Located in the northeast part of the Jiayi County in Taiwan Province, Ali Mountain(Ali Shan) is in fact the general name of the eighteen hills including Zhu Hill and Tower Hill. The highest peak of Ali Mountain is Tower Hill with the height of 2,663 meters (about 8,736 feet). Ali Mountain is world famous for its 'five rare sites' including the Sunrise, the Ali Mountain Forest Railway, the famous Alishan Sacred Tree, the Grand Sea of Clouds, and the Flamboyant Cherry Blossom. It is said that one who has not been to Ali Mountain will never know its wonderful beauty.
Almost all the tourists who come to Ali Shan will see Ali Saint Tree by themselves and experience its charm. Ali Saint Tree is lying in the east of Saint Tree Station, which is slanting high and seems to reach the clouds. Its trunk has been broken. But its branches are dark green with verdure. The height of the Saint Tree is 52 meters or so. Its circumference is about 23 meters. More than ten people would hold it hand by hand. It is estimated that Saint Tree has been more than 3,000 years old and it should live in the period of Zhougong Regent ruling in Zhou Dynasty (around BC1042). So the Saint Tree is also called Zhougong Bolt . It is the Asian tree king and it is only next to American tree king by its age in the world.
The Ali Mountain Forest Railway is regarded as one of three mountain climbing railways. Traveling along the 72-kilometer-long railway, the train climbs from 30 meters (about 98 feet) to 2,450 meters (about 8,038 feet) above sea level. Its gradient is so great that it is rarely seen in the whole world. From the bottom of Ali Mountain to the top, the train crosses four forest areas tropic, subtropical, temperature and the frigid zone. While traveling up the mountain the forest scenery is spectacular including eucalypt trees, coconut trees, conifers and the Frigid Zone forest.
Cherry blossom all over Ali Shan is another great scenic spot. Flourishing and vigorous cherry blossom is round the travels centre . In spring, red and white cherry blossom is colorful and gorgeous, which frames with the dark green and jade green forest, and drawing into a beautiful and splendid picture. The mounts look like dressing up well. It is a real splendid landscape. When it is clear with slight clouds at sunrise or at sunset magnificent Sea of clouds would be observed in Ali Shan observed from a far place on a high flat terrace white clouds are rising from valleys slowly and gone with wind into a wide sea of clouds overwhelming the mounts. The obscure peaks and trees among the sea of clouds look like floating, which float with great waves sometimes and which move slowly like a land covered by snow and which wave to and fro like snow falling into valleys. The sight is like a mirage. When it is clear sunshine at sunset will shine against the sea of clouds with accompanying hundreds of different colors, which are shining, changing, moving and floating. There are Sapphire blue, jade green, apricot yellow, deep red and others, for example. The colors are charming and attractive. So the sight of Sea of clouds will not missed.
There is a Chinese Juniper within the Ali Mountain forest area, with some 53 meters (about 174 feet) high, and 23 meters (about 75 feet) wide. This Juniper is so huge that more than ten people can surround the circumference. It has a history of more than 3,000 years, thus is called Alishan Sacred Tree. The most wondrous tree is a 'three-generation' tree. The three generations of this tree exist in the same trunk. Now since the first and second generations have faded, the third generation is still flourishing. This tree is really a wonder of nature. The forest sea on Ali Mountain creates a relaxed and pleasant environment for the people living in the city nearby.
The sea of clouds and the cherry blossom should not be overlooked. If you want to avoid sunstroke, the comfortable climate in midsummer on Ali Mountain will be a good choice.
AM 8:30 PM 6:00, in winter and spring; AM 8:30 PM 8:00,in fall and summer
How to get there:
there are regular buses from Taipei to Ali Shan at 8:45 p.m. every Friday and Saturday.(reserved in advance please) and there are regular buses from Ali Shan to Taipei at 12:30 a.m. every other day. The travel is about six hours.
The Best Tour Time in Ali Shan In spring there is a flower blossom season with a fresh atmosphere. It is the best tour time for tourists to visit Ali Shan in spring.