Lalashan Mountain National Forest Sanctuary

When you had a visit to Taiwan, it's difficult to forget there are many mountains in the island. Examine the map. It lets you see that the mountains begin from outside Taipei and extend the whole way down the piece of land.
At the present I must say that I like this sort of scenery, even if sarcastically I am not a fan of heights. So I took this opportunity of organizing LDS single adult activity in northern Taiwan to get out into the peaks of Taiwan.
One of the more well-known places is called Lalashan. I had been trying to convince the other co-workers we should choice the location of activity. The Lalashan’s name is very fun. You maybe feel it sounds like the chorus of a pop song, but the name really comes from the Atayal tribe, where "Lala" means "beautiful". "Shan" means "mountain" in Mandarin, so you get the idea.
Getting to Lalashan is all part of the mountain experience situated as it is about half-way along the Northern Cross Island Highway (Highway 7). This highway in particular deserves a mention, and stretches of it are reminiscent of the road being one of three highway systems that connect the west coast with the east of Taiwan. The first exploring for it time and again I found myself asking, "How?" Just, "How?"
It is a fight to maintain the highway safety however, as landslides frequently cut out sections. There are a lot of scars on the edges of the mountains, and this is absolutely not a place to be during a typhoon when most of the injury is done. In spite of this, the road itself is good even if narrow and the views are extremely good.
Surprisingly (for the less vigorous perhaps), Highway 7 is also a well-liked cycling route. There are places to have a rest along the way like Baling Bridge. The Baling Bridge is situated near Xiabalin, at the upper reaches of the river. In addition to its violet colored steel structure, there is also an old bridge for tourists to take photos of and have fun on. The design of the front and rear crossing tunnels is also quite interesting.
It takes about three hours from Zhongli Station to Lalashan Mountain National Forest Sanctuary. You can use Zhongli or Taoyuan City as a starting point because they are near the airport. You can go by bus but I suggest you go in the car and you can enjoy the drive. Remember to confirm the gas is enough because there are only one or two gas stations along the highway. It's also valuable stopping at the Visitor Information Center to pick up a travel brochure in English.
On coming to the mountain it was difficult to see if we'd have a view absolutely as the fog (or maybe the clouds) was too heavy. There are places to stay in the sanctuary and I actually wanted a log cabin with a view. The biggest accommodation we chose was Da Guan Forest Farm because this is a paradise for tourists. When picking peaches, plums, pears, sweet persimmons or digging bamboo sprouts, you can completely feel the joy of wild fields here. For a full on mountain experience, you surely get excellent views. The wooden cabins were surrounded by bamboo giving a truly "in nature" experience. It was foggy the previous day but the next morning all had cleared and the view was certainly great. In fact you could almost hear " Our Mountain Home So Dear "
This area is very well known for its peaches, and the gardens are everywhere. The plants were in bloom so we couldn't try the fruit, but I am surely informed that they are the fruits of the highest quality. The cabbages are also very excellent. Maybe not the easiest thing to put in your bag but well worth trying at a local restaurant.
Apart from the local produce and the dramatic scenery, Lalashan is famed for its forest containing huge old cypress trees, and some of these trees are truly aged. Like, thousands of years old (the oldest is 2,800 years old). There is a trail around 20 or so of these giants, and each is numbered with information in English.
Instead of dashing around though, it was pretty an experience just to sit and think what these trees have lived through.
Unavoidably though, you will end up walking around at least some of the other trees, and it is a nice walk. The path is well laid out and you can spend a supposed hour in the circular walk.
After the walk it was a straight shot back to Zhongli. As there is only one road it is hard to get lost. Even if you turn the wrong way on Highway 7 after coming off the mountain you will finally get home.
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About 工作達人

Hi, I'm Stephen Liu! A Taiwanese couchsurfer, backpacker, food lover and postcrosser. My wife and I challenged ourself to visit all the counties and cities in Taiwan! Read more here.

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  1. Those places look cool. It must be very relaxing to take a walk there in the Lalashan Mountain National Forest Sanctuary.

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