The Rueili Scenic Spot is located in Meishan Township, Chiayi County, with an elevation above sea level of 1000 to 1200 meters or so. The Rueili Village was called the “Young Leaf Forest” because there were many “Young Leaf” trees here; so many that they became forests. It was renamed Rueili when the Japanese were here. On the east side of Rueili, across from the Sizai River, are the Cao Mountain and the Fongshan Scenic spot; on the west side, across from the Shengmaoshu River, are the Bihu Tea Specialty Area and the Taiping Scenic spot; on the south side are the Liping Forest Railway and the Fenci Lake Scenic Spot; on the north, across from the Cingshuei River is the Cao Mountain Scenic Spot so it is the center of the grand Alishan tourist area.
In the old days, the Rueili neighborhood is mainly the territory of the Zouzu people, Dabangkana Association. They didn’t value land that much back then, so in the first year of Cing Jiacing (1979), Jhangjhou people peacefully traded with the Zouzu people with clothing, salt, knives, huge bronze tripods and matches for the land. In the early era of cultivation, chopping off the camphor trees was the main motivation for the Han people to be here. The abandoned cooking places near the Yun Pond Waterfall can prove that. Rice from water fields was a necessity for ancient people. The platform environment has plenty of water resources so it’s most suitable for growing rice. Besides that, burning coal and chopping off bamboos to make paper, and picking up bamboo shoots for making dry bamboo shoots are important businesses too. Furthermore, Rueili’s high mountain tea is famous for its purity and excellent quality due to the appropriate climate, the excellent soil quality, and the hard efforts of the tea farmers here. Spring tea in March and April and winter tea in October through February next year are the favorite for tea lovers. If you ever visit here, you much go to the tea factory to have a taste of the long-lasting sweetness of the good tea.
Woods here are mostly cassia bamboo trees and fir trees, among a wide variety of all others. Every year the flower season starts in the chill winter and ends in April. During then you will see plum blossoms, peach blossoms, pear blossoms, as well as mountain cherry blossoms, lily flowers and chestnut flowers everywhere, very beautiful. Plus the green bamboo woods and tea gardens, it looks really like a paradise. The famous “Rueili Eight Landscapes” are located on two hiking routes: one is between Rueili and Jiaoliping; there are the Yun Pond Waterfall, the Swallow Cliff, the Thousand-Year Bat Cave, and the Youth Mountain, mostly near the old Rueili Hotel. The other one is between Rueili and Fenci Lake.
Centered by the Ruolan Village, the landscapes include the Long-Mountain Sun-Watching Peak, the Echo Valley and the Illusion Valley. Furthermore, there are other landscapes like the Shih House, the Monkey Group Waterfall, the Rueitai Ancient Walk and the Green Tunnel, the new Shuangsi Waterfall, the Mystery Valley, and the Magnificent Rock Cliff.
The “Yun Pond Waterfall” is considered the number one landscape, about 200 meters high. The water falls in between the giant stones and has three layers. Each layer has a pond surface. Layer three is the most magnificent one among them. The number two landscape is an outstanding cliff, the “Swallow Cliff”. The cliff surface is full of horizontal stripes due to wind erosion, very clear to see, and full of fine, very organized holes. Many swallows come here to build nests for that reason so it got the name. When it’s raining, the mountain springs fall through it, making it a water-curtain cave. Next to it is the number three landscape: the “Thousand Year Bat Cave”, a huge lime cliff more than 200 meters long. There are thousands of big and small stone holes on the cliff because of mountain movements and erosions for millions of years, looking spectacular too. The number four landscape is the “Youth Mountain”, a Z-shape upwards path going through the cassia bamboo woods, one kilometer long with an average slope of about 60 degree, at some points it’s even as steep as 70 degree, so it’s not easy to hike here, taking about 1 hour, a good place to challenge your endurance. They said it’s a good place to test a young man’s persistence so they called it the Youth Mountain. The number five landscape is the “Yuansing Temple”, the faith center for the village people here. It was built in 1871 and is a historical testimony for mountain citizens here. The number six landscape is the “Long-Mountain Sun-Watching Building” on the mountain edge, a good spot to view lights in Alishan, snow on Mountain Jade, and the valley cloud sea in Wufong Township. The number 7 landscape is the “Echo Valley”. It is an original forest valley and echoes very well. The number 8 landscape is the “Illusion Valley”, composed by some stone caves of different sizes, about 30, 40 meters long. The caves are all connected
to each other, making it a complex like a maze.
In addition to all above landscapes, there is something unique you can do in the Rueili Scenic Spot: firefly watching. Since people are more and more conscious on ecology protection and preservation these years, there is not much damage from lights. Plus the weather is appropriate, and the Rueili Village people spend lots of efforts to re-grow the fireflies, the best season for firefly watching is from April through July every year. You get to see thousands and thousands of fireflies in the bush, shimmering like stars at night, in response to the real stars in the sky, making it quite an experience. Many parents bring their children to come here just for that.
The Rueili Scenic Spot is like a heaven on earth. No matter you go hiking during the day or you take a journey for its night ecology, it will be worthwhile to take your time and experience the different faces of this paradise.
Location: Meishan Township, Chiayi County
Open Hours: Anytime all year round, free entrance
There is no gas station in the mountains, so please fulfill your tank in Jhuci or Meishan before you go up to the mountain.
There is quite a difference in temperature between day and night in the mountains, so please prepare winter clothes for the coldness.
Exit at Dounan→158 Yi County Highway→Yongguang→Tai 3 Province Highway → Meishan →162 Jia County Highway →The Rueili Scenic Spot
(No need to go through the Dounan Paying Station; the road is mostly flat.)
Exit at Dalin→162 County Highway、Tai 3 Province Highway to go to Meishan →162 Jia County Highway →The Rueili Scenic Spot
Exit at Chiayi→ go down straight on Linsen Road in Chiayi City→towards Jhuci → Chia 122 Township Road →The
Rueili Scenic Spot
The 2nd Highway:
Exit at Meishan → towards Meishan →162 Jia County Highway →The Rueili Scenic Spot
Exit at Jhuci →166 County Highway→ Chia 122 Township Road →The Rueili Scenic Spot
Tai 78 Expressway→Exit at Gukeng System, go on the 2nd Highway→ Exit at Meishan →162 Jia County Highway →The Rueili Scenic Spot
4. Alishan Highway
Tai 18 Province Highway→go on 169 County Highway at Shihjhuo→Passing Fenci Lake、Taihe→The Rueili Scenic Spot
Ride Chiayi County Bus in front of the Chiayi Train Station going to Ruei Peak, only 2 buses a day
Ride Alishan Small Train at Chiayi Train Station going to the Jiaoliping Station, then walk to Reili, taking about 2-3 hours
Ride Taisi Bus in the back of the Douliou Train Station going to Meishan, then walk as the above.