Exploring Taiwan with Your Family: From Alishan to Yilan

If you’re planning an all-ages getaway in Taipei and its surrounds, here’s a quick primer on where to go.

The Alishan Forest Railway.

Alishan

Walking through the misty, moss-draped cedar forests of Alishan, a range of high mountains near the geographic center of Taiwan, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into a fairy tale.

The small-gauge Alishan Forest Railway has been running since 1912, when it first opened under Japanese rule.

Although typhoon damage has rendered large sections unusable, you can still ride the rails from Chiayi to the halfway point at the mountain village of Fenqihu (connected by regular bus services to Alishan), and also several tourist lines within Alishan’s main scenic area.

Yilan

This county on Taiwan’s surf-beaten east coast has its share of attractions and unique stays. Just outside the hot-spring town of Jiaoxi—a popular weekend escape for Taipei residents—the five-star Hotel Royal Chiaohsi has an open-air spa with a hot-spring zone dedicated to children.

If your kids are 16 or over, take them on an eye-opening day tour to Bulao Bulao Aboriginal Village, whose Atayal residents pair their traditional way of life with modern ideas of sustainability.

Lunch is included and typically features homegrown vegetables, chickens reared on-site, as well as foraged foodstuffs like mushrooms. Since there’s a strict limit of 30 visitors per day to Bulao Bulao, the experience must be booked far in advance.

This article originally appeared in the April/May 2019 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Taiwan For Families”).

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