Sun meets the Moon

Sun Moon Lake, the biggest (and only?) lake in Taiwan, located in Yuchi Township, Nantou County, close to Taichung.

 

Our pass for the day, purchased at Taichung HSR

Leaving our house at 6am on a Sunday, we took the local train to the Hsinchu HSR from there to Taichung. It was a long weekend and the bus was full, or maybe now the weather is nice it’s always busy. Regardless there was a line (isn’t there always) and a full bus when we got on at 8:40.

the boat I wanted to be on

 After a 2 hour drive into the heart of Taiwan we arrived to a beautiful and inviting scene. It was also an organized scene, after departing the bus we are informed about boat tours, bike rentals and general information. Someone exchanged our boat vouchers for a boat ticket, so that’s what we did first.

arriving at Xuanguang

The boat is a hop-on hop-off style, with 3 stops around the lake. You start at Shuishe, the touristy hotel departure point where our bus dropped us off. The first point is to Xuanguang (Syuanguang) at this stop there is a temple and you can do some hiking. When we arrived it was very busy, people were crowded around the entry way shrine, everyone enjoying their century eggs and just spending time with each other.

We tried to escape the crowds and go find the temple, but the 2 paths we took only lead us to different bathrooms. We did find a place with a few less people and were able to get a few pictures. Roughly 30 minutes were spent here, then we got on the boat for Ita Thao.

scenes on the way to Ita Thao

The Ita Thao stop, has more activities than the first stop. It is here that you can ride the cable cars, go visit the aboriginal cultural centre and the market streets has many food offerings. When we arrived their was a celebration/festival off sorts happening but we passed right through on route to the cable cars.

the busy market street in Ita Thao

We walked down the market street eyeing options for lunch, then followed the path to the cable cars where the line was short and the ride was smooth. We opted out of the aboriginal cultural centre ticket so we were unable to access that area, which is unfortunate. After the ride and lunch we made are way back to the boats, but we were stopped.

views from the cable car ride

Mishele Moment: we were eating our lunch on a bench, and a man came over to tell us that the festival/celebration was offering free ice cream. I heard free ice cream, it was a hot day, I was down for that. However, he didn’t mention the process we had to go through for this free ice cream. It was a birthday celebration for Buddha and they wanted to share some information about it, so a young man instructed by his father (who told us about the ice cream) helped us through all the steps. The young man spoke English well and told us about his father; he guided us on bathing the buddha, spinning the prayer wheels, writing wishes of good luck and making a Mother’s day card. During the entire process, I was still eating and the event photographers were snapping pictures every 5 seconds, frustrating.

Prayer wheels, you must spin every wheel and go around three times.

When we were finished they sprang the big one us: “Can you say this Chinese sentence on camera?” We were flummoxed, despite being in the country for quite some time, my Chinese is non-existent. It was the hardest video I’ve ever made in my life and it was literally 4 words! After all of that they let us go, with a few parting gifts like tea from the area and a bottle of blessed water; I also had my free ice cream during the process, but it was so warm that it was melting. As we were heading back to the boat I looked down and remembered: I was rocking a shirt that said, “Killin’ it, All the time”. Needless to say they have not posted the video nor pictures of us, on their website.

on the right the camera man and far left our guide

After this, we took the boat back to Shuishe, where we rented bike and rode along the trail. It was very busy and congested with pedestrians, bikes and electric bikes. We rode until a landmark area, learned that there was still 30 minutes more riding necessary to make it to the end and turned around. I somehow rented the bike with the baby wheels, which meant extra force was needed to pedal, and it made me tired to say the least.

the land mark

Despite that, I am really surprised I made it most of the way without an incident. Upon returning our bikes, we got some juice and took a break while we waited for the bus. Despite returning early or so we thought, the line was long (as always) and  we missed the bus and had to wait 40 more minutes for the next one. In all it was a good way to spend a weekend, and a definite must see if you’re in Taiwan.

It seems like I’m always having moments, while I travel! What kind of moments have you had? Comment below, like, share and subscribe. Travel on.

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