Travelling Welshman
Instagram @tompj
Asia,  Chiayi,  Fenqihu,  Taiwan

The 8 Best Highlights to See in Fenqihu

The quiet little logging town of Fenqihu is the golden little gem in the heart of Taiwan’s greatest mountain range. As the historic gateway to Alishan and its surrounding landscapes, Fenqihu has seen streams of labourers and tourists for decades and continues to retain its old-world charm for all to see.

Quaint streets lined with traditional teahouses and old wooden inns scream of a bygone era, one far away from the bright lights and bustling cities of Taiwan’s coast.

So in that case, here is a list of the 8 best sights to see in and around Fenqihu!

This article may contain affiliate links which I may be compensated for at no extra cost to you dear readers!

Alishan Township, and Alishan National Scenic Area, are found in Chiayi County in Central Taiwan. The township is mostly made up of thick forests, streams of tea plantations and numerous peaks averaging 2500m.

The region’s history can be traced back to the late 19th century when the area was first settled by the Tsou indigenous tribes that still inhabit parts of Taiwan today. Following the arrival of Japanese colonialism in 1895, the area flourished after the opening of the Alishan Forest Railway.

The railway not only served the then-booming logging industry, but it finally connected the town of Fenqihu to the outside world. From there, there was a rise in the tea industry which brought prosperity to the region and it soon became a vital hub for trading and processing.

fenqihu to see
Arriving at Fenqihu

As the markets gradually declined, tourists took their place, with many coming to marvel at the area’s natural beauty. To accommodate the arriving travellers, an influx of tea houses and humble hotels were established along with everything a weary traveller might need, and still remain there to this day.

Since then, the tiny mountain village has been frozen in time holding dear to their traditional ways.

fenqihu to see
The Alishan Mountain Train

Where better to start your adventures in Fenqihu than with what put this town on the map in the first place? The Alishan Mountain Train is the artery which brought life to this insignificant little dot amongst the forests. While in years past it was used solely by labourers, as the industry declined, the passengers were now tourists who flocked to see the area’s beauty. So why not walk in their shoes?

The railway spans a distance of around 71 kilometres, winding its way through lush forests made up of cypress trees, misty valleys, and towering mountains. You might also catch glimpses of the terraced tea plantations that brought the area such recognition.

Want more information about how to get to Fenqihu? Check out The Ultimate Travel Guide: Alishan!

fenqihu to see
The tracks leading to Fenqihu train station

If you (wisely) choose to arrive by train, you’ll be walking in the footsteps of countless visitors before you. You’ll also be standing at the cultural, financial and historical centre of this little mountain town.

There’s even a unique twist to it. As the station doesn’t see heavy traffic these days, visitors are allowed to walk freely across the tracks! It also makes for an incredible photo.

If you keep following the tracks from the train station, you’ll be led directly to a nearby museum dedicated to the locomotive history of this little spot. The museum also gives a little deeper look into the role this humble little station once played on this mountain!

Inside you’ll see two old steam engines on display which were imported from the US in the early 1900s.

Fireflies in full force. Photo by Mike Lewinski, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Once the sun goes down, even more natural wonders come to life around the forests of Fenqihu. Fluttering amongst the surrounding landscape are waves of bioluminescent fireflies!

Each year from May to June, the forests light up with a magical spectacle as the fireflies attempt to attract each other during mating season. Head out at night to top off your magical day in Fenqihu!

Fenqihu Old Street

As the reputation of the area began to blossom over the years, so too did the demands of the tourists. Fenqihu became a humble little rest stop for visitors on their way to the forests of Alishan and still serves that purpose today.

Numerous restaurants and street food vendors began sprouting like mushrooms and have remained a staple of its traditional old street. Here you’ll find plenty of tantalising treats like aiyu jelly and wasabi-flavoured snacks, or spend hours perusing your way through the souvenir stores.

Worried how about eating street food? Check out 15 Tips for Eating Street Food Safely!

fenqihu to see
A traditional Fenqihu lunchbox

For Westerners, the word lunchbox brings back memories of lacklustre ham sandwiches packed in flimsy plastic boxes with Thomas the Tank decals. Here in Fenqihu though, they’re on a whole new level!

This Bento box is a meal that includes all the staple elements of local Far Eastern cuisine. In Taiwan, these culinary wonders usually consist of rice topped with a mouthwatering pork chop or a tantalizing chicken drumstick, accompanied by a marinated egg and pickled vegetables. They’re so popular that you can find them everywhere, even in 7/11s! But none are more iconic than those in Fenqihu!

fenqihu to see
The tea plantations surrounding Fenqihu

The region of Alishan is world-renowned for its high-mountain Oolong tea. The unique combination of fertile soil, high elevation and perfect climate creates the optimal conditions for cultivating tea.

Scattered all around the mountainsides of Chiayi are blankets of plantations. Trails lead visitors along the mighty peaks and stunning mazes of tea. Better yet, many tea houses and shops in the area offer visitors the chance to sample a wide range of teas, and even purchase their favourite teas to bring back home!

Trails leading around the forests of Chiayi

The immense mountain ranges that surround Fenqihu provide ample opportunities for your itinerary! They range from pleasant little strolls to day-long treks to some of Taiwan’s highest peaks.

Two of the best include the Fenqihu Forest Trail and the Fenrui Historic (or Shizhuo Ancient) Trail which can be joined from the centre of the village.

For hikes further out of town, The Trail of Tea and Eryanping Trail are some of the all-time best which take you through lush green fields of tea, offering picturesque views and a serene atmosphere.

Thank You for Reading! Check Out These Other Helpful Links!

Thank you for reading The 8 Best Highlights to See in Fenqihu! Check out these other helpful articles!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.