Taiwan, being geographically located very far east of Malaysia, shares the same time zone as us. This means that their day starts earlier when the sun rises at 520AM and setting by 6PM. Hence, it’s no wonder that their night market is such popular culturally.
Our itinerary for Day 2 is to depart Taichung and head over to Sun Moon Lake, that’s not after we had the widest spread of buffet breakfast during our visit.
There’s a selection of Taiwanese and Western food available. We were spoilt for choice not knowing what to choose. Western food includes bread and eggs while Taiwanese includes porridge with a wide variety of condiments. We got to know that Taiwanese ate this as part of their breakfast along with condiments such as chicken/pork floss, you char kway, pickled vegetables, bean curds, etc.
There’s also others like stir-fried chicken, vegetables and Taiwanese Roti Canai, very much like the ones served here but there’s not curry for dipping.
After having a hearty breakfast, we check out of the hotel and head over to the railway station to take the bus to Sun Moon Lake. There’s a number of bus companies that go to Sun Moon Lake, some requires a change of bus halfway through, while the one that we took, the Nantou Bus company have a bus hourly directly to there for NT$180
The bus is very comfortable and it looks as if we’ve booked the entire bus because there’s not many people going to Sun Moon Lake on a Thursday morning.
Arrived at Sun Moon Lake. I like the buses in Taiwan because they always displayed the point of departure/arrival at the front of the bus, very tourist friendly even for some of us who don’t know how to read Chinese.
Accommodation – Laurel Villa
Thanks to May’s friend who recommended this Bed & Breakfast, it cost NT$2,290 per night with free breakfast and dinner along with 2 free boat ride around the lake.
Operated by a Mr Wayne and his family, this place is the coziest to stay.
The room is cozy with ample amenities. It’s a bargain considering there’s dinner provided as well.
Another view on the outside of the B&B.
The deco around the place. It’s located close to the pier where we took the boat across the lake for sight-seeing.
Things to do – Exploring Sun Moon Lake, Syuanguang Temple, Syuanzhang Temple, Cihen Pagoda and Yidashao
Sun Moon Lake as described by Wikipedia, Sun Moon Lake (Chinese: ???; pinyin: Rìyuètán; Wade–Giles: Jih4-yüeh4-t’an2; Zintun in the Thao language) is the largest body of water in Taiwan as well as a tourist attraction. Situated in Yuchih, Nantou, the area around the Sun Moon Lake is home to the Thao tribe, one of aboriginal tribes in Taiwan. Sun Moon Lake surrounds a tiny island called Lalu. The east side of the lake resembles a sun while the west side resembles a moon, hence the name.
To get around the lake, there’s a boat ride that will take tourist across the 3 main piers namely Shueishe Pier, Syuanguang Pier and Yidashao Pier.
Boat price ranges around NT$300 per person but we got ours complimentary with our accommodation.
Our first destination is Syuanguang Pier, where a few of the landmark temples are located. While a lot of the other tourists use bus to get from one temple to another, we took the hiking trail.
Some of the landmark along the trail, including a funny statue and lots of betel nut trees. Question, do you know what’s betel nut?
After close to 15 minutes of hiking, we were greeted by this awesome temple that overlook the lake.
Serenity around the Syuanzang Temple.
May praying in the temple and the view overlooking part of the lake. We were chatted by the monk who runs the monastery and he asked where we were from. We said Malaysia and there’s only 1 word he uttered, “Hot!”. However, I think Taiwan is just as hot at this time of the year.
Well, that’s not the only thing he said. He also asked us to climb up the Cihen Pagoda because the sight up there is for 1 to behold, problem is the pagoda is about 1km away, uphill.
We stopped by around to have a simple lunch.
Ah Q instant noodle with herbal tea egg. Simple but satisfying lunch after all the hiking. During our entire Taiwan trip, we only ate instant noodle twice, despite Taiwan having a lot more variety of instant noodles.
So after the quick meal, we head over to Cihen Tower.
The uphill climb to Cihen Pagoda is roughly about 570 metres and when we reached the top, the pagoda is majestically sitting on the highest peak at Mt Erlong.
There’s a story behind the pagoda is that it’s being erected by the late President Chiang Kai Shek as a memory to his mother.
The reward of climbing the almost 8 storey high pagoda is to sound the gong!
Some of the views around the top of the pagoda.
After that, we make our way back down hill to the pier, with some ice cream to eat along the way.
I reckon this will be a long post, so I will continue this in the following post.