Thursday, 18 September 2014

Taiwan Sep 2014: Sun Moon Lake 日月潭

We made two mistakes in our plan to get to Sun Moon Lake. Firstly, we completely forgot about the Mid-Autumn (Mooncake) Festival long weekend so we became part of the exodus out of Taipei as well as back to Taipei. There are 3 important festivals to avoid when traveling out of Taipei, advised our taxi-driver. They are Mid-Autumn (Mooncake)  Festival on the 15th day of the 8th month in the Chinese calendar, Dragon-boat (Rice Dumpling) Festival on the 5th day of the 5th month in the Chinese Calendar and Chinese New Year. Our second mistake was taking the bus from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake after the one-hour ride on the HSR to Taichung. The bus trip (about TWD$380 each) which normally takes about 1-1.5 hours actually took 2.5 hours due to traffic congestion! >.< We made the decision to take a taxi from Sun Moon Lake back to Taichung and were glad we did because the journey (about TWD$2100) took only an hour.

Despite the initial hiccups, once we arrived at Lalu 涵碧楼, the most luxurious hotel in Sun Moon Lake, the splendor of the place made us forget the arduous journey there. The entrance could not be more inviting. Stepping into the lobby, one cannot help but marvel at the magnificent view of the lake behind the counter. Check-in time is 3pm so we took the opportunity to take photos at the balcony n the lobby area.

Nice pool overlooking the lake
As the hotel is really nice and comfortable and there was a passing shower in the afternoon, we decided to stay in and just enjoy the room as well as check out the gym, pool and library after we got our complimentary oolong tea at the teahouse.

Our room has a wonderful view of the lake

Complimentary tea at the teahouse


Dinner at the Japanese restaurant was scrumptious yet value for money. A wagyu teppanyaki set meal for two (we shared a set) cost only about SGD$150 which is very affordable by Singapore standards. We cleaned out every dish that was served.

In the morning, we woke up early to take a walk along the boardwalk. There is a flight of stairs next to the swimming pool leading to the boardwalk which brings you to the Chiang Kai Shek jetty, a historical site. According to our taxi-driver, Chiang Kai Shek used to enjoy strolling along that area. Breakfast was a comprehensive selection of international favourites.

View from our room in the morning

We met some really cute dogs during our morning walk =)

The golden retriever who loves to swim in the lake

 I felt the need to immortalise these unsung heroes keeping the place clean.
Removing dead plants


Park cleaner having breakfast

After checking out, we went on a cruise and tried the famous tea leaf egg and some local cuisine before heading back to Taipei. If you have time, an over-night visit to Qingjing farm is highly encouraged before returning for Taipei, according to our taxi-driver.

Sauteed Wild Boar

Bamboo shoot soup

Shishamo-like fish

Access: Take the High Speed Rail (HSR) from Taipei Main Station to Taichung (about an hour) followed by an hour-long taxi ride (TWD$2100) to your hotel. There is the cheaper option of the bus (no toilet) from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake but it goes through Pu Li (hence, it takes longer than the direct taxi) so if you are travelling with children and/or old folks, taxi is most convenient and comfortable.

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