Visiting Taiwan . 30 Sep 2012. Day 3. Part 1/3 Sun Moon Lake (日月潭)

It was our third day and last day in the Nantou County (南投縣). Time really flies when we are in great company.

In the huge county that we were in, there are a few attractions which are often visited and one of them is the Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) also known as the SML in short.

This time, we travelled from Cing Jing to SML and it took us more than an hour. So, if you plan to go to SML, perhaps staying in Puli (埔里) would be a better idea as it would take a shorter travelling time. Staying in SML would be great too, as one would be able to enjoy the great sunset view at the SML but it would be rather costly as compared to staying a little further as the accommodation in the SML area were meant for tourists so the price could be jacked up intentionally and legally.

There is also one more thing to take note. If you are merely making a day trip, check with your driver/hotel/taxi driver if there were any special ferry deals available. We had bought our tickets from the ticket counter on the left of the start of the stairs leading down to the dock for 350NT per person only to realise that there were other vendors selling the same ferry tickets at a lower cost! Even having the tourist’s pass which we got from the airport did not help! Just to sidetrack a little, those between 18 years of age to 35 may obtain the tourist’s pass from the airport and from various places around the country to enjoy special discount and offers. Back to the price we paid for the ferry ride, it was a little frustrating for us as we were not informed of such a situation nor were we warned about the various prices of the ferries. Even though they may vary in size or speed and perhaps comfort, the ferries will make the same 3 stops around the lake! To make things worst, we came to know about a special package offered to a girl we knew later on our trip. The package will costs her only 100NT!  Please choose your ride on the ferries carefully from the vendor you feel most worthy of your spending.

After we got our tickets at a hefty price, we proceeded to the dock to board our ferry. Different vendors sell ferry tickets of different colour so be sure to board the rightful ferry. They are usually marked with a flag for tourists to find these vessels easily.

Onboard

Off to our first stop.

Approaching our first stop!

View from our first stop.

You might be wondering why I was crazy to have my cardigan on even though the weather was superb. It was simply because the sun was super scorching and I had to leave it on as I was really burning.  I could already feel my head sizzle. The picture above captured me trying to shield my super heated head while making my way quickly to the shady areas.

Half-way to the shades, I had already whipped out my umbrella.

On this island, we were encouraged to try the famous Grandma’s Tea-Leaf Hard Boiled Egg stewed in a concoction of  chinese mushroom sauce and tea leaves. It turned out to be really quite tasty, though I feel that tea-leaf eggs taste pretty much the same.

There’s actually a queue to buy the eggs! On the right is the picture of the grandma who came up with the secret recipe for this tea-leaf egg sold here but I don’t see the ah ma anywhere…

The island was basically flooded with many mainland tourists as our holiday coincide with their “Golden Week” which is actually a week’s long of holidays due to their National Day. 

Making our way up the flight of stairs to the temple above

The gorgeous lake 

Mainland tourists…

More mainland tourists! Just look at the crazily long queue of them queuing to take picture with a significant slab of stone. :/

To avoid the crowd (Singapore has enough of crowds! :S), we decided to go even higher up the hill to another temple that is perched right on top of the hill.

We have reached!

It was a fifteen minutes ascend and by the time we reached the top, we were drenched in perspiration but we were really glad we made the climb as it was really calm to see the area clear of all the people.

A description of the environment around the Xuan Zang Temple

I really cannot withstand the sweltering heat…

The temple was undergoing some construction and renovation then…

The panoramic view from up above

This machine is actually an automated fortune-telling lot dispenser.

After inserting the stated amount of money, a  figurine will carry a tied-up scroll and drop it down an opening. One can then collect the lot from the collection bin and have it read and explained at the temple. 🙂

The three of them took turns to get a lot and have their lots read at the temple but I did not. Be it whether it is my real fortune that is waiting for me to unfold or blame it on my cowardice to face the unknown, I’ll rather discover what’s in store for me in my life on my own as I path it slowly than to have my life misconstrued as what the lot may have stated.

After getting the lots read, we took a stroll around the premises before making our way downhill by hopping on the bus that actually goes round the lake too. The frequency of the buses can be found at each bus-stops.  The buses actually travel in both directions, uphill and downhill so take the right one to get to the right destinations. When in doubt, ask the locals. We checked with the local shop owners at the shops opposite the temple and were informed to take the bus at the bus-stop opposite the temple to get the cable car terminal.

Two stops later, we reached the cable car terminal and rushed to hop on one. At the end of the cable car ride was the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village (九族文化村), a theme park which we did not have the time to visit and so, we gave it a miss. After taking a biological break, we boarded the cable car back to the cable car terminal and headed to catch the ferry back to ferry terminal.

Cable Car Terminal In Sight

Pardon us for the messy hairdo… The wind was strong!

There was a Youth Recreation Centre just below us.

We will not miss out any good food! This was found along the way from the cable car terminal to the dock. 

A warning sign

Bye I Ta Thao! 

Touring the SML for the last time on the ferry…

The same islets we passed by in the earlier part of the day

I was told the sunset was breathtaking but we didn’t stay til then.

Perfect excuse to return for a visit the next trip!

Approaching the dock…

And we are back at the dock!

This entry pretty much summed up our day trip around SML and I’ll post our adventure for the rest of Day 3 in the next post! Till then! 😀

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