A Fine Guesthouse in Alishan
TEXT / RICK CHARETTE
PHOTOS / RAY CHANG
This homestay/inn is located a short distance up a steep side road just before the 58km mark of Highway 18. This is a fine accommodation option with a tea-family background. The two interconnected buildings were originally the courtyard-style home and tea factory of the young owner-operator’s grandparents. Their tea fields are on the hillside behind.
There has been a complete transformation, with a bright-colored destination emerging that has the look of a California mission-style home. The roof is covered with terracotta tiles. Interior floors are surfaced with clay tiling, as is the large outdoor terrace, where breakfast is taken on friendly days.
At one end of the terrace is a white steel-frame portal in the shape of a church door, leading to a short downhill pathway, from which hangs a small church bell.
Far down at the other end, the reading/leisure section of the complex has a tall gable roof, a façade dominated by large window panes, and a chimney deliberately made to look like a steeple, giving it the distinctive look of a mission church.
Inside this section, the wood-framing décor and mountain-view windows give it more the character of a Swiss ski chalet. This is accentuated by the cozy faux fireplace in one corner – once a real fireplace, hence the chimney.
The owner grew up watching his grandparents host ever more Alishan visitors here, a friendliness that over time gave rise to a modest homestay. While working in Taipei the mountains kept calling him home, and he decided to return to maintain his grandparents’ legacy of hospitality, celebrating their beloved Alishan homeland and helping both homestay and area flourish.
In online reviews, happy customers consistently applaud the Tea Garden Homestay sunrises. A short 5-minute walk up the hillside behind brings above all building, power line, and other obstructions for a heavenly unfettered view of the great golden orb appearing over the Yushan range.
Rates for the immaculate rooms start at NT$2,800. A complimentary breakfast is served either on the terrace or in the lobby dining area, and features sausage, scrambled eggs with bacon, and garden-fresh salad.
Tea Garden Homestay (茶香花園民宿)
Add: No. 9, Longtou, Gongtian Village, Fanlu Township, Chiayi County
Website: alishan-home.com.tw (Chinese)
About the author
A Canadian, Rick has been resident in Taiwan almost continually since 1988. His book, article, and other writings, on Asian and North American destinations and subjects—encompassing travel, culture, history, business/economics—have been published widely overseas and in Taiwan. He has worked with National Geographic, Michelin, APA Insight Guides, and other Western groups internationally, and with many local publishers and central/city/county government bodies in Taiwan. Rick also handles a wide range of editorial and translation (from Mandarin Chinese) projects.