Published: May 23rd 2009May 5th 2009
Time to move on to higher ground after soaking in the sun & sea at Kenting. Next up, Alishan! Looked forward to its sea of clouds, sunrise & Fenchihu bento.
At the Chiayi train station, we purchased the Alishan Forest Railway tickets to Fenchihu, which was like 3/4 way up Alishan. The ticket salesperson was helpful by urging us to consider depositing our trolley luggages at the baggage room as it would be very cumbersome for us to bring it on the ride. Basically, the train carriage was small and not much space available for luggages and there was a portion of the ride where passengers had to alight and trek 15-30min to another segment of the train tracks to continue their train journey. Of coz, we chose to deposit our luggage and just bring 3 days' worth of necessities up-mountain.
After more than an hr on the mini old-fashioned train, we were instructed by the train master to alight and start trekking to another section of the train tracks to continue our ride. Never had I had a nature walk between trains... It wasn't a smooth terrain as there were not so gentle slopes and consisted of forest
route. Amazingly, the old folks travelling in the same train could make it, some seem rather effortlessly.
Out pitstop at Fenchihu was Adagio Minsu, which RY said was "castle-like" place. Once we arrived, we were welcomed by the friendly staff and treated to snacks and warm drinks. (just wat I needed). RY quickly explored the reception/dining area of Adagio and signed us up for free activities catered for the patrons. Up at night will be some kind of Tibetan relaxation therapy and next morning's picnic and forest walk.
The Tibetan relaxation therapy, which was conducted by Adagio's staff, used sounds to heal - in particularly to relieve pain in the spine. The key instrument adopted was a large brass "bowl". Participants were blindfolded, leaving our other senses at work during the session. When striked, the "bowl" produced mutliple sounds (those of vibrations) and sorta urging me into dreamland. Such sounds actually caused a tingling sensation in my spine. Then, the sensation and slight numbness in the spine intensified when the striked "bowl" was brought close to my spine. During the sounding of the bowl, a little bit of fragrant water was splashed onto us. To invigorate our senses
of smell? Towards the end, the staff stopped making sounds from the bowl, instead they mimic sounds of the bowl and wind. Finally the therapy ended and we were treated to a hot drink. Overall, I thought this was a refreshing experiencing though I did't quite enjoy the tingling feeling my spine experienced. If only it could improve the cough I was experiencing then....
Breakfast at Adagio the next was a pretty unusual affair. Initial plan for a picnic breakfast in the forest was changed to picnic @ rooftop (due to miscom & time contraint). Nevertheless, it was a novelty doing a picnic breakfast and on a rooftop on a lovely day. Breakfast consisted of corn "soup", cream bun, meat puff & floral tea. Very unconventional for me and on the trip. As the morning grew and with the hot food, I became a little uncomfortable from the heat. Perspiring man...
Next off to what I tot would be a cooler activity - "forest bath". It was cool but hot (after the long walk). We were led to a cedar trees trail which was pretty near to Adagio. The Adagio staff had instructed us to be silent in
the forest and bond with it through conversing with it. The trail seemed manageable at first coz there were well constructed wooden pavement. The further we went, the more sleepy and tedious I felt. At one point, I felt my eyelids drooping and almost falling asleep. This actually happened while I was climbing a flight of stairs. The tot of missing a step and spraining my foot once again jolted me awake. Hence, it was time for my unfinished breakfast, i.e. meat puff. The end of the cedar tree trail led us to the Fenchihu Old Street where there were stalls selling souvenirs, trinkets & food. How I wish I could quench my thrist with the aiyu drink like the rest....
The highlight of this afternoon for me was the Fenchihu Bento (lunch box). For NTD100, this was really worthwhile. It consisted of veg, pork chop & chicken drumstick. In particularly, I liked the drumstick which was well marinated and tender. Savouring this bento made time passed faster on the train ride from Fenchihu to Alishan (but the swaying of train made eating the bento challenging).
As the train travelled to even higher ground, the temperature became cooler.
(I like). At Alishan station, we met the i/c of Shin Shin Minsu (our lodging for the night). He showed us to the minsu even though it was really really close to the station. And, he even offered to lend us coats if we didn't bring sufficient clothing. How thoughtful..
Time to start trekking again after a quick rest at the minsu. We headed to the Sacred Tree and Giant Tree Trail area. We had seen the "3 Generation Trees" which consisted of woods of different times within the same ground. There was a tree trunk that looked like trunk. And, the Giant Tree Trail showcased 20 very very very long-life trees, usu more than 800 years old.
Finally, came the time to view the sunrise at Alishan. The morning started at 4.30am when we packed ourselves in a tour van that would bring us to watch sunrise from Yushan, the highest mountain in TW. The tour guide stopped twice along the way for us to admire the lovely pre-dawn sky. Though we saw orangey light somewhere in the sky and fear missing the sunrise, the tour guide reassured us that we would be still in time. He
further explained that the actual moment of sunrise was defined by the time when the sun rose between the mountains. True as he said, we were in time for the marvellous moment. Awww...
There are more photos below