Nantou – Sun Moon Lake | Taiwan Day 8
Breakfast at Starry Minsu
Started the day with breakfast lovingly prepared by Mrs. Lee and her helpers at Starry Minsu (觀星園). There’s a thick slice of toasted bread, omelette, salad, and a cup of hot milk tea. I would say it’s a hearty meal!
E-Go Cingjing Bus to Sun Moon Lake
We were set for Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) that day. Opted to take the E-Go Cingjing bus transport (E-Go 清境觀光巴士) there as they provide direct pick up service at our accommodation. It costs NT$450 (≈S$20) per pax, which is not cheap. However, the other cheaper option would be to take the Nantou bus transport (南投客運) which requires us to change bus at Puli Station (埔里站) – inconvenient! Hence, we just paid a bit more for the convenience. Mrs. Lee from Starry Minsu helped us made reservation for the transport one day in advance.
The E-Go driver came to pick us up at 9am sharp in a nine seater vehicle. We were then transferred to a 20 seater bus. However, there were only four of us on the bus to Sun Moon Lake – Marcus and I, together with another couple.
Our driver to Sun Moon Lake was very friendly. He was like a driver cum tour guide. While driving, he chatted with us, asked about our plans for the day, and made recommendations on how we could make some changes to improve our day’s itinerary as he knew better being a local.
The driver also stopped by a road and introduced us to the fruit, loquat (枇杷). An elderly lady was selling the fruit on her truck by the road side. Hold the fruit by its stem and on the other end, peel the skin away like how you would peel a banana. The skin is soft and hence, peels off very easily. The loquat flesh is soft, sweet, and juicy. The seeds are in the centre of the fruit. He also stopped by a shop that sells Taichung’s famous snacks and we picked up quite a bit of goodies.
Sun Moon Lake
The journey to Sun Moon Lake took about 1.5 hours. We left our goodies with the driver who told us he would inform the driver for our return trip to hand them back to us, so that we need not lug the goodies around for the day. He was so thoughtful!
Sun Moon Lake is the largest lake in Taiwan. You can travel around by cycling, rowing a boat or taking a shuttle boat. We chose the last option, which is also the least tiring way. The shuttle boat hops around three piers: Shueishe Pier (水社码头), Itashao Pier (伊达邵码头), and Syuanguang Pier (玄光寺码头). It costs NT$300 (≈S$13) per pax, but we got the tickets at a slightly cheaper price from the driver.
We started off at Shueishe Pier and there’s nothing much there except for the Visitor Center.
Off we go to the next pier!
After arriving at Itashao Pier, we walked over to Sun Moon Lake cable car station.
Passed by a lady selling honey drinks and we bought a chilled bottle. Those are alive and buzzing bees.
We bought the package which includes the cable car ticket and entrance ticket to the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village (九族文化村) for NT$780 (≈S$34) per pax.
Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village
And we just walked around in the village…
We were contemplating having our lunch in that eating place behind but they didn’t have the bamboo tube rice (竹筒飯) which we wanted to try, so we decided to continue walking and try our luck elsewhere.
Spot me among the huge totem poles? Totem poles are monumental sculptures carved mainly from cedar wood. They are a traditional way for Aboriginal families to tell their stories to the future generations and clans.
Tried the blowpipe game which costs NT$50 (≈S$2) per game. Oh well, we didn’t win any prize. The blowpipe (also known as blowgun or blow tube) is a simple weapon for firing darts. It is used mainly for hunting. With my skill, I’ll probably starve to death?
There are performances in the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village but we didn’t manage to catch any.
Finally found the bamboo tube rice! It’s at an eatery near a man made waterfall and a stage for performances. The meal consists of bamboo tube rice, peas, baked sweet potato, meat wrapped in lotus leaf, and erm, soft drink. I think the soft drink is a mismatch and doesn’t go well with the aboriginal meal.
Walked back to Itashao Pier after our meal and spotted these enormous spiders! I still get the creeps everytime I see this picture. *shudders*
We took the shuttle boat to Syuanguang Pier. Basically, there’s only the Syuanguang Temple (玄光寺) there. One thing you must try at Syuanguang Temple is the famous Ah Ma’s herbal egg (阿麽香菇茶葉蛋). It costs NT$10 (≈S$0.50) each and is piping hot and fragrant. The herbal eggs are readily packed in plastic bags so the queue moves pretty quickly.
This is the queue to take photo with the Sun Moon Lake rock. No thanks, I’m not going to queue just to take photo with a rock. We were told that so many tourists fought and quarrelled over the rock that the authorities had to build more of such rocks to ease the crowd.
Back to Starry Minsu
The driver came to pick us up at 4pm. On the return trip, there were only the two of us and we had the entire nine seater vehicle to ourselves. The driver was quite reckless though, and I’m thankful we survived the ride.
It was very cold and misty back at Starry Minsu. This was at about 6pm and the weather generally gets even colder later in the night. We had steamboat dinner provided by Starry Minsu to end our day. Shiok! Do you like to have steamboat on cold rainy days in Singapore? 🙂