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|
|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.
|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|
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.