Friday, October 31, 2014

Taiwan Trip - When the Sun Kiss the Moon at Sun Moon Lake

The second day of the trip! Or should I say, the first full day of the trip?

Our destination was Sun Moon Lake. Sun Moon Lake is the biggest water body in Taiwan and it is located in Nantou County. It was said that Thao hunters were led by a white deer to discover this lake. When the people discovered this lake, the whole tribe was move here. Sun Moon Lake was also a home to 11 aboriginal tribes of Taiwan. This lake is called Sun Moon Lake because when you look it from the top, you can see the shape of the sun and the crescent moon.

We have bought Sun Moon Lake Pass at Taichung HSR Railway Station the day before. The pass cost us NTD 680 per person (~SGD 30) and we were entitled for return trip to Sun Moon Lake by bus, round trip around Sun Moon Lake by boat and bus, return cable car journey from Ita Thao to Aboriginal Village, and some discounts on bicycle rental and stuffs.

If you are to visit Sun Moon Lake Aboriginal Village, you can buy the higher level pass at NTD 990 per person. It will entitle you with whatever I got plus the entry to the theme park.

The schedule shown in the website implies that the bus will start from Taichung Gancheng Station and then Taichung TRA Station and Taichung HSR Station before going to Puli and Sun Moon Lake. However, the guy at the counter told us that the bus usually did not stop at Taichung TRA Station & Taichung HSR Station because it would be full at Taichung Gancheng Station. He advised us to walk to Gancheng Station to avoid disappointment.

So here I was, ready for my journey!

A reason to put on my make up: travel!

 Luckily Taichung Gancheng Station and our hotel is not far. Asking direction from the hotel and occasionally along the road, we found the right bus station after walking about 15 minutes.

A clear sign board

Behind this bus stop there are shophouses of different bus company

We rode Nantou Bus according to the schedule in Sun Moon Lake website and it was pretty on schedule. We queued and managed to secure 3 seats at the back of the bus. The bus was clean and quite comfortable for a 1-hour journey.

I sat exactly at the back of the bus, in the middle!

After a long winding road, the bus stopped in front of Suishe Visitor Centre. We alighted and walked along the shophouses to Suishe Pier

Suishe Visitor Centre 
The quiet street in the morning
This is the pier where we alighted to the boat. There is a small booth selling boat ticket there, just show your ticket stub (from Sun Moon Lake Pass) and the officer will mark you with the stamp.

There was practically nothing here, except the water. So we just queued and waited for our boat to arrive.

Boats from different operators
This is how the boat look like at the inside. There is always a guide to tell us stories about Sun Moon Lake on every journey.
There's something interesting about that tiny land in the middle of the lake, but I don't know what

We arrived at Xuanguang Pier in about 15 minutes time. After queueing for awhile, we alighted from the boat and we were welcomed by a shock.


So many people.

Everywhere I looked, I saw people's head.

People seemed to gather at this side of the lake. Can you catch a glimpse of them?

And to be honest, it was super hot and humid. The sun shone so brightly, people competed for oxygen. The trees could not help.

We moved to one quieter side and took some pictures

There are quite a number of this kind of stones around the lake and there was one in front of Xuanguang Temple which is extremely famous. Just because some people ever quarrelled there to take pictures. But I didn't care, it's the same stone with the same words anyway.

We moved up the stairs full of people to go to Xuanguang Temple. Some said that the remain of Master Xuangzang was kept in Xuanguang Temple. Master Xuangzang was the renowned monk of Tang Dynasty who travelled 17 years from China to India to retrieve the sacred book of Buddha. He was the inspiration of Journey to the West!

The stairs to reach Xuanguang Temple
You can see the pier and Suishe at afar
Finally we reached the temple!
This is the altar where Master Xuanzang reside now

At the back of the temple, there is a stone statue. This statue shows silhouette of a person with the fingers. Some people try to imitate the pose.

I shot random people sometimes.

I was appealed by the road behind the statue. 850m walk and you will find yourself at Wenwu Temple. So, I was so on to walk. I thought it would not be so difficult, but it was indeed!

This is the road at the front. Gentle slope. Easy peasy.

And it changed to be steep stairway at the last 300m or so. I was breathless but I kept going. I could not stop!

No regret when I reached the top. Magnificent

Wenwu Temple was built in 1938. It was built at the higher ground because people were afraid that raising water level would cover the other temples. Wenwu Temple has both mortal and immortal gods.

Magnificent Wenwu Temple
This is my favourite shot!
The view from the top

I spent about 15 minutes to walk up, 10 minutes to catch my breath and get some shots, and another 15 minutes to go down. Mom and Ah Yi were waiting for me at Xuanguang Temple so I couldn't take too long.

When we finally walked back to the pier, we walked pass the famous Ah Ma Tea Leaves Egg and bought 4 pieces for NTD 50 (~SGD 2.2).

This is the humble stall but in one day she could sell more than 1000.

We crossed the lake again to Ita Thao. There are much more things to see in Ita Thao. We also had our simple lunch there.

What I saw when I walked out of the boat. That building is a huge visitor centre.

Ita Thao.
A row of shophouses with merchandises, foods, and stuffs

After walking, shopping, and eating, we walked towards the cable car station. The trail route was okay but I got pretty bored to admire the lake. So we just walked, walked, and walked until we reached the queue for the cable car.

The queue moved very fast and just in a glimpse of an eye, we were sitting inside the cable car having bird eye views of the lake.

Impressive, yes?
I love this shot!
Can you see how steep it is when it descends?

The cable car stopped in front of Aboriginal Village Theme Park. However, our ticket did not cover that so we could only stopped there. Actually we had two-way ticket for the cable car. We didn't feel like going back to Ita Thao and getting the boat back to Suishe to catch our bus back so I asked the lady there whether I could catch the bus from here.

To my surprise, she called her colleague and her colleague picked us up with buggy and brought us the front gate of the theme park!

What a hospitality~~~

We waited at the bus stop for more than 30 minutes and closed the journey of Sun Moon Lake when we boarded the bus back to Puli.

The bus stop in the middle of nowhere

Love is in the air,
Little Feet

Next Post - Horrible Unexpected Evening to Reach Hualien

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