It’s been said that the excursion train running 20 minutes up the mountain from the town of Jiji is Taiwan’s most popular scenic railway. It could be, because even on a Tuesday, it was packed. This narrow-gauge railway was built to haul logs to a sawmill, but no more, now it just hauls people. You can still see what we’d guess are the abandoned lumber buildings just as the train starts climbing out of Jiji. It’s picturesque, all right, but, like we here at WoWasis found out, you’ll never get on the train if you don’t have a few of things figured out first:
1) The Colonial-style Jiji railway station isn’t that easy to find. There are a few false starts in Jiji, but if you’ve got your GPS, it’s right at GPS: N23°49.600’ E120°47.120’
2) The ticket agents don’t speak English, and there are several other train options in Jiji. The agents aren’t used to seeing westerners there, so can’t easily predict that we’re there for the excursion train. It costs NT$ 28, though, and one train always leaves there at 11:13. Just point to the price and time, or find a friendly person who speaks English (we ran into two women from Hong Kong who helped us out).
3) Stay on the train, and don’t get off until it’s back in Jiji. Once it goes up the hill, it comes right down, so the 11:13 departing round trip returns to Jiji at 12 noon or so.
This is a fun, quick excursion that consists of a lovely ride aboard clean cars outfitted with moon doors, a wonderful Taiwanese touch that adds to the experience. The town of Jiji, is located in Central West Taiwan, a few km east of the city of Nantou. It’s also on Highway 16, one of the roads going to Sun Moon Lake.
For more information, visit:
Jiji Visitor Center
Jiji, Nantou County
Jiji station GPS: N23°49.600’ E120°47.120’