First special project (off Taipei) we carried out is this 3 days 2 night trip to Sun Moon Lake and Taichung.
We took a bus (about 3 hours and 40 minutes trip) from Taipei Main Station (Taipei West Bus Station) directly to Sun Moon Lake. It costs 440 NTD for weekdays (FYI, for weekend it oddly costs cheaper, 410 NTD). Departed from Taipei at 15:00, we finally reached Sun Moon Lake when the sky was already dark.
As we went there impulsively, we had no hotel reservation on hand. Dragging our feet and growling stomachs we decided to look for accommodation first before taking dinner. Actually it was not 100% rash though, we did do some research on the available hostels; our choices were either Youth Activity Center or 月潭小栈 (thanks to cloudee’s blog). But but but, due to unforeseen circumstance (we arrived at Shuishe Visitor Center and those two hostels are located at the other side of the lake – Itashao area) there was no more feasible mode of transportation for us.
We looked (=walked) around and finally found this nice appealing package written on a blackboard offered in front of a decent-looking hotel (it really is hotel, not hostel; and it in fact looked good, not just decent hehee), priced at 2980 NTD for 2 pax – this includes 1 night accommodation (with breakfast), Sun Moon Lake shuttle boat ticket, Skyline and Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village one day pass. After inquiring we came to agreement to lodge at Sun Moon Lake Apollo Resort Hotel for the night. Extra information: this hotel provides rooms with different views, street view and lake view; of course lake view is more expensive, about almost 1000 NTD more than street view room.
Next day we took off to Itashao Pier from Shuishe Pier by 10:30 shuttle boat, then continue by 20-minutes’ walk from Itashao Pier to the Skyline (Sun Moon Lake Ropeway) station. The next thing we know, we really had a fun time exploring the huge park :). We don’t have much time to really try all the rides and watch the performances. Rides we tried are Carribean Splash (A rafting ride with backwards section and a final 3om drop), Mayan Adventure (Taiwan’s First Suspended Looping Coaster), and UFO Gyro Drop (Taiwan’s tallest free-fall ride with height of 85m).
We actually wanted to re-play the Carribean Splash (my travelling partner thought once was not wet enough!), but looking at the time, we decided to quickly leave FACV and moved to Taichung ^^ (future traveller kindly take note of the bus timing since the frequency is not that many; we waited for like more than 30mins ><).
Let these photos do the talking:
Trip to Taichung from SML took about 2 hours, and so we departed the bus from Shuishe Visitor Center (there was a bus just in time to take off ;P.). We reached Taichung when it was already over 6pm..again with no on-hand accommodation arrangement we had to go around and survey places to stay. By the Lonely Planet recommendation, we made a quick decision to just stay in a hotel near main bus station; we think not to post about this since it was not a very good experience, so nothing to brag about. Our only night in Taichung was spent in its hype, Feng Jia night market (*woohoo*). All night markets features (crowd, street foods, bubble teas, youngsters) were present, plus one extra important mark: low price tag – compared to Taipei. The only demerit we could say was that it was super hard to find a single washroom there; oh and maybe the location which is “not so near” the city central (there is no MRT yet in Taichung, so bear with the available slow buses unless you want to spend more fee by catching a cab).
Last stopover in the trip :|. Lavender Cottage (or in Chinese: 新社薰衣草森林)! We traveled all the way to the outskirt of the city just to have a view of this place. This was recommended by my travelling partner who has been there and considered the place worth another visit; so there we came…to another branch of the place, which is much smaller, and there came the disappointment. Actually we had another to-go-destination that is said to be nearer, but we bumped into a Singaporean couple who also want to go there, we shared a cab with them. Yeah.. entrance fee for 200NTD, returned back 100NTD as voucher (which can be used anywhere inside the cottage). Maybe this place can be called heaven by Lavender-thing-freak, but since we surely aren’t: we tried the Lavender-flavored ice cream and still thought the choco-mint one better, the place was just so-so; one time visit was enough (refer to pics at the end of this post). Afterwards we sat in the same taxi (we had made appointment with the taxi driver to pick us up) back to the bus stop where we came, continued with a bus trip to Taichung main station. We ultimately took the train back to Taipei as bus would consume more time although it was more expensive (can’t remember either the price or the price difference).
There goes the end of this our-coming-to-Taiwan-celebration-trip, look forward to the next ones!
Found out the very nice place my partner went was not in Taichung – a bit disappointment diminished; will plan to visit the place he mentioned, it kinda looks cool and romantic ㅋㅋㅋ
Rest of our Lavendar Cottage pics: