A Muslim-Friendly Mountain Retreat — The Alishan National Scenic Area

In 2017, the Chiayi Forest District Office under the Forestry Bureau declared that the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area had opened its first ever prayer rooms for its Muslim visitors. 2500 meters above sea level, Taiwan makes this scenic tourist spot more accommodating for the increasing number of Muslim visitors from all over the globe.

The Alishan National Scenic Area is best-known for its magical sunrise and sunset views. In spring, visitors come to appreciate the cherry blossom trees that are in full bloom, while May and June nights can be spent watching fireflies. High up and away from the noise of the city, a trip to Alishan is synonymous with a slow and peaceful mountain retreat.

In summers, the temperature averages between 14°C and 24°C, whereas in winters, it may drop down to as low as 5°C. In this cool environment, surrounded by scenic views on all sides, every day is a suitable day for nature and historic walks along the pre-marked trails. The most recommended activity for all sorts of travellers are the train rides at the Alishan Forest Railway. While a little bit crowded, you will realise the hype surrounding it once you are are taken through the most spectacular and breathtaking views of Taiwan’s natural beauty.

Taiwan is known to highly respect traditions, culture and history. Even in the Alishan National Scenic Area, the history of the land and the contribution of the aboriginal Tsou tribe in maintaining the thriving region is emphasized. With the growing multiculturalism, new prayer rooms for Muslim visitors have been installed in the National Forest Recreation Area. Equipped with prayer rugs and the holy Quran, the prayer rooms also provide other amenities such as translated brochures and washing facilities.

A recognised Muslim-friendly lodging in the Alishan National Scenic Area is the Long Yun Leisure Farm run by Teng Ya-yuan, who is a Muslim-Taiwanese. The restaurant serves halal-certified meals, the ingredients of which come from the farm itself. The wide resort windows offer a majestic view of the scenery, and visitors can even take up the farm’s agricultural and educational programmes.

Taiwan’s attractions are not limited to its natural bounty. It is the hospitable and respectful culture of the region that has made it an upcoming favourite travel destination for Muslim tourists hailing from different countries. With the steps taken to provide amenities to enable Muslim travellers to fulfill their religious obligations, the Alishan National Scenic Area, in addition to its scenic views and vibrant history, has made itself a convenient, yet exciting, destination to visit.

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