Taipei, Alishan, one of Taiwan's most-visited attractions in the southwest of the country, will welcome its annual Cherry Blossom Festival on March 9.
The event will run through April 10, the Forestry Bureau and Directorate General of Highways (DGH) announced Tuesday.
According to the Chiayi Forest District Office, the blossom period is expected to arrive seven to 10 days earlier, as the weather this year is warmer than in previous years.
About 80 percent to 90 percent of Taiwan cherry and Okame Cherry have bloomed, with 50 percent of Wusheh cherry in full bloom, enabling visitors to appreciate the blossoms during the 228 Peace Memorial Day holiday, the office said.
The Yoshino cherry trees at the Alishan Work Station, however, are expected to be in full bloom March 10-25.
During the cherry blossom season, traffic controls from the 65.5-kilometer mark on No. 18 Provincial Highway to Hudi in Chiayi will start from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., with controls from the 145-km mark on No. 21 Provincial Highway to Tatachia in Nantou from 7 a.m.-11 a.m.
Small vehicles with no required documents such as work permits or resident certificates will not be allowed to drive through this section during the traffic control period.
Among the 16,000 permitted visitors per day, 10,000 spots will be reserved for group visits, 2,000 tickets for local hotel lodgers, 2,000 for individual travelers and 2,000 for visitors entering at times outside the control periods, according to the DGH.
Individual travelers can park their vehicles at a parking lot at the 61-km mark on No. 18 Provincial Highway and take a shuttle bus to the Alishan Forest Recreation Area. They will then be able to buy admission tickets to the park at a 25 percent discount for NT$150 (US$4.87).
Starting from March 1, bus tickets can be purchased at the 7-Eleven, Hi-Life, Family Mart and on the HO-HSIN bus website.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel