We got to the B&B from Fenqihu where we had taken the Alishan Forest Train up from Chiayi. We ended up taking a taxi to Tea Cloud and arrived before our room was ready. As such, Karsing, the owner's son, offered to take us to a trail in nearby Shizhuo. We were brought to the starting point, shown a map and told to call him when we reached the end point at the 7-Eleven in Shizhuo. The only advice given was that the first portion of the walk was steep, and we could opt for the shorter route (1 hr) or the longer route (2 -3 hrs). The walk turned out to be a climb up to the top of a mountain ridge that looked down over several tea plantations and mountains that stretched as far as the horizon. It was a spectacular view and well-worth the arduous climb up and steep slopes down. We just wish we were more adequately prepared for it and were asked whether we had sufficient water or energy for such a tiring trail. The short route turned out to be a 2+ hour route, and we met other hikers who had been walking on the longer route since morning!
The owner Mr Liu and his son are affable hosts, with the former being more willing to talk and share his obvious passion and pride in his family tea plantation and the life he leads. If he has time, Mr Liu will brew you many cups of tea and tell you stories, take you to his tea plantation and make you guess all the different varieties of fruit and vegetable he also has growing there. He and his son will drive you speedily to Shizhuo for dinner or to take the bus up to Alishan. They also arrange for transport to see the sunrise at Alishan and we left at 4 am from Tea Cloud for that.
Rooms are comfortable and more than adequate although hot water is not consistent throughout the day. Breakfast is homestyle, homemade and delicious. Mr Liu is also into chinese calligraphy and takes pride in his collection which you can also admire and chat with him about.
If you enjoy personal attention that a Taiwanese minshu can provide, Tea Cloud has all that in the owner, Mr Liu. It's almost like staying in the home of a relative you don't meet often.