Sun rose very early, thought that we were late though it was only 6am. Our destination for the day was Sun Moon Lake and knowing that we had to take buses and stuff, we decided to get up early for the trip. We had some bus timing info given by the recept the day before and had checked that the best timing for us was the 830am bus from Gancheng bus station which would see us arriving at 1010am at Sun Moon Lake. Went for the buffet breakfast in a chic basement eating place and checked out of the hotel.
Boarded a taxi for NT100 as walking would take too long though it was close in distance. Again, there were questions on whether we would like to take a taxi to Sun Moon Lake. Guess that was where the real income would come. We arrived at the bus stop and went over to the counter to purchase tickets. As what the receptionist mentioned, the people at the counter would be most helpful for any questions on the trip to Sun Moon Lake and we benefitted from one of the advice on the combo tickets. As we were visiting Formosan Village, he advised that it was cheaper for the women to purchase separately for the Formosan Village tickets due to the discount that was on for ladies during the weekend. In the end, we bought a combo ticket (NT990) for me and a return bus tickets (NT340) for my wife. The combo tickets consisted of unlimited rides on round the lake bus, ferry rides and tickets to Formosa inclusive of the ropeway ride.
We passed by the Taichung station fairly quickly and it meant that the receptionist was right again. For tourist with luggages, it was more convenient to go to the main station to board since you must recognized the bus before flagging it. If not, you might missed the bus as it wouldn’t be stopping to wait for passengers like it did in the main Gancheng bus station.
The one and a half hour bus trip wasn’t really interesting and so we fell asleep. There was a video playing, showing the places of interest at Sun Moon Lake but the tiredness simply was too much.
Once we reached She Shui bus station, the final stop, we alighted and was immediately greeted by a personnel from the boat company that exchanged part of my combo tickets for a ferry ticket. We proceeded over to the boat and transportation counter to purchase another boat ticket at NT300 and went over to the visitor information counter to get brochures.
Just following the road towards the pier and taking a right turn at the fork, we could see the ferry counter where we got stamped, a full day access recognition in order for us to get on and off the ferries freely. There were fixed timings of 15mins per hour (different from the brochure) and you could get on any ferry from the same location (since a specific location was allocated to each companies). There was commentary in mandarin about the lake and hotels and temples, quite amusing. The ferry was operating a merry go round for 3 piers and our hotel was on the 3rd one and only alighted then.
Since it was still early, our rooms weren’t ready but we left our luggage there. We decided to go to Formosan Village first and took a 10mins stroll to the ropeway station. Purchased the tickets for NT340 and boarded the cable car on the 2nd floor. There weren’t many people at this time and it was great.
We reached the other end of journey after going pass 2 intermediate towers and disembarked. Once at through the entrance of the Village (where we were stamped with invisible ink), we got ourselves a map and went onto another cable car not knowing where that would take us. It brought us to the theme park.
There were some rides there including a roller coaster but we weren’t that interested. We went back onto the ropeway shortly and go on to explore the various ethnic group exhibits. There was a dart blowing activity which was fun. It was quite a big area to explore but we were getting hungry and returned to cable car. At that time, rain started to drizzle and the winds were getting stronger as we were arriving back at the station, a little scary.
Had lunch at the station as the rain continued but not much choices were left. After lunch, walked back to our hotel with rain being intermittent and checked into the room at Hu Yue Lakeview B&B. Spacious room with Loccitane bath accessories was impressive but what really made the room it’s worth was lake view from the balcony – totally worth it!
Went out to board the ferry back to She Shui to continue exploring the place. Bought some food along the way before returning to the ferry for the 2nd wharf where we could visit Xuan Guang, built on higher elevation and thus a great viewpoint of the lake. There was a stone with the Sun Lake Moon name that was really busy with tourists wanting to take a picture with it and with the lake as backdrop.
Bought the Tea Leaf egg that was supposed to be popular (Ah Po Tea Leaf Egg) at the shop at the entrance of the wharf and it was delicious. Returned back to our hotel pier finally and explored the streets that were lined with eatery and foodstuff. Spent some time at the wharf listening to ethnic people singing songs as a street performance before returning to hotel to chill and wait for the beautiful sunset on the lake.
Went back to the hotel to watch the sun set over the mountains. Had dinner at one of the 2 restaurants beside the hotel. Had 3 dishes and a soup for about NT580. After the hearty and porky meal, we went to the convenience store nearby to get more mineral water before retiring to the hotel to enjoy the amenities. Had some time and worked out the costs for the tickets, we discovered that what the combo tickets were actually tickets for both men and women regardless of the promotion. Oh well.