November 29, 2011
The day before our trip, Maria came over so we could do our research and stuff. Being that the Internet is so vast, we got overwhelmed with all the information. Zzz.
Anyway, we were supposed to meet up at the bus terminal (MRT Taipei Main Station exit Z5) at 9:30AM in time for the 10:00AM bus to Sun Moon Lake. Good thing Maria got there earlier and she was able to buy what seemed were the last 2 tickets. According to her, the lady at the ticket booth said that there were no more tickets (and that people usually bought their tickets days or weeks in advance or something) but then she felt bad for Maria (probably also seeing as how she’s a foreigner? I dunno.) so in the end, she sold her 2 tickets. Lucky us!
The bus ride took around 4 hours, and it stops right in front of the Sun Moon Lake visitor center. Awesome! We immediately went inside and asked them about hostels nearby. Turns out, there are a lot to choose from in the vicinity. We went inside one of the hostels and when the owner said that the rate was 1200NT/night (meaning we would have to pay 600NT per person), we decided it was a good price and so we agreed. We settled in and then we went back out to look for a place to eat. After eating, we bought a round-the-lake boat ticket (300NT) and waited by the Shueishe Pier for the boat. While waiting, we saw this gelato shop and we bought gelato! Tiramisu, yuuuum!
There are only 3 ports around Sun Moon Lake, and with the ticket, you can get on and off. You could get off at the pier, spend some time there (go to all the places nearby and stuff), and then wait for the next boat to the next pier, etc. We first got off at Syuanguang pier (?) and walked up to see the Syuanguang Temple 玄光寺. Then, we took the 700+meter hike up to Syuentzang Temple 玄獎寺. From there, we saw Lalu Island 拉魯島. People used to be able to get off at that island, but after the 1991 earthquake (I think), the island kept getting smaller and smaller (according to the people there) so now, you can only just look at it. On the way back down to the pier, I saw the sunset. Aww!
Our next stop was the Ita Thao pier. The aboriginal village was there but we missed the show, so we just walked around. There’s actually not much to see there (aside from the village), but there are a lot of food places. We were still full by that time (and I don’t think they sold anything really special) so we didn’t eat anything.
Funny how on the way back to Shueishe pier, I didn’t realize that our boat was already moving. I really didn’t! I was sitting there thinking to myself why it was taking such a long time to leave, and this guide kept on talking and talking and talking… Suddenly, everyone started standing up and walking back inside (cos I was on the outer part of the boat) so that made me panic a bit thinking if we would have to spend the night in Ita Thao (since I thought the boat didn’t move). Oops, silly me!
We got back to Shueishe pier, ate dinner, and went back to our room. We were already tired by then because we had been walking around for the past couple of hours, so we decided to just stay in the room and watch TV.