How to Book the Sun Moon Lake to Alishan Bus (seat guaranteed!)

How to buy a bus ticket from Alishan to Sun Moon Lake or Sun Moon Lake to Alishan

The bus from Sun Moon Lake to Alishan (or Alishan to Sun Moon Lake) is a high-demand route among visitors to Taiwan.

With only one departure per day in each direction, and no other direct public transportation route between the two famous attractions, you don’t want to miss this bus!

While most people just line up and swipe EasyCard to ride this bus, the line can be very long in peak tourist seasons, and some people might not even get on. During cherry blossoms season (February at SML and March-April at Alishan), the bus is sometimes sold out days in advance.

To eliminate stress about not getting on, you can actually reserve a seat on this bus. In this article, I’ll tell you exactly how.

See my similar guides to booking seats on the bus from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake and Chiayi to Alishan. Also see my guides to visiting Sun Moon Lake and Alishan.

Alishan to Sun Moon Lake Bus Key Info

A wide mountain vista of Yushan National Park in Taiwan
Enjoy the scenery – you will pass Yushan National Park on the way!
  • Bus #6739 is operated by Yuanlin Bus Company (員林客運), which is based in Changhua, but also runs buses to places in Nantou (like Sun Moon Lake) and Chiayi (like Alishan)
  • Sun Moon Lake to Alishan Departure time: 8 AM
  • Alishan to Sun Moon Lake Departure time: 1 PM
  • Traveling time: 3 hours 50 min, with one short break on the way
  • Sun Moon Lake bus stop location: here across from the Visitor’s Information Center in Shuishe Village (the main village on Sun Moon Lake)
  • Alishan bus stop location: Alishan Bus Station here
  • Before COVID, there were actually two buses per day in each direction. However, they cut it back to one during the pandemic and there’s still only one. Maybe in the future it will go back to two.
  • At slow times, it was a minibus, but as the tourist numbers continue to rise, you may find it’s now a regular bus. If it’s a minibus, you need to carry your luggage on board. If it’s a regular bus, you can put it in the compartment under the bus.
  • Even if you book your seat online, you’ll still pay for the bus on the spot.
  • From now until August 31, 2025, if you swipe EasyCard (order here) or iPass to ride the bus, you’ll get a 50% discount.
  • The full fare from Alishan to Sun Moon Lake (or Sun Moon Lake to Alishan) is TWD 295. The half-price fare (if swiping with EasyCard or iPass) is TWD 148. Make sure your card has a positive balance before swiping (it can go into the negatives, but it just needs to have above 0 balance before swiping).
  • For kids, if they want a seat, they need to pay the same price as adults. If your child is under 6 and you don’t mind to hold them or share your seat with them the whole way, they don’t need to pay.
  • The ride is quite winding, so you should purchase carsickness medicine (暈車藥) from a local pharmacy in Taiwan if needed, and bring a plastic bag just in case.
  • If you need it, there are luggage storage lockers (max 72 hours) at Sun Moon Lake and Alishan. See their exact locations here and my guide to storing luggage in these lockers.

How to Reserve a Seat on the Bus

Booking a spot on the bus from Sun Moon Lake to Alishan (or Alishan to Sun Moon Lake) is super easy (unlike some other popular tourist bus routes in Taiwan!)

You can make the reservation 2 months to 2 days before your riding date. I wouldn’t wait until the last minute, though – more than 2 days in advance is safer, since they took 2 full days to reply to my reservation email.

Step 1: Download and Complete Form

A screenshot of a Microsoft word form for booking a bus from Sun Moon Lake to Alishan, with a table where one needs to write one's personal info and bus departure info
Alishan – Sun Moon Lake bus booking form

The first thing you need to do is go to this page on the Yuanlin Bus Company website. At the bottom of the page, there’s a Microsoft Word icon (yes, this bus company is stuck in the early 2000s…) and the words “(6739) Sun Moon Lake-Alishan Line Reservation Form”.

There’s also a Riding Guide pdf that you can download, but you won’t find any super important info in it (they even include some Chinese phrases you can try to say to the driver, but good luck with that!)

Click to download the Word form. Depending on what browser you use and its security settings, your browser may block the download and say it’s not secure. Check for some words like “download anyway” or “keep” and click to override the security block.

Open the form and complete the following information:

  • Upload Date and Email at the top (I almost missed these due to the color)
  • Contact Person: Just put one name, even if you are booking for multiple people
  • Phone: I just put my Canada phone number, including country code and area code. It doesn’t need to be a Taiwan number. They won’t call you. If you got a Taiwan SIM and number, then sure, put it.
  • Number of seats taken: Only write the number of seats you need. If you are two adults with two children and you want them to each have their own seats, then put 4. If you are two babies or toddlers which you are OK to hold in your lap the whole way, then put 2. Maximum 1 lap child per adult.
  • Departure Point: Enter Sun Moon Lake or Alishan
  • Departure Date: The date you want to go. I suggest you write the month name. Don’t put something like 4/8/2024. Because some countries (like Taiwan) write year/month/day and some countries (like Singapore) write day/month/year. Put something like “April 8, 2024” to avoid confusion.
  • Departure time: Write 8:00 if you want the Sun Moon Lake departure or 13:00 if you are boarding at Alishan.

You can feel free to GoogleTranslate the additional notes in Mandarin at the bottom of the form, but there isn’t anything important that I’m not mentioning in this article, and some of the notes even contradict information on the website.

For example, the notes say you must do this at least a week in advance, but the website says 2 days in advance. The price mentioned on the form is also different than the current bus price. I would trust the information on the bus company’s website (and my article), which were both published more recently than when this form was first made.

Step 2: Email Form to Bus Company

Once you’ve completed the form, simply copy-past the email address in the form ( and send an email to the bus company with the completed form attached.

When I sent mine, I included a brief message and email subject in English. I don’t think it matters – all that matters is the form.

Step 3: Receive Confirmation

Screenshot of an email sent from Yuanlin bus company confirming a ticket reservation on the bus from Sun Moon Lake to Alishan, in Mandarin, with some characters in red and some in black.
Email confirmation I received

I sent the form in on Saturday morning (Taiwan time) to reserve two seats, and sure enough, on Monday morning, they replied with my reservation confirmation (see above screenshot). Another traveler told me that when they sent it on a weekday, they got a reply on the same day.

Although I can read Mandarin (albeit at the level of a grade 3 student…), if I plug their message into GoogleTranslate, here’s what it says:

Hello, the reservation has been completed for you. Your seat code on April 17th is 18.19. Sun Moon Lake departs at 8 o’clock. If you take the bus on the same day, please show your reservation email to prove that the bus location at Sun Moon Lake is Shuishe Visitor Center. The bus location at Alishan is Alishan Transfer Station. In front of 7-11

Pay cash to the driver (no change will be given) or swipe your EasyCard or All-in-One Card (one card per person. Please go to Taiwan convenience store 7-11 to purchase and store value) to get on the bus. Hold the electronic ticket to enjoy a one-way half-price discount of NT$148.

GoogleTranslate is not perfect, so I can clarify a few points in their email here:

  • 18.19 would be my two seat numbers.
  • There’s no booking number. You just show this email when boarding.
  • When boarding, if you want to pay in cash, you have to prepare exact change (TWD 295 per seat), or swipe EasyCard or iPass (not “All-in-One Card”, which is an incorrect translation).
  • Make sure your smartcard has a positive value on it before trying to swipe. Load at any 7-Eleven beforehand if needed.
  • If you swipe with EasyCard or iPass (from now until August 31, 2025), you get a 50% discount, so only TWD 148 will be deducted from your card when you swipe.

Step 4: Show Booking and Pay to Board Bus

A huge tree stump in a misty forest
Huge ancient trees at Alishan

On the day of boarding, since you have a booked seat, you don’t need to arrive so early and line up at the bus stop.

At the bus stop, there will indeed be a line. Feel free to join the line or not. Many travelers don’t realize you can book seats on this bus, so they may be confused or think you trying to skip the line if you just stand at the front.

When the bus arrives, the driver will first ask anyone who has a pre-booked seat (that’s you!) to come forward. In some cases, there may even be staff on hand to check who has booked seats before the bus even arrives.

Swipe your EasyCard/iPass or pay exact cash when boarding the bus and take the seat indicated on your booking email.

You’ll need to swipe your EasyCard or iPass again when getting off the bus.

How to Cancel Your Reservation

A blue cable car with cute bear on the side and Sun Moon Lake far below
Sun Moon Lake Ropeway

If you want to cancel your reservation, this is very simple – just reply to the email confirmation you received and tell them that you want to cancel the booking. There’s no fee to do it, since you haven’t even paid yet.

When I canceled my reservation in this way, they never replied.

And that’s it! Enjoy your trip to Sun Moon Lake and Alishan!

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