Saturday, May 11, 2019

Where to stay in Alishan (阿里山) - David's House (茶米屋)

Finding a place to stay in Alishan was one of the most difficult task in our 2 weeks family trip to Taiwan. Just googling for an accommodation in Alishan itself is extremely confusing for first timer like myself (because the area is huge!). It really depends on what you plan to do at Alishan to then determine where you would like to stay.

There are Five Wonders of Alishan (阿里山五奇) and we would love to experience them all on our trip.
  1. Alishan Forest Railway (铁路)
  2. Forest Trail  (森林)
  3. Sunrise (日出)
  4. Sunset (晚霞)
  5. Sea of Clouds (云海)

I shortlisted three main areas around Alishan that we could consider.
- Alishan Forest Recreation Area (阿里山国家森林游乐区)
- Fenchihu/Fenqihu (奋起湖)
- Xiding (隙顶)

Hotels inside the Alishan Forest Recreation Area is the most convenient option as it saves you the hassle of taking a ride up to the mountains to catch the sunrise or tour. However, it also means you will need to pay a little more and some of the hotels appeared old and not very well-maintained.

There are also many minsu - 民宿 (homestay) at the outskirts of the National Park.  I was mainly looking at Fengchihu (奋起湖) and Xiding (隙顶) because Fenchihu is a nostalgic town surrounded by many small eateries and shops. Xiding on the other hand is further from Alishan National Park but it is close to Eryanping trail where many photographers travel down to try their luck to catch the sea of clouds (云海).

After reading through many reviews online and much considerations between price, location, comfort and experience, we decided to go for Homestay - David's House (茶米屋) at Xiding (隙顶).

We actually paid a higher price for the room (~SGD235 per night). With this price, you can actually find an accommodation within the Alishan Forest Recreation Area and save a lot of time on travelling. Still, we found charm in David's House that prompted us to stay for 2 nights without regrets.

Date of Stay : 5 - 6 December 2018

We arrived slightly earlier at around 2pm on Day 5 of our trip via a chartered car. For family travelers with luggage, this is the most convenient option. We were warmly welcomed by our host who led us to our room which is inside a little yellow house across the road. 

David's House (茶米屋) - Main receiving area and where stay-in guests have their breakfast. Bus stop is located just outside of the homestay.

茗達製茶 is next to David's House. The Tea House is a self-produced tea shop operated by the boss and his wife. They also have a son whom I believe managed the publicity of the homestay, enquiries and booking of the rooms.

Xiding Elementary School

Getting to David's House is pretty convenient simply because there are bus stops right outside the homestay/minsu. Travelers can take 台湾好行 bus 7322 from Chiayi Railway Station or bus 7329 from Chiayi High Speed Rail Station respectively straight to 茶米屋. If you are afraid that you will miss the stop at Xiding (隙頂站), look out for the prominent landmark is Xiding Elementary School (隙頂國小) which indicates that you will need to alight.

Both buses also go straight to Alishan Forest Recreation Area which is about 1 hour bus ride from David's House. 

Simply check out the bus arrival/departure time while planning your itinerary. 

We took Bus 7322 to Alishan Forest Recreation Area because the first bus arrives at 730am sharp. The timing is just nice for us to depart after having our breakfast.


David's House rooms are located in 2 houses - both just separated by a road. The twin-sharing room (日出房) is on the 2nd floor of the 2-storey house. There are 2 family rooms (時光房, 花語房) inside the house opposite the Tea House. This is where we will be staying for the next 2 nights.

Luckily, we were the only family staying in the house as there was a last minute cancellation for the other room! So delighted that we have the entire space and privacy to our own. 

Terrace/Garden area upon entering the small gate. For awhile, it felt like home away from home. Living in a cottage house, in a quiet town and enjoying the peace and tranquility away from the crowd. 

Our family room (花語房) though not very spacious, is clean, cozy and welcoming. We have 2 big comfortable beds and the interior deco feels just like home.

Little ornaments and pots around the house

There is even LINE - Cony plush toy!

Posing with Cony

The hosts folded the towels beautifully into a pair of swans accompanied with a lovely welcome note for their guests.

Since we are on top of the mountains, the air is really cooling. There is no air-condition inside the house but it does not feel too warm in the day. In case guests wish to have more breeze in the room, a standing fan is provided. In the night, the temperature drops and it feels even cooler that we do need to cover ourselves with the blankets.

Toilet is clean and bright. Towels and toothbrushes are provided as well.

Video Tour of the Family Room


Eryanping Trail (二延平)

One of the main reason why we decided to stay in David's House is the proximity to Eryanping Trail to catch the sea of clouds (云海). The Eryanping Trail starts beside Highway No. 18 at about 53km mark while David's House is at the 55.1km mark. The lady boss drove us to Eryanping to wait for the Sea of Clouds and if we are not too late, we can give her a call to drive us back too.

Eryangping is a gorgeous place for walks and many avid photographers station here just to capture the sunset and sea of clouds. However, it is really dependent on the weather and you may miss it if it gets too foggy or rainy.


When the night falls, it is very quiet at Xiding. There are no shopping malls, or night markets in the vicinity. It is the perfect time to rest your body and mind and take a break from the crowd. I guess in order not to let urban city stayers like us feel too bored, the cordial and courteous hosts give their guests a free DIY Aiyu Jelly (野生愛玉) making experience on the first night. This is how real Aiyu looks like and we learnt the step by step process on how to make them.

From the scrapping to rubbing, it definitely takes a lot of effort to enjoy a delicious bowl of Aiyu Jelly. Taste absolutely different from the ones we had in the dessert shops in Singapore. 

The fruit of our labour - DIY home-made Aiyu Jelly

Very often, we were invited to have tea with the host. The home brewed tea was very fragrant and if you like them, you can purchase some tea leave packets back home too. The boss also taught us how to brew and appreciate tea. The children had fun and love the refreshing flavour. It feels great to have some warm tea in the cold night.


Unfortunately, there are no eateries within walking distance from David's House. However, you can check in with the hosts and they can drive you at the nearby dining place. Alternatively, there is a Hi-Life convenience shop (similar to 7-Eleven) only 2-3 minutes walk away from David's House where you can purchase hot snacks, drinks and instant noodles.

It is colder in the nights and can be foggy as well. Thankfully, it is only a short walk away and there are street lamps along the road side.

Hot buns/hotdogs available. 

We bought some instant noodle bowls and had an alfresco dining right outside the terrace garden!

The noodles must have smell very nice that a dog came peering into the gates as we are preparing to have our dinner. 

The noodles were surprisingly DELICIOUS! We actually enjoyed sitting outside under the 13-14°C foggy weather, slurping our warm instant noodles and drinking the cold Plum Wine (梅酒) we bought from Sun Moon Lake.

Breakfast is also well-taken care of at David's House. I always appreciate home-cooked meals and food in the mountains feels very grounded and at home.

Day 1 Breakfast

Lady boss makes sure there is enough food to fill our tummies. Even though we had porridge breakfast but it was a sumptuous one. 

A big bowl of floss to go with our porridge.

At first I thought this was just a simple melon, but it is actually Chayote (佛手瓜) which is commonly seen on the Alishan mountains. 

A simple plate of eggs looks so appetizing with just an ingenious touch of creativity and heart.

We had sweet persimmon and dessert after meal. The dessert looks really interesting which I have never try before. It looks like a mix of thick rice noodle (米苔目) with small tomato and lemon slice. A little too sweet for our taste bud but we had a very filling breakfast.

Day 2 Breakfast

Our porridge bowl.

There will always be porridge, 3 main dishes, 1 fruit and 1 dessert filling up the whole table which makes our breakfast looks so appetizing! A great way to start the day. I appreciate the lady boss's effort to set the table to make it looks so pretty.



Alishan is also well known for its beautiful sunrise. After much thoughts, we decided not to go with the crowd to wake up at wee hours and take the Alishan Forest Railway to Zhushan to catch the sunrise. Sunrise can be seen right from outside David's House from the viewing platform of Xiding Elementary School! Right here you can spot the Elephant Mountain (象山) too.

Here is a short video click introducing the surroundings of David's House and where you can see the sunrise.

Price apart, we enjoyed our 2 nights stay at David's House and enjoyed the lovely hospitality of the hosts. Though we did not have much luck to have a good view of the Sea of Clouds and sunset view at Eryanping, it has been a wholesome experience and attempt to conquer the 5 wonders of Alishan. Thank you for driving us, teaching us how to make Aiyu Jelly, sharing your tea appreciation experience and the delicious breakfast that kept us energised through the day. That is the charm of David's House. 

Summary Notes:
- Free Wifi
- Fan (No air-condition)
- Window view
- Flooring - Wooden
- Water Flask - available
- Safety Box - not available
- Hair Dryer - available
- Phone - not available
- Mini Fridge - not available

- Bath towels are provided
- Separated Toilet and Bath/Shower room
- Hot shower available.
- Bathtub not available
- Disposable toothbrush/toothpaste/comb provided

David's House (茶米屋)
Address: No.42-2, Xiding, Fanlu Township, Chiayi County 602, Taiwan
Tel: 0921213117, 05-2586117

No comments:

Post a Comment