Alishan 2011 Day 1 – Everlasting Bridge & Fencihu (天長地久橋, 奮起湖)

We took the 830am from Taipei HSR to Chiayi station.   Please remember to go into the HSR 10-15mins earlier for the train as it leaves punctually.

For the luggages, you could leave in the luggage compartment.  In fact, when i booked the HSR ticket, i told the ticket staff that i wanted seats near to the luggage compartment.  We reached Chiayi station at 10am and met Mr Yang, our driver for 2 days.  ( Mr Yang had called me earlier to inform me the waiting place)  The HSR seats were quite spacious too !

From Chiayi HSR, our first stop was 天長地久橋 (Everlasting Bridge) and this was located at the starting point of the Alishan Highway.

天長地久橋 are actually 2 suspension bridges –  天長橋 and 地久橋.  There is a beautiful legend saying couples who cross this bridge will have everlasting life together.  Nearby is a ChiKung 濟公 temple.

Fenchihu 奮起湖 is located 1403 meters above sea level, and surrounded by mountains on the east, west and north side.    Don’t try to look for a lake!  In fact, there is no lake.  Just a vivid description of the landscape as it shaped like a dustpan and originally it was called 畚箕湖.  The place was renamed to 奮起湖 by Chiang Ching Kuo as he praised this place   – 奮起 which means ‘rise up’.

Fenchihu was one of the important stop for the Alishan Forest Railway in the early days.  The steam train would need to stop at Chiayi about noon time for maintenance and  this created business opportunity for the lunch box.  In fact, the lunch box 便當 was a remembrance for the older folks during the Japanese occupation era.

Here’s the Fenchihu train station, unused now since it’s still under repair.

There’s a little train museum too which showcased two antiqued steam locomotives.

Although the Alishan Highway was opened subsequently, the old railway street – Fenchihu became a tourist area where you could experience the traditional street with local snacks and souvenirs and the past heritage.  You could even find ancient goods like facial creams from grandma’s times like the famous brand ‘White bear facial cream’.  In fact, Fenchihu is also known as the Southern Taiwan – Jiufen.

I didnt try the lunch box there.  However, later i also saw other local blogs patronising this stall.

We went to the well-known 阿良便當  (Ah Liang lunch box) for our lunch.  Trying to find our way as it was located towards the end.

The lunch box included chicken leg, meat, stewed egg, vege and lots of pickles.  I personally find that the lunch box was overrated !  The lunch box was not hot too.  Only the soup was hot.

Another must-try that we heard is 愛玉 aiyu drink – yes, this is nice!
One of the Alishan speciality is the wasabi.  You can find many stalls selling wasabi nuts.

The old railway traffic light

On our way back to the car park, we saw a scenary cafe and decided to have a coffee.  Oh, it was closed!  Anyway, the driver told us that he could bring us to another cafe where we could view scenary.

Continue Alishan Day 1 Part 2 here.

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