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Day Trip to Fenqihu by Public Transport

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November 2019 marked my second trip to Taiwan for a wedding that year. I often mention that Taiwan is a country close to my heart, having lived there for 18 months from 2012 to 2013. Despite residing in various cities, I consistently found new places to explore, even within those cities. In this case, it was Fenqihu or Fenchihu, accessible from Chiayi city, where I had lived for six months.

It was only a weekend trip, but I brought along a friend to introduce her to the ropes of independent travel. She was new to this mode of travel, having only experienced tours and family trips before. Since we both love hiking, I thought that a quick day trip to Fenqihu could be the perfect starting point.

Fenqihu is a well-known tourist stopover spot in Chiayi County, on the way to the more famous Ali Mountain. After a bit of research, I found that it was as easy to get there by public transport as it was to book an expensive tour, especially since I was holding an EasyCard. This would give us plenty of leeway on what to do once we arrived.

Verdict on the lunch box

While on the THSR (Taiwan High-Speed Railway) to Chiayi from the airport, I had already checked the bus timings to Fenqihu on the iBus app. Numerous options were available from early morning until mid-afternoon, but only selected timings included Fenqihu on the route. Prior planning proved invaluable here, considering our tight schedule.

After taking an overnight flight into Taiwan, and considering the few hours it took to travel from the airport to Fenqihu, our time was limited. As soon as we arrived in Fenqihu, the first thing we did was get the infamous Fenqihu lunch box from the first restaurant past the train station. We opted for the one with wild boar meat instead of the classic, which, in my opinion, was more unique and tastier than chicken. It was a bit overpriced, but that’s the norm at popular tourist spots.

Exploring the Old Streets

After lunch, we walked through the Old Streets. Each street took us just five minutes to navigate and was lined with persistent vendors trying to sell their wares. The tree tomato juice, however, is worth trying—it’s genuinely refreshing!

Hiking one of many trails

Our main goal for coming here was to go hiking! While there are many trails indicated on the map, my sights were set on the Fenrui Hiking Trail. To reach it, we walked further down the road after the bus stop until the sharp right turn. The entrance to the trail is marked by a sign and a map.

The trail is quite lengthy with a moderate difficulty level, starting off with a challenging ascent of steps and boulders. Unfortunately, my knees gave out after only 1 km, and my friend had to take breaks due to her lower fitness level. With time not in our favor, we only managed to reach the 2 km mark before deciding to turn back to catch the last bus at 5 pm.

I must express my love for the bamboo forest. The rustling sound made by the leaves in the wind is more delicate than that of a typical forest. The bamboo stalks also produce unique hollow crackles, almost in a beautifully haunting way. To me, this embodies the true essence of Asian nature.

Nature in heights

Being in the late autumn season, we were treated to beautiful blooms amidst golden rays in the mountains. Although we couldn’t see much of these blooms in the forest during our hike, we found plenty of them back in the village.

We rested at a coffee shop across the road from the main streets. Situated at a slightly higher elevation, it offered a pleasant view along with our drinks.

Fenqihu's Charm

Fenqihu Old Street, essentially a tourist trap, gains worth from its elevated position and the surrounding scenery. It becomes even more enjoyable in the cooler months, making it the perfect starting point for hikes. The Fenrui Trail, supposedly taking 3-4 hours to reach its end, was described by passing travelers as offering a stunning view in the second half.

Perhaps soon, with my increased fitness, I’ll be able to conquer the trail in its entirety and write about the experience.

Behind the trip

I’m Angie, a traveller, web developer and blogger behind A Head Full of Travel. I’m here to document my adventures through words and photography, kindling a love for life. You can trust that all content and advice shared here is genuine and from my own experiences.

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