Taiwan: Fenchihu & Night

Travel Period : 30th Oct – 6th Nov 2012

{ Previous Post:  Taiwan: Day 1 Arrival & Alishan Forest }

Day 1 Afternoon to Night Itinerary :

  • Alishan National Forest Recreation Area 阿里山森林遊樂區 –>>
  • Fenchihu 奮起湖–>>
  • Alishan Tea Garden Homestay 茶香花園民宿
How We Got There :
From Alishan National Forest Recreation Park // Cab to Fenchihu // Cab to Alishan Tea Garden Homestay

<<Visited>> Souvenir Shop >> Fenchihu Railway Station

#1: Tea/Souvenir Shop 阿坤老師傅特產專賣點

201210_Fenchihu1When we reached Fenchihu from Alishan National Forest Recreation Area around 4.30pm, the sun was already setting, giving us a first impression of this town as a quiet and forgotten one. Dar had fallen asleep in the comfy car seat so we placed him into the stroller to stroll him down the very steep slope. This used to be a much busier place when the Alishan Railway was still running through this town but the train service had discontinued for sometime due to a typhoon damage on the railway a few years ago. When we were there, it seemed that there was hardly anyone on the streets so we became obvious targets by the stall owners, though they were friendly and not pushy.

One of our main objectives in going there was to visit the Train Museum and look at the railway station but unfortunately, we found out from a local there that it had already closed for the day at 4pm. Our mistake for not finding out its opening hours before our trip.

With our main objective wiped out, we started to wander freely along the streets. When we came to a shop, 阿坤老師傅特產專賣點 at the end of one of the streets, a lady invited us in for a cup of tea. It was cold outside and seeing that she was friendly, we went in and sat down as she professionally prepared some Gao Shan Cha 高山茶 for us. In Taiwan, they often offer us free tasting of food and would be alright and smiling even if we do not buy from them after tasting. Seeing that we were interested in the tea that was planted in Alishan, the lady (Ms Jian, 簡碧雲) offered us further details on her tea while we continued enjoying her company and tea. All this while, Dar was sleeping soundly in his stroller beside us.

As Ms Jian patiently explained the history and the nature of the tea she was serving us, she kept emphasising that we needn’t feel obligated to buy anything from her. It was the first time we drank tea that aren’t in a teabag as tea leaves in Singapore are usually quite expensive (as a comparison, we saw a shop in Marina Square selling 高山茶 at SGD$28 while the one we bought was about SGD$18.90). In the end, we did buy some tea leaves/bags from her as we really liked the tea we drank. Cat liked the ‘金宣茶’ with its nice aroma while the ‘乌龙茶’ was stronger. They were not bitter at all and instead left a fragrant aftertaste.

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We also found a nicely made black steam train model for Dar and a small wooden Alishan bookmark.

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We then bid goodbye to Ms Jian and walked back to where we came from, arriving at the unused railway tracks. We decided to wake Dar up so that he could experience walking on the tracks. He was upset when being woken up initially and didn’t want to walk on the tracks because he was so afraid that a train is coming. (Cat: He kept pulling my hand to bring me to safety when I walked on the track) but on reassuring him that it was safe, he started getting active and walked on the tracks happily.

As we made our way towards the deserted Fenchihu Train Station, we came across some switch tracks and pointed them out to him. Dar was familiar with them since he could relate them to those he saw from his Thomas & Friends playsets. We also got to see some parked trains and carriages, which we supposed were left there for the visitors. We had thought we would only be able to see trains in their train museum, so this nice surprise convinced us that we had not made a futile trip to Fenchihu.

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After our dinner (read the post on ‘Food‘) , we returned to our cab and Mr Lin took us back to the Tea Garden Home-stay.

[  STAY . SLEEP  ]

Alishan Tea Garden 茶香花園民宿

More Experiences on Accommodation Details here : Travel Taiwan – Accommodation

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After a comfortable shower, I prepared Dar’s milk. Instead of drinking in the room however, I suggested to him that we go out to the beautifully furnished and empty main hall.

We chose to sit on the sofa in front of the unlit fireplace, enjoying the quietness and serenity of the place. Dar was feeling very happy (holiday mood?) and kept on talking while he was drinking his milk. As he recounted the day’s events, we were glad he remembered the details vividly and enjoyed himself.

[  TRANSPORT   ]

Driver For The Day: Mr Lin

As a replacement driver for Mr Zheng, Mr Lin (林先生) had done a commendable job in driving us around. He was a friendly and polite driver, who kept checking on us to make sure we were feeling alright as he drove. Like Mr Zheng, he also drove a 7-seater with the child seat and would always make sure Dar was well secured in it before moving off.

Despite having to navigate the curvy roads on Alishan, he had done a good job by driving steadily so that we hardly had any motion sickness. In fact, his driving was so comfortable that all three of us fell asleep soundly (luckily not four! ^^) on our way to Fenchihu. He felt quite fatherly to us and we had a great time chatting about Taiwan’s cultures since it was the first day we set foot there.

On the downside, like what he had admitted right at the start, he wasn’t very familiar with how to get to our homestay located atop a small hill, though in the end everything turned out well and he drove us to all our destinations smoothly and safely.

Contact: +886 921-341-279. No email.

{ Next Post : [Food] Alishan/Fenchihu }

9 Comments

  1. Yan Ling July 9, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Hi, 林先生 droves you from Chiayi Station up to Alishan? How much was the fare for a day? Thank you.

    1. Vin July 9, 2013 at 9:01 pm

      Hi Yan Ling,
      I think it would be better if you could contact him directly for the rates, since it might have differed depending on various factors. 🙂

  2. Jiexin October 17, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Hi!! May i know where to find all these drivers?:) Thanks so much. x

  3. eunice December 17, 2014 at 1:09 am

    Not too sure if I missed it in your posts, may I know where you got your sim card in the end? 🙂 ill be reaching taiwan at about 6 am in the morning too.

    1. Vin December 17, 2014 at 10:06 am

      Hi Eunice,

      In the end, it was our driver who bought the SIM card on our behalf.

    2. Cat December 17, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      Hello! The driver bought it for us but we only saw him the second day.He also has to use his ID to do that. So I would advise to wait for a while and purchase from the airport. Leaving it, it’s more troublesome to find a place that sells. (Unless you are still in the. City area)

      1. Eunice December 17, 2014 at 11:37 pm

        Hi Vin and Cat, thanks for the advice. Think I will hang around in the airport and have breakfast while waiting for the store to open.

        Thanks!

  4. Becca December 9, 2015 at 12:09 am

    Hello, I am wondering how you found Mr. Lin (or your other driver). I am trying to figure out a route from Sun Moon Lake to Fenchihu, but it seems quite difficult on public transportation.

    1. Vin December 10, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      Hi Becca,

      For our drivers, we either found them online via other travelers’ recommendations, or were recommended by the homestay owners which we decided to stay at.

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