|Our first viewing of the Sun Moon Lake|
The Sun Moon Lake is the largest lake in Taiwan, a beautiful part of nature that is one of the most popular tourist sites in the country. The lake is a vivid blue-y green colour, and is surrounded by picturesque rolling green mountains, a serene and natural landscape. Well, hypothetically at least. The reality of visiting this area is that what may have once been a sacred and peaceful place, has now become a touristic and crowded sightseeing destination. However, if you can escape the crowds and find some quiet spots like we did, the natural beauty of this area is well worth visiting.
We spent three days at the Sun Moon Lake towards the end of April. We were treated with two beautiful days of weather, and then on our last day it rained pretty heavily. Apparently, the weather is quite good all year round at the Sun Moon Lake, although April is generally one of the rainiest months in Taiwan anyway.
Accommodation prices at the lake are a little higher due to its popularity, although we managed to find a good deal at a slightly run down hotel, which was close to the pier, and suited our needs well. There aren't many restaurants in the town that we stayed at, which made it kind of hard to find dinners to eat, but there are plenty of 7/elevens! We ate a lot of 7/eleven sandwiches in Taiwan, and they weren't that bad, haha!
On our first afternoon at the Sun Moon Lake, we were taking a walk around the pier before lunch, when a woman said hello to us and started chatting to us. We talked to her for a bit, and found out that she was from Taichung, where we had just come from, and that she visited the Sun Moon Lake every month with her elderly father. We told her we were just about to go and get some lunch, and she suggested we all eat together. She recommended a restaurant in a hotel with beautiful views of the lake, and we ate a delicious multi course Aboriginal Taiwanese meal there all together (picture above). It was such a nice surprise to meet and eat lunch with a local person, and what made her gesture even more incredible and kind is that she paid for the whole lunch, and only wanted our company in return.
|A walk after lunch|
|The very green trail around the lake|
|A lizard hanging out by the lake|
|A mossy bench along the trail|
|An abandoned rusting boat on the lake|
After our wonderful lunch, we continued our walk along the lake, following the leafy green trail that runs almost the entire perimeter of the lake. It was such a nice day out and we saw so many lizards hanging out in the plants.
|The mountains surrounding the lake|
|The view from the boat ride|
|At the pier on our first stop|
|Taking in the view|
|On the trail to the temple|
|So many stairs!!|
|A mural of the monk Xuangzang's travels|
|View from the temple|
|A large bell outside the temple|
|Inside the temple|
|Making friends with locals|
This temple is not where you get the best view of the Sun Moon Lake, though! For that, you will have to climb even further up the mountain, up more stairs and through more forest, to Ci En Pagoda. The pagoda is nine stories high, and is on the top of a 954m high mountain, which makes it a pretty high viewing point, and definitely a stunning view. We stopped outside the pagoda and ate our lunch there under the shade of the trees.
|The amazing trees in the forest|
|The view from the pagoda|
|The spiraling staircase from above|
|Ci En Pagoda|
|More trees in the forest on the way down|
|My little cutie|
|Daddy daughter moment|
|The silver clouds before the rain came|
|A lizard lazing in the sun|
|Pictures from our walk along the walking/biking trail|
|Bamboo in the forest|
|The interesting architecture of the tourist information building|
After eating our lunch under a little pavilion to protect us from the rain, we decided to admit defeat and ended up spending the rest of the day in our hotel room. The rain was so heavy outside by evening, I think we ended up eating dinner from a bakery across the street! Not the healthiest of dinners, but Charlotte does love bread!
I hope you enjoyed this blog post, I'm sorry it's taken such a long time, but we have been packing so much into our days and we are so busy. Next up will be a post about Taipei, which was a really cool city!
Thanks for reading,