TAIPEI (The China Post) — When in Chiayi in spring, the sea of golden trumpet trees, the highest density nationwide, is a must-see.
On top of that, Alishan National Scenic Area where cherry blossoms peak in March and April showcases the classic forest trains and the unpredictable sea of clouds. No wonder that Chiayi attracts a continuous stream of tourists annually.
The yellow bell-shaped flowers bloom in March on the Puzih River Flood Prevention Road in Taibao, Chiayi. The dense golden trumpet trees stretch on both sides of the road, creating a sea of yellow flowers that is now one of the most beautiful golden valleys in Taiwan.
Some say golden trumpet flowers symbolize gratefulness, others say its “returned happiness.” The golden trumpet trees blossom just shy of ten days. Should it rain during the peak, the flower condition will deteriorate faster.
In the vicinity of the flood prevention road is Liou Sing Gong, a famous temple established by Wang De-lu, the highest-ranking Taiwanese official in the Qing Dynasty. Tourists who come to appreciate flowers can also seize the opportunity to experience the local culture and worship.
In addition to the Puzih River Flood Prevention Road, Chiayi has two other avenues famous for golden trumpet trees and good for pictures: Junhui Bridge Embankment, Wufeng South Road, Chiayi City, and Renyi Road, Chiayi City.
Alishan National Scenic Area has cherry blossoms starting from December every year, but it is between mid-March to April when they peak. That’s why this year’s flower season is set between March 7 and April 11.
There are many places to see cherry blossoms. However the hundred-years-old, 600 meters tall Yoshino cherry tree in front of the Forestry Bureau Work Station, also known as the King of Cherry Trees, is the one to begin with.
As long as this one starts blossoming, other Yoshino cherry blossoms in the park will follow. The road from the police station leading to the Three Generation Tree in the Alishan National Scenic Area is named “the avenue of cherry blossoms,” a popular sight-seeing spot.
The Alishan Police Station is the highest altitude police station in Taiwan where two Yoshino cherry trees were planted in front of the building during the Japanese colonial period. There are also Takasago cherry trees here.
The stairs of the police station are the best place to watch the Alishan forest train arriving through a sea of cherry blossoms. Tourists await here just to capture the train’s famous red exterior and pink and white cherry blossoms all at once.
In addition, the Japanese-style Alishan House, the highest resort hotel in Taiwan, is also surrounded by Yoshino cherry trees, creating an illusion that visitors are in fact in Japan.
Alishan’s sea of clouds is ever-changing. Generally speaking, the easiest places to witness this incredible moment are Ciyun Temple, Alishan museum, and Zhaoping Railway Station.
There is also a private attraction, which is less known to the public, hidden beside a garage near the railway. On the tarmac road opposite to the first parking lot at the front gate’s toll station, there is a small lane leading uphill to the forest railway garage.
The best time to see the sea of clouds is either at dawn or at dusk, and from November to the following April. Under the influence of the northeast monsoon, this is when the sea of clouds is most obvious.