar.
  • The best part about the cafe is that they have an outdoor garden seating area where you can sit and enjoy your drink with a view of the mountains!
  • Opening hours: Open daily; 9AM-7PM
  • Address: 604, Taiwan, Chiayi County, Zhuqi Township, 165-2號
Immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture at YuYuPas Cultural Park (優遊吧斯 鄒族文化部落) (3h)
  •  Did you know that Taiwan has a total of 16 Aboriginal tribes? These tribes have been inhabiting the island for more than 5000 years before the Chinese arrived in Taiwan! 
  • Alishan is home to 8 of these tribes and YuYuPas Cultural Park is a park dedicated to showcasing the history and culture of the Tsou (Lalauya) tribe.
  • The park was built to help the tribe financially as 5 out of 8 of their villages suffered serious damage after Typhoon Morakot struck the area.
  • ‘YuYuPas’ actually means “rich and prosperous” in the Tsou language!
  • Meet my guide, Mo’o - he’s one of the English-speaking guides in the park!
  • He told me the legend of how the Tsou tribe originated from the Jade Mountain (Yushan), the highest mountain in Taiwan. Today, there are only about 6300 of them left.
  • They believe that they are descendants of a maple tree called lawuja and that’s why maple trees are considered sacred to them.
  • Fun fact: According to Mo’o, everyone in the Tsou tribe has Dutch ancestry due to intermarriage during the Dutch colonial rule in the 17th century! Mo’o himself is also part Chinese and Japanese (due to Japanese rule).
  • Traditionally, the Tsou tribe are known to be hunters and they used to hunt for deers and birds for survival. But today, their hunting has been restricted by authorities.
  •  It was also fascinating to learn that their costumes reflect the animals they hunt. You’ll see the men incorporating feathers into their caps while the women’s costumes are inspired by birds. 
  • The Tsou tribe also has a hierarchy system (very common among Aboriginal tribes) within the tribes. For the men, the number of eagle feathers on their cap reflects their social status.
  • If you’re visiting YuYuPas, don’t miss out on the 45-minute cultural performance! It was definitely my favourite part of the park.
  • The performance is at 11AM and 2PM every day but on Saturdays, they have a special show from 7PM-9PM.
  • It was eye-opening to see a glimpse of how they celebrate events like the harvest festival as well as other aspects of their culture including hunting.
  • What’s great about YuYuPas is that you can enjoy a Muslim-friendly meal at their Mafe Restaurant.
  • The most unique dish was chicken fried with tea tree oil and ginger (right). I always thought that tea tree oil could only be used for medicinal purposes but who knew it tastes yummy too?
  • I also got to try some bamboo shoots and other vegetables which are farmed in Alishan 🤗
  • Halal status: Halal meat and ingredients used. Utensils and kitchenware are separated from non-halal food. Do note that pork is served in the restaurant but Muslims travellers can choose to dine in a separate area. We recommend that you dine at your own discretion. 
  • #HHWT Tip: Do note that you’ll need to make a reservation for halal meals a week in advance through their Facebook page.
  • Need to do your prayers? No problem! Just let any of the staff know and they will bring you to the prayer room.
  • It’s equipped with a wudhu facility, prayer mats, garments and qibla direction - super convenient!
YuYuPas Cultural Park Opening hours: Sun-Fri; 9AM-4.30PM, Sat; 9AM-9.30PM Address: 605, Taiwan, Chiayi County, Alishan Township, 樂野村4鄰127-2號 Contact: +886 5 256 2788 Website | Facebook P.S. Before you leave Taiwan, stock up on these 9 Muslim-friendly snacks!
Muslim-friendly visitor centres in Alishan region
  • If you need help finding Muslim-friendly eateries and prayer spaces around Alishan, step into any of the visitor centres.
  • You can request to do your prayers at any of the visitor centres too!
  • You can also pick up an Alishan travel guide for Muslims, where you can get information on recommended attractions, Muslim-friendly eateries and accommodation. Digital version of the brochure here.
Getting to Alishan: Self-drive or private driver hire
  •  The best way to get to and around the Alishan region is by driving or hiring a private driver as the region is huge and the sights are spaced out from each other. Alishan is about a 3.5-hour drive from Taipei and a 2-hour drive from Kaohsiung. 
  • To rent a car, choose from one of these services: Klook, Avis, HLC. The rates for car rentals per day usually start from around NT$2200.
  • If you’re more comfortable with hiring a private driver, you can do so by using Driways and use this itinerary to plan your travels.
  • Alternatively, you can also sign up for a tour package from one of these sites: EasyGo (use Google Translate to read in English) and Klook (they have a few tour packages to Alishan).
Getting to Alishan: Public transport
  • To get to Alishan via public transport, you’d have to get to Chiayi City first before connecting to local transport to Alishan. There are several ways to get to Alishan from Chiayi.
  • From Kaohsiung or Taipei, take the high-speed rail (HSR) to Chiayi HSR Station. Then, hop on a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Bus. Choose from any of the Alishan routes depending on the sights you wish to visit.
  •  Alternatively, you can also take the Alishan Express from Chiayi Railway Station all the way to Fenqihu Station and transfer to local buses to bring you around the region. 
  • Another way to get around is by taking a Chiayi county bus from Chiayi County Bus Meishan Station. As the website is in Chinese, I recommend using Google Maps to plan your route as it’s pretty reliable.
Weather in Alishan
  • As the elevation in Alishan is around 1000-2500 metres above sea level, it can get cold at times. Temperatures can go as low as 8 degrees at night (in winter) and 20+ degrees in the day.
  • So, do remember to bring a sweater or jacket so you can layer up as and when you need!
Language and getting around
  • During my trip, I got several questions from readers who were concerned with the language barrier when travelling in Alishan.
  • While most of the locals speak very basic English, I found Google Translate to be pretty reliable when it comes to conveying a more difficult message across. Pleco Dict is also a recommended app for travellers visiting Taiwan.
  •  Of course, it’s always best to equip yourself with basic knowledge of Mandarin as it’s a great way to connect with the locals too. But don’t worry, even if you can’t speak the language, the locals are very eager to help! 
  • In terms of the Muslim-friendly meals and facilities, I strongly recommend that you plan ahead in advance and contact the relevant attractions/B&Bs as they will usually have an English-speaking staff managing their social media pages.
  • As for activities like tea-picking, tea-tasting and Aiyu jelly-making, there might be a slight language barrier but most of the instructions are pretty straightforward, so you don’t have much to worry about!
That concludes your 3D2N adventure in Alishan! Beyond the scenic mountains and tea plantations, Alishan is a treasure trove of so much more and I hope you’ll get to experience it the same way as I did 🤗 Not to mention that with plenty of Muslim-friendly amenities available, it’s super convenient for you to travel around as well. If you’ve never put Alishan on your bucket list, it’s time to do so and start planning your trip! This article is brought to you by the Alishan National Scenic Area Administration, Taiwan Tourism Bureau.