Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Taiwan - Day 1 - Sun Moon Lake

Tuesday 10 November 2015

[Spending a little over two weeks traveling with Dad to Taiwan and the Philippines.]

Dad and I left LAX on the afternoon of Sunday the 8th, lost a day (due to the time zone crossings), and landed late on Monday the 9th in Taipei.

This morning (Tuesday the 10th) we walked from our hotel/hostel in Taipei to Taipei Main Station where we took a 2 hour train ride to Taichung (NT$375 each).  We then got a 90 minute bus to Sun Moon Lake (NT $170 each), where we are staying for a day and a half.  Both the train ride and the bus ride took us through some varied landscapes - starting in urban architecture, phasing in and out of garden-scapes and farmland, and winding up along some tropical mountainsides.

Once we got to Sun Moon Lake it was a 5 minute walk to our hotel.  We dropped our bags and headed out to walk along Sun Moon Lake for a few hours.  This is a fairly touristy area, however most all the "tourist" here are Taiwanese.  We are sort of an anomaly (since we aren't Taiwanese yet we are here) so many have gone out of their way to help us when we have been looking at a map or generally looking a little disoriented.

Anyways, since this is a fairly touristy area, the trails are really well marked and very pedestrian friendly.  Sun Moon Lake is one of the "8 Wonders of Taiwan," is the largest lake in Taiwan, and is nestled in the western foothills of Taiwan's Central Mountain Range.  Another interesting feature about the lake are the so-called "floating islands" or "floating fields" which are essentially bamboo rafts with soil on them to grow vegetation.  These serve to promote the propagation of fish, prevent lakeshore wave erosion, and to filter water.

floating fields / floating islands

Besides enjoying walking by the water and through some tropical vegetation (more tropical than what I am used to in any case), we also stopped at Wunmu Temple.  This temple was funded for by the Japanese when their construction of hydroelectric power plants resulted in the removal of the historic temples around Sun Moon Lake.  Wind chimes line stairs leading up to the temple's entrance which patrons write wishes on.

wish wind chimes

We called it an early day as we are still jet-lagged, but hoping for an early start and a bike ride tomorrow.


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