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How to Get from Chiayi to Alishan via Bus and Train

Alishan National Forest Recreational Area has over 1,400 hectares of land where the majority of it is located at above 2,000 meters above sea level. And Alishan has 36 cypress trees with an average age of over 1,000 years old.

So if you love to hike and want to experience a gorgeous sunrise peeking from the mountains in Central Taiwan, then you must include my two-day Alishan guide to your Taiwan itinerary.

And if you are travelling solo to Alishan, then you will want to keep reading and find out exactly how to get to Alishan from Chiayi on your own.

Essentially, there are two ways of getting from Chiayi to Alishan: bus and train. In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to take either transportation to Alishan.

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Before you travel from Chiayi to Alishan

Before you get on a bus or train from Chiayi to Alishan, take a look at my post on all my best tips for travelling to Taiwan. I included a lot of information, including getting a Taiwan prepaid SIM card, transportation around the country, and more.

Here are a few additional tips for travelling between Chiayi and Alishan:

  • Use EasyCard or iPass (instead of cash) for taking the bus from Chiayi to Alishan. Sometimes the bus company will have promotions where you can get 50% off your bus ride when you use either smartcard.
  • If you are not good with long-distance car rides and tend to get motion sickness, bring some gravol or anything that will help. The second hour of the bus ride is pretty dizzying.
  • When you arrive at Alishan via bus 7322, the bus driver will give you a slip of paper, which will provide you with a discount for the Alishan entrance fee. Don’t throw the piece of paper away. Hand it over to the counter at the Alishan entrance gate.

How to get to Alishan from Chiayi

You can go to Alishan from anywhere in Taiwan, including Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung.

However, the easiest way is to travel from Chiayi. At a minimum, stay overnight in Chiayi and start your journey to Alishan the first thing the next morning. But if you have a few days to spare, definitely add Chiayi to your travel itinerary as there are many things to do in Chiayi.

And from Chiayi, there are two ways to travel from Chiayi to Alishan:

  1. Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Bus 7322
  2. Alishan Forest Railway (from Chiayi to Fenqihu) and Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Bus (from Fenqihu to Alishan)

1. Chiayi to Alishan Bus: Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Bus 7322

The easiest way to travel to Alishan from Chiayi is by taking the Chiayi to Alishan bus, which is the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Bus 7322. The bus takes a scenic route through Taiwan Provincial Highway No. 18 (Alishan Highway) and gradually goes up to 2,500m above sea level.

Bus 7322 from Chiayi Station to Alishan

On the day of your travel, wait for bus 7322 at the Chiayi Bus Station, which is outside of the main entrance of Chiayi Main Station. Tickets can be purchase when you board the bus. Pay with cash, EasyCard or iPass.

The bus journey from Chiayi to Alishan takes about 2 hours or so where the last hour will be on a windy mountain road. If you have motion sickness (like I do), you may want to take a gravol.

If you want something to eat or pick up some food along the way, all the buses from Chiayi to Alishan make a short stopover at Shizhao for a brief stopover. There are a few local restaurants and a 7-Eleven.

Chiayi to Alishan Bus Schedule: Bus 7322

When you visit the information counter inside Chiayi Station, the Chiayi to Alishan bus schedule is at the information desk (see photo below).

Many buses go to Alishan from Chiayi:

  • Chiayi Train Station to Alishan (2 hours 30 minutes, NT$251; few buses go to Fenqihu)
  • Chiayi HSR to Alishan (2 hours 30 minutes, NT$278)

There are also buses to and from Fenqihu:

  • Fenqihu Station to Alishan (1 hour, NT$98)
  • Chiayi Station to Fenqihu (1 hour 40 minutes, NT$175)

There is also an updated and very detailed schedule for bus 7322 online in Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean.

Where to buy ticket for Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Bus 7322

The easy and most direct way to buy a ticket is to use your EasyCard or iPass when you get on the bus.

But if you are travelling during high season or with a big group and want to secure bus 7322 tickets ahead of time, pre-sale tickets are available for purchase through FamilyMart convenience store kiosk machines (FamiPort) or online FamiTicket ticketing system.

Tickets can be purchased up to 31 days in advance (excluding the day of travel) and it must be picked up at the Family Mart on the day of travel.

Past promotions for bus from Chiayi to Alishan

I visited Alishan during the fall of 2019 and there was a promotion for the second half of 2019 where certain buses from Chiayi to Alishan were half the price.

Take a look at the bus schedule above. For the buses that are highlighted in grey, 50% were taken off the regular price if you use your EasyCard or iPass for the bus ride.

Even though this was a promotion in the past, there may be new and upcoming promotions in the future. Keep your eyes peeled while you are in Chiayi!

2. Chiayi to Alishan train: Alishan Forest Railway

The Alishan Forest Railway used to transport timber when it first opened.

Today, it is a transportation system where it takes passengers up the mountain in Central Taiwan. Riding the train is an attraction in itself because it zigzags up the mountain and crosses as many as 50 tunnels and 70 wooden bridges.

And the main line of the Alishan Forest Railway operates from Chiayi Station to Shitzilu Station.

However, the train does not reach Alishan. You will have to catch a bus from Fenqihu Station or Shitzilu Station and continue forward to Alishan (see the previous sections for more bus information).

If you want to travel from Chiayi to Alishan via a train, this is what your journey looks like:

  • Alishan Forest Railway: from Chiayi Station to Fenqihu Station
    • Time: 3 hours
    • Cost: NT$384 (purchase in-person or online)
  • Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Bus: from Fenqihu Station to Alishan
    • Time: 1 hour
    • Cost: NT$98 (use your EasyCard or iPass)

Chiayi to Alishan Train Schedule: Chiayi to Fenqihu

There is only one train (or three trains during weekends) going from Chiayi Station to Fenqihu Station and Shizilu Station. Take a look at the train schedule below.

The schedule was photographed from the board inside Chiayi Station. There is also an online train schedule.

While I was in Chiayi (in September 2019), the train was suspended temporarily due to railway damages. And with typhoon seasons in Taiwan, railway services may be disrupted. Make sure to check if the train is operating before planning your trip if you take the train.

Also, it is recommended that you book as early as you can as the train ticket sells out quickly.

2 ways of buying train tickets for Alishan Forest Railway

1. In-person at Chiayi Station

You can get your train ticket either from the automatic ticket vending machine inside Chiayi Station (see photo below) or at the counter just on the outside of Chiayi Station.

Tickets can be purchased 12 days before departure date. Pay cash or credit card.

2. Online via Alishan Forest Railway Network Ticketing System

Online bookings can be made via Alishan Forest Railway Network Ticketing System.

Tickets can be purchased 1 to 15 days before departure date. Then either pay online or pay in-person within 2 days at Chiayi Station.

Option: Visit Fenqihu before going to Alishan

If you have time in your itinerary, you can spend a few hours or stay a couple of days at Fenqihu before moving onto Alishan. The area has many excellent hikes like Ruitai Historic Trail, where you can see the bamboo forest. Other great walks include Mist Trail, Sunset Trail, Tea Trail, Cloud Trail and Sakura Trail.

There are hotels, guesthouses on tea farms in the area. The tea farms grow Alishan high mountain oolong tea, Taiwan’s most famous tea.

And make sure to get the famous lunchboxes at Fenqihu Hotel.

Leaving Alishan: Alishan to Chiayi, Sun Moon Lake and Taipei

Unless you have private transportation prearranged after your trip to Alishan, you may want to think about your transportation options leaving Alishan.

When you leave Alishan, you have three options:

  1. Return to Chiayi via the same bus (Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Bus 7322)
  2. Continue your journey to Sun Moon Lake
  3. Continue your journey to Taipei

All bus passengers will wait for outgoing buses at the Alishan Bus Station at the Alishan entrance. You can buy your outgoing bus tickets for same-day travel at the 7-Eleven.

Alishan tourist shuttle bus timetable at Alishan Bus Station

The Alishan tourist shuttle bus timetable is above the entrance to the bus station at Alishan. The board is quite big, and it is right above the doorway. It shows the bus schedules for all of the buses mentioned below.

1. Alishan to Chiayi

There are many buses throughout the day going from Alishan to Chiayi Station (bus 7322) and Chiayi HSR Station (bus 7329). You can pay cash or use your EasyCard or iPass.

2. Alishan to Sun Moon Lake

Yuanlin Bus has one bus per day going from Alishan to Sun Moon Lake. Bus 6739 departs Alishan at 1pm and it costs NT$336. You can reserve a ticket two months in advanced by calling Suili Station (049-2770041) or via email (yulinbus@gmail.com), or buy a ticket at the 7-Eleven at the Alishan bus station on the day of your travel.

3. Alishan to Taipei

On weekends, Kuo Kuang bus 1835 goes to Taipei from Alishan. Kuo Kuang Bus runs this route on Saturday and Sunday at 11:30am and costs NT$690.

How will you travel from Chiayi to Alishan?

I hope this post is useful for you to plan your trip to Alishan. The easiest way is to travel to Chiayi first then take a direct bus 7322 to Alishan. But if you want a more scenic way of seeing Central Taiwan, take the train option as it is one of the most scenic trains in Taiwan.

Which one are you going to take? Let me know in the comments below.

Thank you for reading my Chiayi to Alishan travel post

You might also like these other posts on solo travel in Taiwan:

Introduction to Taiwan
Southern Taiwan posts

Like this post? Pin it on your Pinterest board!

About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 20+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!

24 Comments

  • Eric
    May 21, 2020 at 9:42 pm

    This is exactly what a travel blog should be like: good information with photographs of the actual timetables and so forth, to help independent travelers find their way from place to place. Thank you for making such a good site with such useful information presented in a clear and straight-forward way.

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      May 22, 2020 at 9:23 pm

      Hi Eric, thanks so much for your comment! I had a tough time figuring out everything online but it was relatively easy to find the information in person. Just want to share what I know 🙂 thanks again!

      Reply
  • apple
    May 23, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    Thank you so much for your information. Your post is very helpful and detailed :)!!!

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      May 25, 2020 at 12:14 am

      Awe thanks so much for your comment! I hope you enjoy your trip to Taiwan especially when you visit Chiayi and Alishan! Both amazing places! 🙂

      Reply
  • Assi
    June 29, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    Thank you so much for the information. I really love the way you help the travelers especially solo yet happy solo traveler like me. I’ve learned a lot in your blog because the details were precisely and comprehensively explained. I hope you approve my request in IG. God bless!

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      June 30, 2020 at 12:54 pm

      Hi there Assi, thank you for your comment. I’m happy you like the post. I tired to put as much info as possible to help other solo travellers going to Alishan. There are lots of info once you are in Chiayi but not always online. So hopefully this will make it easier for your trip. Thank you again 🙂

      Reply
      • Assi
        July 2, 2020 at 2:24 pm

        You’re welcome! Looking forward for your next travel blog. Always enjoy your adventure. God Bless! 🙂

        Reply
  • Matt
    September 27, 2021 at 11:14 am

    This was super helpful! Thanks 🙂

    Reply
  • Kaye
    October 30, 2022 at 1:07 am

    This is the most helpful online post I’ve seen! Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      October 30, 2022 at 5:41 am

      Hi Kaye, thank you so much! Definitely check to see if there are current travel promotions to Alishan. Enjoy your time there! 🙂

      Reply
  • Syen
    December 13, 2022 at 9:38 am

    Thanks for the information. May i know do we able to buy the bus ticket in advance? Because I cant find the online ticket for ths bus from chiayi to alishan, thanks

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      December 13, 2022 at 11:22 am

      Hi Syen, you can use your EasyCard or iPass when you get on the bus. I don’t think you can book in advanced.

      Reply
  • Net
    March 30, 2023 at 10:44 pm

    Your blog is reallyyyyyy helpful.
    I’m sad that I will arrive Chiayi 4:55 pm but I don’t know how can I go to Alisan TT.

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      April 1, 2023 at 12:46 am

      Hi Net, thank you so much! I don’t think there is any transportation to Alishan in the late afternoon. But it wouldn’t be a bad idea to stay overnight in Chiayi. Hotel is cheaper and you can get some food at the night market. Then you can get some rest for the next day. Hope it all works out!

      Reply
  • Riny
    July 17, 2023 at 6:11 am

    Thank you very much for the detail information. I want to ask about luggage space, do bus Chiayi – Alishan , Alishan – sun moon lake and sun moon lake – Taichung provide enough space for luggage? Thank you.

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      July 18, 2023 at 11:01 am

      Hi Riny,
      Chiayi to Alishan bus is a regular size bus. If I remember correctly, there is storage space outside of the bus ie you put your luggage in the luggage space before getting on the bus.
      Alishan to Sun Moon Lake bus is more like a van. People had to put luggage in the aisle between the seats?! Can’t remember exactly (because I had a small backpack and luggage storage wasn’t an issue). But either way, people managed to put all their luggage inside the van.
      There are more buses for Sun Moon Lake to Taichung and I think these are regular buses so luggage space shouldn’t be an issue.
      Hope this helps!

      Reply
      • Bing
        November 11, 2023 at 10:20 pm

        Hi Queenie, do you recall if there are travelers with luggage alighting or boarding the bus at other bus stops like Xiding or shizuo? I am wondering if it will be inconvenient to retrieve my luggage at the bottom carriage of the bus?

        Reply
        • queenie mak
          November 12, 2023 at 6:32 pm

          Hi Bing,
          We stopped at Shiizhao and I had enough time go to inside 7-eleven to buy some snacks. I hadn’t notice if someone else got on the bus, though. The bus driver came out too so I don’t think it would be a problem to get your luggage. Hope this helps!

          Reply
  • Effie
    August 13, 2023 at 4:17 pm

    Hello, thank you so much for your in-depth blog on this. My family and I are travelling to Alishan and Sun Moon Lake and we’re mainly going to go with the itinerary you made because it’s so easy to follow!

    I have a question, however, about Bus 6739 that departs from Alishan to Sun Moon Lake. As you have kindly put it, the bus only departs twice a day on 1pm and 2pm, and the tickets can only be bought on the same day. My family and I will be departing from Alishan to Sun Moon Lake on the 25th of December, so we were worried that there won’t be enough seats for us on the bus. What time should we go and buy the tickets to ensure we will be able to go to Sun Moon Lake? Also, is there a cabin for luggage under the bus, or will we have to hold our luggage on the seats of the bus?

    Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      August 13, 2023 at 7:23 pm

      Hi Effie,
      The bus from Alishan to Sun Moon Lake is more like a mini van. I have a photo of the Yuanlin Bus 6739 in my Sun Moon Lake post. I think I remember some passengers have their luggage in the aisle of the minibus as there is no cabin for luggage under the bus.
      I just did a quick google search for the bus and it looks it there is only 1 bus (at 1pm) from Alishan to SML. And it looks like you can reserve 2 months before boarding date by calling Suili Station (049-2770041). They also left an email address (yulinbus@gmail.com).
      I’m glad you found my post helpful. I had info that was relevant at the time and it looks like some things have changed (like you can reserve now and only running at 1pm). I’ll update my post to keep up with the latest info.
      Thank you again for your lovely message. I hope you will enjoy Taiwan during Christmas time!

      Reply
  • Kay
    August 23, 2023 at 11:59 am

    Hi Queenie, I enjoyed reading your blog and found it informative and easy to follow! My family and I are travelling to Alishan this Nov and I was wondering, if I hire a car to drive us to Alishan from Chiayi, will I still be able to take the train within Alishan itself? I am interested to take the Alishan Forest Railway but 3 hrs is a long ride .
    Pls advise.

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      August 23, 2023 at 8:59 pm

      Hi Kay,
      Thanks so much for reading my blog and for your kind comment.
      Yes, you can ride the Alishan Forest Railway when you are in the park. When you follow my 2-day itinerary, you will take the train from Alishan Station to Zhushan Station on the second morning and watch the sunrise. So no worries at all, you can still get the train experience once you are there.
      Hope this helps! Enjoy your trip with your family!

      Reply
  • Teng Fong Lin
    December 10, 2023 at 10:44 am

    Hi Queenie, thanks so much for the information which is so detailed. My sister and I are going next spring to watch the sakura flowers in Alishan and looking forward to it. Since it will be peak season when we are there, I wonder if there will be seats on on the bus from Alishan back to Chiayi if we do not reserve in advance (we intend to go from Chiayi to Alishan by train and return by bus and get the bus tickets when we arrive in Alishan) or do you have any suggestions ? If not, we will be booking the trains up and down.

    Thank you in advance!

    Fong Lin

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      December 11, 2023 at 12:29 pm

      Hi Fong Lin,

      When I went to Alishan, the bus did not have a reservation system.

      And I just did a search just now, and it seems like it says:
      * Pre-sale tickets available for purchase on FamiPort (For seat reservation needs, please use the FamilyMart FamiPort ticketing system)
      * Tickets can be pre-purchased at FamilyMart convenience store kiosk machines (FamiPort) up to 31 days in advance (excluding the day of travel) (e.g., Tickets for April 1 can be purchased after midnight on March 1)

      I found this info on the Taiwantrip website. Hope this is helpful for you to plan your trip in March.

      Reply

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