Thursday 30 May 2013

Taiwan: Sun Moon Lake

The hostel/minsu we chose (鱼村民宿/Fishing village hostel(?)) was pretty decent. It is much easier to reach there via ferry but we took a bus and spent quite a while to get our bearings. When we reached, the gate was (what seemed to us) locked and nobody was inside. We pushed and we pulled at the gate for about 10 minutes before we realised that it was a sliding gate... and it wasn't locked. Okaaay. So we entered and still, nobody was around. So we called the owner (thank goodness for a local SIM card) and she said they were out for breakfast and we could just leave our bags behind the counter. The room was clean and big enough for us and our bags. The toilet plus shower was really clean too, thumbs up. The owners were friendly and very keen to offer suggestions/help. Breakfast was included and consisted of porridge with side dishes (fried egg, fried vegetables, peanuts, etc). There was coffee and tea and bread(?) as well. I personally really welcomed the porridge after so much deep fried Taiwanese street food.

We purchased the round trip ropeway cable car and entrance fee for the cultural village for NT680 (student price, bring your student pass!). The ride up was fun, some parts of the floor was made of glass so you can look down at the forest below you. It was nice looking down at the tranquility of the lake, but the lake itself is really JUST A LAKE. Why is it called Sun Moon Lake? Because if you look directly down at the lake, you'll see a round lake (sun) and a crescent shaped lake (moon). We didn't see much of the cultural village because after an hour and a half, it started pouring cats and dog. So we hid in the indoor amusement park where we took the viking about five hundred times, the merry-go-round  about three thousand times (so you shouldn't be surprised to hear that I have three thousand photos of the merry-go-round, capturing every angle possible) and the indoor roller coaster about a million times. The rest of the rides were for children, actually the whole indoor amusement park is mainly for kids. Then we decided to brave the rain in our tiny raincoats and headed to the European gardens. But since I didn't want my camera to get drenched, I hid it in my raincoat and took photos through the head opening without proper aim so all the photos were slanted with no sense of photo composition. You can see part of my raincoat in the photos too haha. I guess it would be a nice garden on a nice and sunny day. I was honestly quite disappointed after the first day at Sun Moon Lake, probably due to the weather and lake of sleep.

We cycled around Sun Moon Lake on the second day, and I enjoyed myself a lot more than the previous day. There are quite a number of bridges strategically given names such as 同心桥 (One Heart Bridge) and 永结桥 (Together Forever Bridge) to attract couples. And it worked pretty well since we saw two or three couples taking wedding photographs on our two hours ride. We also went up the mountain behind our hostel to visit a temple and just to have a nice look-see. Then we took the ferry to the main station to catch a bus to our next destination - Cingjing!

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