Sun Moon Lake
A bus to central Taiwan takes you to the beautiful Sun Moon Lake. Surrounded by rolling mountains, vast sailing curtains of mist, the lake is shaped like the sun and a crescent moon with cherry blossom trees lining the shore. The cobbled streets in the town on the edge of the lake and the views from there of turquoise waters make it seem like a picture from a piece of Chinese tapestry.TRIVIA The lake is separated by Lalu Island, a place where aboriginal tribes talk to their ancestral spirits.Arrow bamboo found in surplus at the Yangmingshan National Park is used by aboriginal tribes to make weapons for hunting. Shop for arrow bamboo writing materials, and traditional musical instruments and mah-jong tiles made of bamboo, and follow the arrow bamboo trail at the park running through a thicket of canes on either side.Taiwan is a popular holiday destination with the Japanese and the Koreans. The Yangmingshan National Park has sulphur springs known to have medicinal qualities, and a lot of resorts have water from the hot springs flowing into their pools for guests to take a dip in.
Sun Moon Lake
No trip to Taiwan is complete without a visit to the mystical Sun Moon Lake, the country’s largest freshwater body. The lake is considered sacred by the local aboriginal people and its name is derived from its distinctive shape, with a rounded main section similar to the sun and a narrow western border comparable to a crescent moon. Sun Moon Lake’s emerald green waters reflect the striking mountainous scenery that surrounds them, creating some of the island’s most enthralling landscapes. Also encircling the lake are numerous temples and picturesque pavilions, gardens and pagodas, each offering a unique perspective on the waters below.
Chung Tai Chan Monastery
We spent our time here leisurely sailing around the enchanting lake on a boat tour, making trips to Cih En Pagoda Temple and the Chung-Tai Monastery.Sun Moon Lake is also home to Taiwan’s annual mid-autumn festival, the Sun Moon Lake Swim. Every year in October, around 10,000 people swim from one side of the lake to the other. This is the only time of year that anyone can swim there, as it would be too big for lifeguards to patrol. The annual swim ends with a spectacular fireworks display and party, all set against a stunning backdrop. Well worth making a second trip back for, methinks!
FengJia Night Market
Taiwan is famous for its night markets and good bargains. Fengjia Night market, Keelung Miaokou Night Market, Jiufen Old Street and Shilin Night Market and Ximendingin Taipei are some of the other popular local style markets spread over Taiwan. Keep your eyes open for a good bargain in clothes, shoes and bags. Look out especially for Made in Taiwan products, you will want to make a trip again only for shopping!
Zhongbu Cross-island Highway
And when I drove through the central Cross Island Highway, which is an important link between the west coast and the east of the island, it was only natural that I was awestruck by this gigantic highway. The highway is a superb example of how the Taiwanese has successfully built a route through a winding mountainous road made made it quite a display of their heritage. History has it that this highway was Cheng Kai She’s elder son, a military general, was instrumental in the construction of this 190-km long highway in 1954.