At an altitude of 1,403m above sea level, Fenqihu Station is the biggest relay station of the Alishan Forest Railway Main Line. The route starts from Chiayi Station and takes in other stations including Beimen, Jhuci, Jhangnaoliao, and Dulishan. The largest station, Fenqihu Station, is the only one with two platforms; also, it’s the meeting point of trains, both passenger and cargo trains, going up and down the mountain.
Fenqihu is situated in a triangular basin which is surrounded by mountains on three sides at the foot of Guanglunshan. Because the basin is a dustpan shape, people used to call the place “Dustpan Lake”. Although the word “lake” appears in its name, there is in fact no lake. In early times, whenever the long-haul train running up or down the mountain reached Fenqihu, it would be about noon, so the train would stop here for a break to add water and coal to the steam locomotive, while passengers would have their lunch. That’s how the culture of the Fenqihu railway lunchbox started. These days, Fenqihu is a busy marketplace.
Besides the lunchbox culture, Fenqihu is famous nationwide for its forest railway culture as well as scenes of the old street and natural landscapes. Nowadays, there are more local specialties. The travel time from Chiayi Station to Fenqihu Station is about 2.5 hr, and there is a round trip daily during weekdays and 2 or 3 additional trains on the weekend and holidays. There is limited ticket availability, so it is suggested that visitors make a reservation online 15 days ahead of schedule.
Address: Fenqihu No.168-1, Zhonghe Village, Zhuqi Township, Chiayi County
Fenqihu Garage Park/Fenqihu Steam Locomotive Exhibition Hall
There are three Alishan Forest Railway Garages; one is the “Alishan Forest Railway Garage Park,” another is the “Alishan Garage” which is the highest railway garage in Taiwan, and the other is the “Fenqihu Garage” where the steam trains, either going up or down, got water and coal refills in the early times. After switching locomotives, the train service continued until reaching the terminal.
As time went by, the garage was turned into the Steam Locomotive Exhibition Hall; besides photos of the forestry industry in the early times, the most noticeable two steam locomotives, the “Black Head” No.18 and No.29, are kept in the hall. Due to the unique value of railway culture, the hall has become a county-designated historical site. This is a strongly recommended attraction for railway fans.
▎Forestry Bureau Fenqihu Garage
Address: next to Chiayi Fenqihu Station.
Opening Hours: 08:00-16:00
Fenqihu Old Street
Fenqihu Old Street is downhill just beyond the station. Take the stone steps next to the station to go downhill. When you see groups of people, you will have reached the old street. It was a street without a name; the local people simply called it “The Street.” Small wooden buildings stand on both sides of the old street, which has a total length of 500 m; this was where the earliest businesses started; also, it’s the oldest street at the highest altitude in Taiwan.
A variety of merchandise is available here, such as the must-try railway lunchbox, railway gourmet cake, Aiyu jelly, Caozaiguo (Hakka pie), cypress coffee, and donuts. Besides, the rare face cream, Polar Bear Special Nourishing Cream and Peh Chae Lin cream are sold here; they were the most popular skincare products 50 years ago and the best-sellers at Fenqihu Old Street.
▎Fenqihu Old Street
Address: Downhill from Fenqihu Station, Zhonghe Village, Zhuqi Township, Chiayi County
Fenqihu Cultural Artifacts Exhibition Room
The site of the police dormitory during the Japanese Occupation was renovated and turned into the Fenqihu Cultural Artifacts Exhibition Room, which is located next to Fenqihu Police Station. The exhibition in the room is themed “The Past and The Present” of Fenqihu; there are displays of household equipment and forest railway artifacts, including railway lanterns, three-color hand lanterns, railway phone sets, an electric tablet block system, railway cake molds, etc. Besides, it has a complete record of the development of Fenqihu and the origins of its name and local specialties.
▎Fenqihu Cultural Artifacts Exhibition Room
Address: Fenqihu No.24-1, Zhonghe Village, Zhuqi Township, Chiayi County
Weekday Opening Hours: 10:00-16:40 (Monday, Tuesday, Friday)
Weekend Opening Hours: 09:20-17:00
Closing Days: Wednesday and Thursday
★ It’s 4-min walking distance from Fenqihu Old Street
Taiwan Incense Cedar Forest Trail
If you prefer forest surroundings and the sounds of birds and insects to the hustle-and-bustle of the old street, you may visit the trail to enjoy natural Phytoncides. It’s not far from the old street, and you need less than 10 min to finish the entire route.
The Taiwan Incense Cedar Forest Trail is also near the old street. Taiwan Incense Cedar is a Taiwanese indigenous species, and each tree is more than a hundred years old. The trail is designed with the lifted trestle to avoid damage to the local ecosystem; with the three observation platforms that connect to the previous Taiwan Incense Cedar Forest Trail, people can stroll more easily in the forest. If you’re able to walk a longer distance, there’s an O-shaped route connecting Shanlin Trestle Trail, Fenqihu Trail, and Muma Trail; you may see the Japanese shrine remains and Fenqihu Giant Tree!
▎Fenqihu Taiwan Incense Cedar Forest
Address: Fenqihu No.117-1, Zhonghe Village, Zhuqi Township, Chiayi County
★ It’s 5-min walking distance from Fenqihu Old Street
Dear railway fans, are you ready to go?
At present, there are multiple kinds of transportation to reach Fenqihu, such as the Alishan Forestry Railway Train, Chiayi public bus, Taiwan Tourist Shuttle; or, you may join the Local Tour, or hire a charter. The aforementioned approaches can be arranged depending on your schedule. If you would like to take Alishan Forest Railway Train to Fenqihu, please make a reservation online 15 days ahead of schedule!