Visiting Alishan may almost feel like a cliche, but do not lose heart. There may be equally beautiful and less-visited places in Taiwan, but Alishan, with its giant cedar and soaring pines reminiscent of sculptures or temples, not to mention the uncanny way the clouds interact with it, can still take your breath away.
Alisan's thick cypress reserves were first discovered during the early years of the Japanese occupation. The area began drawing visitors from as early as the 1920s. There was even a song ('Maidens of Alishan') written about it that was popular in Chinese-speaking Asia. For a long time before the age of Google, Taiwan was synonymous with Alishan. Hotels were built from the 1950s to the 1980s, when a ban on tree felling was introduced to protect the forests. This is why many of the hotels here may look or feel dated.