Taipei, (CNA) During the annual Alishan sakura season, which starts Mar. 15, traffic controls will be introduced in Alishan Forest Recreation Area in Chiayi County for private cars and tour buses during the season’s weekends and holidays, according to the Directorate General of Highways (DGH) Tuesday.
On March 17, 18, 24, 25 and April 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, all private cars and non-preregistered tour buses coming from Chiayi will be unable to enter the area from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 6 a.m. to 12 p.m., respectively; and 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. for all vehicles coming from Nantou, according to the DGH.
During those hours, visitors will need to take public transport, according to the DGH, adding that group tour buses that are not pre-registered will be turned away.
The estimated optimal number of visitors to Aishan during flower season is 16,000 per day, of which 10,000 will be with tour groups, 2,000 will stay at least one evening, 2,000 individual visitors and 2,000 others who come outside traffic control times.
The DGH encourages visitors to take public transport up the mountain to avoid traffic congestion, with passengers able to buy entry tickets to the area at a 25 percent discount, paying NT$150 (US$5.13) as opposed to the full price of NT$200.
Groups wishing to visit the area by tour bus will be charged an entry fee of NT$200 per person, said the (DGH), adding that group visitors need to pre-register on the Chiayi Forest District Office group visitors registration system.
Alishan sakura season runs from March 15 until April 15, according to the Alishan National Scenic Area Administration website, adding that the Alishan Forest Recreation Area is full of Yoshino, Formosan and other cherry trees for visitors to enjoy.
(By Wang Shu-fen and William Yen)