Saturday, June 7, 2008

Alishan, Taiwan

A new country added to the list! Taiwan!!

Whats interesting is that I get a card from Taiwan showing snow, where Taiwan is a country where snow is really its nice to have this :)

The card here shows Alishan, one of the mountains in Taiwan.

Alishan is one of Taiwan's top tourist resorts and well worth a visit. The area is famous among residents and visitors as one of Taiwan's best places to watch the sunrise. The views are impressive in practically every direction. Craggy mountain peaks jut out of a sea of fluffy white clouds, which gradually turn a fiery mass of purples, reds, and oranges in a magnificent light show created by the first rays of dawn as the sun rises above the peaks.

The area was first discovered during the early years of the Japanese occupation (1895-1945) for its abundant cypress forests. There are five things at Alishan that the tourist cannot miss: the railway, the beautiful cypress forests, the "sea of clouds," the sunrise, and the sunset.

The forests of Alishan, with their magnificent old cedar trees and pines, present a sharp contrast to the tropical palms and banana plants of the plains around Chiayi. The area attracts large numbers of tourists, in particular Japanese visitors, during the spring, when the cherry trees are in bloom. During the afternoon, the forests take on an eerie beauty, when they become enveloped in fog. Probably the most famous tree in the Alishan Forest Recreation Area is the "sacred tree", which is said to be over 3,000 years old.

Alishan is known throughout Taiwan for its beautiful morning views of jagged peaks jutting out of a sea of fluffy clouds. At this time of day, it is easy to imagine what inspired traditional Chinese ink painters in their realistic portrayals of mountains shrouded in mists. The best time for seeing the clouds is probably autumn, when swathes of cloud wrap the mountain peaks. Visitors are advised that the best location to view Alishan's famous sea of clouds is Erwanping which is the train stop before Alishan. The clouds appear to move in huge billowing waves, which sometimes swallow the island-like mountain peaks. The views from Erwanping are magnificent.

While not as well known as Alishan's sunrise, sunset at this popular resort is also pretty amazing. The thin air at this elevation makes the sun's rays particularly strong. This means that as the sun sets the sky appears considerably more blue than normal. The best places for watching the sun set are the Alishan Guesthouse and Tsu-yun Temple.

As if you really needed all those details :)))

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