After visiting the eye-popping Rainbow Village, I decided to take a cheap local bus from Taichung Station to the famous Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan (its name immediately made me think of Pokémon Sun & Moon). After an hour and a half ride, I was dropped off at Shuishe Pier, which is part of the central hub of Sun Moon Lake. There are a number of restaurants, hotels, and souvenir shops that you can browse around, although the real adventure lies elsewhere! From here you can ride ferries and buy tickets to attractions around the lake. The ferry will take you to Ita Thao Pier and Xuanguang Pier which both have a number of hiking trails and sightseeing spots to explore. If you are unsure of what to do, the official Sun Moon Lake website has a number of itineraries available.
Originally I was thinking of going to the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village and ropeway (which is a huge amusement park with a waterpark), but due to the mild and foggy January weather, I opted to do some hiking instead. My favorite viewpoint that I discovered was the Ci-en Padoga built by Chiang Kai-Shek in memory of his mother. This was about a 40 minute hike through a bamboo forest but was easy to access thanks to the English guideposts. The ferries depart from pier to pier every half hour, so you can see the majority of sights in one day. However, if you wish to see the smaller islands and go to the amusement park that I mentioned above, you will definitely need two full days.
Unfortunately due to the fog it was hard for me to capture good footage of the hike I took, but the mountains surrounding the lake were breathtaking and gorgeous. I would say this was the 2nd most beautiful place that I have been to in Taiwan; the 1st being Taroko Gorge. I wish I could have spent two full days here, but I was happy with all of the scenery I was able to see in one day. Getting between the piers only takes around 15 minutes, so you can definitely make the most of your time here if you plan it out.
When you purchase your ferry ticket (mine was only 250 TWD because they thought I was a student), you are given a map with all the major landmarks on them. If you are a seasoned traveler, I would just follow your instinct and go wherever looks most interesting to you. The guideposts make it pretty straightforward, and there are always usually hikers around to ask in case you get lost. Sailing around and feeling like I was in an RPG was honestly the best aspect for me. It was so nice getting out of the city and into this amazing world of nature:
In my next article, I will be writing about Taiwan’s southern city Kaohsiung and Cijin Island. Thank you to all those who have kept up with my wild adventures!