Thousands brave the cold to see year’s first sunrise

By Tseng Ti-chiang, Tsai Tsung-hsien and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Wed, Jan 02, 2019 - Page 2

Braving cold weather and gray skies, tens of thousands of people yesterday flocked to national parks to see the new year’s first sunrise.

Chiayi County’s Alishan (阿里山), whose peaks rise to an average of 2,500m, are a perennial favorite with New Year’s Day sunrise watchers. Nearly 10,000 people were on the mountain range early yesterday morning in temperatures hovering at about 4°C to 5°C.

This year’s popular spots on Alishan were a scenic platform on Jhushan (祝山), Siaoliyuanshan (小笠原山) and Dueigaoyue (對高岳), where a concert hosted by the Forestry Bureau drew a large crowd.

Several visitors waiting for trains on the Alishan Forest Railway said they headed to the peaks immediately after New Year’s Eve revelries to find a spot with a good view.

The special trains — which started at 1:50am — were packed full of passengers.

After sunrise at 7:04am, sunrays appeared for about 15 seconds through thick clouds.

The skies above Hehuanshan (合歡山) in Nantou County were clear enough to reward the watchers — many of whom had been on the road for an hour or more — with golden rays at 6:38am.

A man named Tsai Rong-chan (蔡榮展) said he felt lucky to be able to capture the moment in photographs.

In Pingtung County’s Kenting (墾丁), about 10,000 people waited throughout the early hours on the eastward-facing cliff of Lungpan Park, but cloudy skies obscured the sunrise.

The visitors dispersed in apparent good spirits after waiting more than 30 minutes after the time of sunrise at 6:35am, wishing each other a happy new year as they left.