Chiayi to Alishan by Train
One thing that travelers find confusing when looking for information about train travel to Alishan, is that the final destination is not called Alishan. Why? Because the train does not go all the way to Alishan. It only goes as far as Fenqihu. So you take the train from Chiayi Station or Beimen in Chiayi City, all the way to Fenqihu. From there, you take a bus to continue all the way to Alishan.
Chiayi to Fenqihu train timetable:
Fenqihu to Chiayi Train Timetable:
Stop in Fenqihu?
You should know that Fenqihu is a really cool place. At first, when you arrive at the train station, it just looks like a village lost in the middle of nowhere in the hills. But spend some time here, and you’ll find really nice hiking trails, beautiful bamboo forests, authentic tea shops, and some traditional restaurants. If you decide to make a stop in Fenqihu, make sure to try the famous railway lunchbox.
But, isn’t there a train in Alishan?
Yes, there is. And that’s another reason why people get confused. There is a small train for tourists in the park, but it doesn’t connect all the way to Chiayi. It’s just a small separate line that takes you to various sightseeing points within the scenic area.
Chiayi to Alishan by Bus
Just don’t do it. I honestly don’t see why anyone would want to take the bus when you can take the train. And that train ride is definitely in the top 3 in Taiwan. The bus can be super cold, there can be traffic, there’s no toilet, the road is a series of switchback, which can make you sick… And there’s not much difference in price. My advice, skip the bus, take the train. So much more comfortable, and MUCH better views!
Chiayi to Alishan by Car
From Chiayi, drive on road 18 all the way to Alishan. Another option is to take the 159甲 to Zhuqi, then back on the 18. There is much less traffic on the 159, but it’s not as wide and not as well maintained. That road feels more remote. There’s a huge temple with a huge Buddha mid-way, and quite a few hiking trails as well.
Chiayi to Alishan by Scooter or Motorcycle
Same as the “by Car” section above, but make sure you’re ready to face the elements, as the weather can change fast in altitude. Bring warm clothes, rain gear, gloves, and a proper helmet. Make sure your bike has got proper tires, brakes, and a full gas tank. Being stranded in Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range with no gas or in the rain in T-shirt not only sucks – it can be dangerous.
Cycle from Chiayi to Alishan
I’ve never done that, will never do that either, but have seen many people do it and heard great stories about cycling from Chiayi to Alishan. If you’re doing this kind of adventure, I’m sure you know how to prepare properly. One thing I can tell you, is that you really want to be careful in those sharp turns. Keep to the side and be highly visible. Some drivers are absolute maniacs, most likely high on beetle nuts, and they drive down that road Formula 1 style. Needless to say, never ride on this road (or any other mountain road in Taiwan) at night.