Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Sun Moon Lake
Chinese New Year is over now, and did it ever fly by!
I spent the first part of the holiday on a trip to Sun Moon Lake in central Taiwan with two of my colleagues. We really had a fun time, despite a bit of rain.
Sun Moon Lake got its name because of its shape, since one part of the lake is round and another section looks like a crescent moon. It's the largest lake in Taiwan, and quite a popular tourist spot. We took a 4 hour bus ride from Taipei to get there. We stayed in a little B&B where we got great Taiwanese hospitality, including breakfast, free fruit, and discounts at some nearby places.
It was a pretty nice place and soo cheap, we paid about $130 (Canadian) for 2 nights, divided among 3 people! We rented scooters the first day and cruised around the lake. We stopped at a temple and a stairway with 366 steps. It had a day of the year on each step, along with the names of famous people who were born on that day. We had a good time hopping down the steps and stopping on significant dates to take pictures. We had a not so good time climbing back up though! It started to rain as we were making our way up, and I was pooped by August! We made it though and looked around the temple across the street where you can buy little bells and write prayers or blessings on them and hang them along the stairs.
Oh I should note that my camera kind of died, so all my pictures were taken with my cellphone camera. Thankfully both Lisa and Ashley were snapping pictures too.
After our climb we went to the aboriginal village which was across the lake from the village where we stayed. We had a great hot pot lunch and looked around the stores for awhile before proceeding around the lake some more and taking another short walk. It was starting
to get dark so we headed back to our hotel. After we warmed up, we went back out for massages! They were fantastic, although ticklish feet + foot massage is not always the best combination.
The next day we got up pretty early and went to a pavillion built by Chiang Kai Shek back in the day. It's about 9 stories high, but we successfully climbed it! There was a big gong in the top that you could ring to celebrate your victorious ascent. The view from the top was really breathtaking. We had a great Chinese lunch after coming back and returning our scooters, then took a boat tour.
By that time we were quite exhausted, and found out that the "2 hour tour" actually meant riding the boat to select spots along the lake, then getting off to walk around for 30 minutes.... after the first stop I just stayed on the boat and napped.
It was a great trip though, and I'd love to go back again in the summer when the weather's better! Though one great thing about going at this time was that cherry blossom season has just begun!
You can see more of my pictures (mostly scenery) in this facebook album.