Monday, July 31, 2017

7D6N Taiwan Travelogue: Cingjing - Sun Moon Lake - Taichung

Continuing from the previous post where i ended off Day 1 saying that the main highlight of Cingjing (or in fact my entire trip) was actually the Hehuanshan Sunrise tour (合歡山觀日出) which happened on the second day morning! Most people (if not everyone) who visits Cingjing will sign up for the tour which cost about NT400 per person and is usually offered by most minsu upon check in. The most difficult thing about this tour is actually the waking up part.
The bus will go round cingjing to pick everyone up at 4am in the morning, which means we have to wake up even earlier to prepare and put on layers of clothing because it can get really cold and chilly, like not kidding at all. Usually there will be winter jackets available on the bus itself but then again, it's better to prepare your own just in case. 

What I wore was inner thermal heat tech, long sleeve tee, layered with a thick jacket, and pants. I thought I could withstand the coldness with everything that I wore and not use the jacket they provide but no, i had to use it in the end. It was that cold. LOL Glad I wore a mask though, at least my face still feels warm. For this sunrise tour, they brought us to a several peaks at different altitude for the views and for photo opportunities. Note: Remember to take your breakfast or at least bring along some food with you because the whole sunrise tour can last for about 3 to 4 hours.  
Thank god the weather that morning was clear and as the skies gets brighter, I was so surprised to see that we were actually above the clouds. Next thing we knew, everyone was pointing to the mountain in front of us and our tour guide exclaimed, "你们看!" and we saw the sun rising up slowly from behind the mountains, and the skies were slowly changing to a beautiful orange hue. You just have to stand there and be amazed at what's happening right in front of your eyes. It would make you feel like the early morning wake will be totally worth it, at least it is for me.  
One of the photo spot where everyone will take a photo with, it's like validation that you have been there. LOL  
Is this photo like DP-worthy already! Stood there and stared at the rising sun and totally forgot how cold it was up there. The moment didn’t last for very long and soon, the skies were bright and sunny. A start of a brand new day.
Another shot before we head back to Spring Ground. Refreshed and energised.
Had a simple buffet breakfast at the Minsu, prepared by the owners. Very simple yet delicious. It was sweet potato porridge with lots of sides like salted egg, preserved vegetables, egg omelette etc. Very taiwanese style. After breakfast, we went back to pack our luggage, checked out and head off to our next destination - Sun Moon Lake!  
Getting to Sun Moon Lake from Cingjing. First we had to take the Nantou bus at the designated bus stop at Cingjing and the ride will cost NT115. There are a couple of bus stops along Cingjing, and we were lucky there was one right outside Old England Mansion which is right beside Spring Ground. Take note that it’s not a direct bus. The Nantou bus will bring you to Puli Main Bus Station (埔里客运站) where you take another bus to Sun Moon Lake (NT120)
The official way of getting around Sun Moon Lake is to get a round pass (link) but the moment we dropped off the bus, we were approached by some private tour company providing island hopping boat tour as well. Got it at a discounted rate, NT250/ticket. They even brought us to one of their store to place our luggage while we go for the tour!
There is actually not much thing to do at Sun Moon Lake. Basically just hop onto the boat at the piers and go to the different islands and visit their attractions, mainly at Syuanguang Pier 玄光码头 and Ita Thao Pier 伊达邵码头.  
Dropping at Ita Thao Pier 伊达邵码头, you will get to see streets lined with hotels, eateries and stores selling souvenirs. This is probably the only stop (out of the 3) where you can have lunch, the other 2 islands really got nothing much.  
Taiwan sausage, handmade mochi and this super delicious persimmon amongst all the different food items which we tried at Ita Thao! It was quite relaxing, sitting by the lake, munching on snacks with nothing much to worry about.  
At Syuanguang Pier 玄光码头, you can try the famous Jin Men Grandma's Tea Egg 金盆阿嫲香菇茶叶蛋. The taste is pretty much normal but it’s quite nice to have warm tea egg in the chilly weather. On this island, there is also a temple (Xuanguang Temple 玄关寺) at the top where you can get a really good view of the whole Sun Moon Lake.
The whole tour took about 3 to 4 hours and we got back to Shueishe Village. Catered some time to explore the area and decided to rent bikes to cycle around since it’s one of the recommended activities to do at Sun Moon Lake.  Rental was NT100 each for a couple of hours. There is a designated route which allows you to enjoy the scenery along Sun Moon Lake. After which, we wanted to get bus tickets to travel to our next destination - Taichung but was approached by a driver who can fetch us to Taichung for NT200/person. 

Traveling by car means it’s faster, and we were dropped off at Taichung Bus Interchange. In case you don’t know, our hotel was located at the happening area of Taichung which is at the Fengjia Night Market (逢甲夜市) area, and it is not exactly near where we were dropped off. Uber was expensive, Cab was expensive and in the end, we asked for directions and took public transport with our luggage to our hotel. The ride took about 35 mins, quite a nightmare. LOL
默砌旅店 Hotel Cube 
No. 51號, Hanxiang North Street, Xitun District, Taichung City, Taiwan 407  

Chose this hotel because it’s located near Fengjia market, like just 10 mins away. The rate was pretty cheap too as it’s newly established (SGD$84/night) Best of all, they provide free to and fro Fengjia Night Market shuttle service!  
The famous Fengjia Night Market 逢甲夜市!  
Amongst all the night market i went to during my Taiwan trip, i would say Fengjia is one of the better ones. I had so much food that night.- famous cheese potato with toppings, fried egg pancake, sweet potato balls to name a few. I really enjoyed myself at Fengjia! It was a really long day considering we woke up at 4am that day! LOL 

I’m not too sure what else is there at Taichung but our intention of dropping by Taichung was to visit Fengjia. Maybe i can explore more of Taichung during my next visit. The following morning we had breakfast at the hotel and took a taxi to Taichung HSR station where we head back to Taipei via HSR. That’s pretty much how i spent my Day 2 in Taiwan! 

Till the next post,