Sunday, April 08, 2012

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The Alishan Sunrise

4/08/2012 Taiwan Explorer
The Alishan Sunrise (阿里山日出) is one of the must-see things in Taiwan, if you ever come to visit this beautiful island. I'm personally a sucker for sunrises and sunsets, so it wasn't too hard to convince me to wake up very early and take a long train ride to see it. Today I want to share some photos with you about this natural wonder in hope, that it would serve as a reference to your own trip.

Click on map to enlarge.

If you want to see the Alishan sunrise, you have to wake up the latest at 4 am. The hotels in Alishan village usually offer a call service, so that you don't oversleep. The first train departing from Alishan Station 阿里山火車站 to Chushan Station 祝山車站, where the sunrise viewing platform is located, departs at 4.10. The second one is at 4.30, but the one we took, departed at 5.00. It was an additional train added because the cherry blossom season attracts more visitors than usually. Train departures can also be adjusted due to the season. Our train was actually departing around 5.10, because some people were coming late. Unfortunately, there were a lot of people standing in line before us, so we didn't get seats. We had to stand inside the small train for about 30 minutes. At 5.40 the train stopped at the terminal station and everybody rushed up to the sunrise viewing platform. The sunrise was scheduled for 6.10 that day, so we still had to wait for another 30 minutes, together with something over a hundred fellow sunrise enthusiasts. The ticket from Alishan Station to Chushan cost 100 NTD per person (2.5 Eur) and you have to buy another one, when you return, there is a round ticket for 150 NTD available as well.

Let my photos explain the whole adventure:

The Alishan Train Station close to 5 am. You have to go up to the first floor.

A lot of people were queueing to enter the train, but first your tickets are checked.

The train is very small inside, standing for 30 mins wasn't a pleasure...

Arriving at Chushan station at 5.40.

The sunrise was at 6.10 that day.

Walking up to the platform.

Lots of people were waiting already, so we had to squeeze in.

And then we were blasted at by a guy with a megaphone, which was truly shocking.

I hoped we could all enjoy the beautiful scenery in tranquility...

Taiwanese are used to these kinda things, I admired their stoic acceptance.

There was no sun on the horizon at 6 am.

And then about 5 minutes later a small glow behind that mountain was visible.

I zoomed in with my wife's new lens.

The sun slowly showed up.

Half way through.

Almost fully risen.

Gently kissing the mountain goodbye.

I zoomed in for bigger intensity.

The sun has risen above Mount Ali!

The happy spectators. I was the only European among them.

The sunrise from afar once again.

The majestic sun blasting at the poor tree.

Exploding radiance.

People slowly leaving for the train back.

iPad photographer.

Nearby were food stalls offering "xiaochi" - 2450m above sear level, mind you (hey, this is Taiwan after all!). We had our breakfast here and it was very tasty.

Chushan Station, highest located railway station in Taiwan.

The platform is very clean and neat.

Everybody was like: "Ni kan, huoche lai le!"

My wife made this video of the train ride.

Arriving at Alishan Station.

It was nearly 7.40, when we reached back to Zhongzheng, a.k.a. Alishan Village.

Seeing the Alishan sunrise is definitely tiring and challenging experience, especially if you work nonstop like me. But every expat living in Taiwan should see it, it's a natural wonder one should not miss, if fate has brought you to this remote yet beautiful island. The train is another highlight that shall not be missed as well, especially the historic original.

My 2012 SOUTH-CENTRAL TAIWAN Tour - NEXT: Douliou City>>

• Explore all my Alishan posts at once.