And here’s the reason for choosing to stay over at Chiayi after our Taichung photoshoot – off to Alishan we go on a quick 1 day tour which I booked off Klook! Quote MITSUEKI5OFF to enjoy 5% off your booking (valid till 31 Dec 23) 🙂
Also in case you missed out – read my previous days here:
- #MitsuekiTravels | 12D11N Taiwan Trip 2023 (Day 1): SATS Premier Lounge @ T3 x China Airlines x Taichung Bound x Hotel Maple Taiwan Boulevard – 12 Nov 2023
- #MitsuekiTravels | 12D11N Taiwan Trip 2024 (Day 2): Painted Animation Lane x Taichung Second & Fifth Market x JOJO Wedding PWS Gown & Suit Selection x Yi Zhong Night Market & Zhonghua Night Market – 13 Nov 2023
- #MitsuekiTravels | 12D11N Taiwan Trip 2024 (Day 3): Pre-Wedding Photoshoot at Alicesky愛麗糸的天空専業摂影基地 x Feng Chia Night Market – 14 Nov 2023
- #MitsuekiTravels | 12D11N Taiwan Trip 2024 (Day 4): Bagel House x Miyahara x Taroko Mall x LalaPort x Oyster Porridge x Fresh Sandwiches & Zhongxiao Road Night Market – 15 Nov 2023
- #MitsuekiTravels | 12D11N Taiwan Trip 2024 (Day 5): Taichung Second Market Food x Photo Selection @ JOJO Wedding x Chaiyi Turkey Rice & Wenhua Night Market – 16 Nov 2023
Oh yes before we headed out, we had time to grab a quick brekkie of Taiwanese danbing prior at a random breakfast place outside our hotel. As with most food in Taiwan that we’ve tried, it’s good but oily/greasy!
Anyway back to this tour! If you’ve only got a day to explore Alishan then this tour will likely be the best option rather than DIY because you don’t have to rush here and there to meet the bus/train schedules which are quite tight. Of course, tbh I realised on hindsight that I should have stayed overnight instead to fully enjoy the beauty of Alishan but no regrets to have a glimpse of what the place offers in today’s tour!
Also I chose this tour because it includes a pitstop at Fenqihu which is a stop that I wanted to go to have their bento lunch set (inclusive in the price, but not the famous one), and they outlined the tour itinerary upon boarding the mini van (shared transportation with 7 other people). At this point, I need to make it a note that Taiwanese hospitality is fantastic! From the tour operator who gifted us a bag of goodies filled with Chiayi souvenirs & 2 bottles of water plus all the info you need for the tour; and a comfy ride up .. it’s great!
They also catered stops for toilet breaks which is great for people like me who need to pee quite frequently (lol), and our first stop was at a small Alishan tea plantation. The owner greeted us super warmly, gave us free tea/biscuits sampling (not even asking us to buy anything!), view his plantation, use the toilet and asked us to take plenty of photos since we were there. Super warm and hospitable like I said!
Our next stop is Fenqihu, another charming mountain village that many visitors make a pitstop for heading to Alishan. We were given 1.5 hours to roam the small village, Fenqihu Old Street & dabao/eat our Fenqihu lunch bento before meeting back at the van, and I thought it was more than sufficient time to do so as it’s quite a small place.
The must eats / buys here imo, will be the sugar donut rings (we went to the famous bakery that boasted a 2 hour queues on weekends .. luckily there wasn’t a queue on this weekday), eat Alishan Aiyu jelly, buy Alishan tea (my recommendation is to buy here and not at Alishan directly..) and sample all the wares.
Many of the vendors offered samples.. some even FULL sized ones like the train egg cake and we were SO stuffed!! Somehow, we managed to quickly polish off the Fenqihu bento set on the spot as well because we wanted to spend more time walking around Alishan mountains later on. Overall, a lovely visit here and I bought a couple of Souvenirs including the puffed cake biscuits and bamboo shoot cookies.
Next stop – Alishan! Do note this is not a guide led tour so mainly you’re paying for the driver/transportation and tickets. He passed us the 1 way tickets to catch the Alishan => Zhaoping train & Shenmu => Alishan train where the end point would be at this station where he dropped us off. You’ll get around 2 hours which is a good enough time to have a preview of Alishan. Recommended as I said, to spend a full day here as there were many fun hiking trails to explore; and the 3rd station which we didn’t get to visit.
Nonetheless off we go onto the Alishan => Zhaoping train. Afterwhich, you’ll walk from Zhaoping to Shenmu Station to catch the 3pm train. This route will take approximately 1 hour (as per the guided tour), though our driver mentioned if you really walk fast, it can be done in 30 mins (lol). We believed we were the latter group who could walk abit faster, hence we took a way longer route to see more sights heading over.
The mountain air was crisp and it was beautiful to see the sky high cypress trees. Sadly, there were barely any autumn leaves as you have to climb way higher; but I did manage to pick 1-2 pieces as a souvenir lol. There’s also a small pitstop area where there’s plenty of food and drinks if you need a break. That’s where we got ourselves this peanut rice stuffed sausage, tasted like rice dumplings imo.
And onwards to more views before reaching Shenmu Station ahead of schedule to take the 3pm train back! We also requested to pop by the Alishan Station village area to pick up some Alishan tea Souvenirs.. not many imo like I said. It would have been better if I bought it at the tea plantation earlier on #regret! Nonetheless, purchase done!
What I didn’t expect on the route back to Chiayi was a toilet / snack / scenery break nearby Jijiu Bridge. We all headed in immediately to this shop called 阿里山萬客香伴手禮 which offered free snack sampling (whole snack!), free flow coffee and toilets (lol). Once again, we were greeted super warmly and asked to sample all the goodies available with zero push to purchase.
And you know why? It’s because the QUALITY of the snacks there were top notch I swear. They were delicious, addictive and I’m SUPER regretting not purchasing the brown sugar chocolate nougat biscuit I had there. To date..I still vaguely remember the addictive taste.. oh yes the chocolate there was fantastic as well, very delicious I highly recommend this place 100% and would wanna go back one day!!
Meanwhile the mister immediately bought the wasabi nougat biscuit on the spot once he tried it because he thought it as absolutely delicious. Similar to what I ate, he thought it was just perfectly well balanced in terms of the biscuit / filling ratio and overall taste. I didn’t like it because it’s wasabi, but I understood what he meant cos it was the same feeling I had towards the chocolate nougat biscuit..
Anyways, onwards to the last stop in this tour which is Hinoki Village, a Japanese inspired Cultural village filled with plenty of shops. Unfortunately it was almost closing time when we reached so many of the shops weren’t open. We did get to explore some, AND also bought what I wanted from Fu Yi Shan 福義軒 – their sesame and original egg roll; plus a few other things.
With that, it was time to head back to our hotel to drop off our items before heading out for dinner. The mister chose this restaurant nearby called 來道好食雞-嘉義店, a modern homely place serving hearty set meals where we shared this meal of spicy sesame cold noodles paired with lala/cabbage/tofu soup that comes with a mini dessert. Delicious and definitely one of the less oily/greasy meals we had here in Taiwan so far lol! We enjoyed it~
With plenty of time to spare, we decided to head over to visit another night market since we’ve already visited Wenhua Night Market the day before. This one is called Chia-Le-Fu Night Market and it was deceptively close to the train station.. except that there wasn’t much of walkable route as there were no pedestrian crossings at some points. Somehow, we managed to make a HUGE round and finally made it to this night market, also know as the Carrefour night market as it is located outside of the giant supermarket.
We were quite full so we didn’t eat anything here. Nothing also really caught our fancy cos it’s the usual night market food items; albeit with hot pot options. What stood out more here were the plethora of game stalls that can be found and we decided to play some of them because why not? Lol.
Lady luck seemed to be on our side for today because we won a prize in every game we played! From the mini claw catchers, to the throw a hoop and the matching mahjong tiles game – yeah we won smth!! The only issue now is.. HOW DO I GET THIS BACK HOME?! LOL!
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