Taiwan is a small island that boasts snow-peaked mountains, bountiful plains, tropical beaches and magnificent gorges – all within a few hours drive from each other. You don’t need to climb with heavy equipment in order to get on the clouds. Instead, it only takes a two-hour drive from the downtown to reach mountains soaring over 3,000 meters.
Starting from Chiayi High Speed Rail Station, Provincial Highway 18 stretches all the way to Alishan National Forest Recreation Area. Dating back to the Qing dynasty, this winding highway takes you from the bustling downtown, through the mist-covered tea plantations, and eventually to the picturesque Alishan. On the way, those who are interested in geology will surely notice different layers of rock exposed among the greenery, and this signifies that you are currently passing through one of the five major mountain ranges in Taiwan: Alishan.
As Provincial Highway 18 is often shrouded in fog, even the most experienced drivers must stay alert and use caution when driving on this winding road. Be patient though, it will be an amazing drive through the clouds. All you need to do is sit back and relax to enjoy the miraculous scenery outside the windows.