My original plan was to spend just the day in Alishan. I was smitten with Alishan. So, I asked the hotel owner if I could extend my stay. She replied that my room was available.
Today, we followed the same routine as yesterday. It started with breakfast, which consisted of rice porridge (congee), a mixture of vegetables, toast and Chinese tea:
After breakfast, the hotel owner kindly gave me a lift to the bus stop, again. On the way, in the car, I took this photo of a tea plantation as a reminder that tea is grown in the region.
Today, unlike yesterday, there would be no return journey to the hotel. I planned, instead, to take the bus directly to return to Chiayi before setting off for my next destination.
For my second day, I was going to explore the centre of Alishan, the bit most visitors see. It was a vast area and beautiful.
The leaflet from tourist information itself was full of practical information. I liked the thought that had gone into making the delights of the park accessible to everyone.
When I got to Alishan, I waited for the bus to get to the centre. I met Ding at the bus stop, and we decided to walk the trails together.
The Sisters’ Ponds were a beautiful sight. We learnt nothing about the sisters, but the official map and guide says, mysteriously, that the ponds are the “origin of many legends, surrounding them with a mystical aura”.
They’ve made the paths as walkable as possible. There are, sometimes, elevated wooden bridges/paths to separate walkers from vehicles.
As a snack, Ding bought this jelly-like thing for us (the right is my lunch):
At one point, whilst walking around, I recognised the skyline from yesterday’s hike. The photo on the right is the peak I should have gone up. However, I went up one of the peaks in the left photo.
But the biggest aha moment was when I saw the landslide! The red horizontal line was my path along the disused railway line. The red arrow is where the landslide happened and the point at which I had to use rope and metal ladders in the rock to cross the landslide. The yellow arrow is, very roughly, where I scrambled up.
After we finished, we took the bus to Chiayi, from where Ding took the train home and I returned to the space hostel to do some planning.