Chasing the Colours of Autumn (Taiwan 2011, Day 6)

This is the best and most tiring part of the whole trip! We booked a taxi to bring us from Cingjing to AoWanDa (奥万大). The taxi would also bring us to Taichung THSR station after that. It cost us NT2500, quite reasonable, considering the fact that we wouldn’t want to embark on our forest trail with our baggage.

We spent about 3 hours to complete the trail and returned to the visitor center. We walked past the cabin zone, Strongman Slope (好汉坡步道), Bird-watching Trail (赏鸟步道) and Forest Classroom (森林教室). The only place that I didn’t go was the Pine Tree Zone (松林区) as I was too tired and frightened (I’m acrophobic) to cross the Aowanda Suspension Bridge (奥万大吊桥). It was very tiring to complete the trail as there were many up-slope pathways, but it was worth it as the scenery was simply too beautiful! The blazing red maple leaves set against the clear blue sky was picture-perfect!

 

 

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Getting to Aowanda:

Beside booking a taxi, one can also take the  Nantou bus (南投客运) from Puli (埔理) to Aowanda.

If you would like to book a taxi like us, you can contact Mr. Liu (刘华山), 0923238120, email: taxi32559@yahoo.com.tw

When to visit Aowanda:

  • To catch the autumn’s hues, one should visit between November and March.
  • To catch the cherry blossoms, one should visit between December and March.
  • To catch the fireflies, one should visit between April and June.
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A Breath of Fresh Air – Cingjing (Taiwan 2011, Day 5)

Cingjing Veteran Farm (清境农场) is a mountainous area with scenic greenery. We visited 2 main attractions: Green Green Grasslands (青青草原) and The Small Swiss Garden (瑞士小花园).

Green Green Grasslands is the most popular site in Cingjing Farm. Most tourists come by to take pictures with the herds of sheep grazing on the green slopes, and to watch the sheep shearing show. For us, we didn’t get to see the sheep or the show as we arrived too late. But we got a special discount for the entrance tickets – our tickets cost only NT$20 as we entered after 4:30 p.m. but we had only 30 min to walk about as the place closed at 5 p.m. So we only took some photos of the place and didn’t get to see the whole place. That’s a regret of the trip.

We then went to The Small Swiss Garden. Some of you may not like this place as it is artificially crafted to look like Europe. But it still serves as a good photo-taking place for tourists.

There’s a very special themed restaurant at the Small Swiss Garden. It’s called “Honey Museum No. 6” (蜜蜂故事六号馆). Everything in the restaurant including the tables, chairs and cutlery are made of paper! All their recipes use honey in one way or another.

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Getting to Cingjing:

Take the Nantou bus (南投客运) from Puli (埔里) to Cingjing. You may want to check which stop you should alight for your accommodation (民宿).

There are many beautiful minsu in cingjing. Recommended: Provence Rose Lodge (普罗旺斯玫瑰庄园) The minsu that we stayed in was Dingdai Glass Vacation Villa (頂代格拉斯莊園). We can watch sunrise from our room!

Bird’s eye view of Sun Moon Lake (Taiwan 2011, Day 5)

We only spent 1 night at Sun Moon Lake. Although the lake view is beautiful to a city dweller like me, I must confessed that there was nothing much to do. It could also be that we only had a morning to tour the place.

Nevertheless, we took the ferry to Itashao Pier (伊达邵码头) so as to ride on the Sun Moon Lake cable car or ropeway. Nothing really fantastic about the cable car ride but you get to see the lake at a different angle.

One interesting thing did happened during our short stay. There is an ice cream parlour, Dolce Luna (甜月亮) at our hotel selling gelato. We found out that the owner of the parlour actually knows Wu Pao Chun, the World Champion Baker!

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Suggestion:

For those who are going to take the cable car and have time to spend, you may want to go to the Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village (九族文化村). It is a theme park that introduces the 9 aboriginal groups in Taiwan.

The 5 Wonders of Alishan (Taiwan 2011, Day 3 & 4)

The 5 wonders of Alishan are my greatest anticipation of this Taiwan trip. However, I only managed to catch 2 wonders. I’m a bit disappointed but still enjoyed my Alishan trip.

What are the 5 wonders of Alishan?

  • Alishan Forest Railway (铁路)
  • The forest trail (森林)
  • Sunrise (日出)
  • Sunset (晚霞)
  • Sea of clouds (云海)

Upon arriving at our hotel, Ho Fong Villa Hotel (禾枫别墅), we rested for a while in the room and then set off to catch the sunset. However, due to the weather, we did not manage to catch the best sunset as it was misty. But nevertheless, we took photos of the coloured sky.

After that, we shopped around for souvenirs and had dinner. We then retired for the night as we need to wake up early the next morning to catch the sunrise.

The next morning, we gathered at the hotel lobby at 5 plus to set off for Yushan (玉山) to watch the sunrise and sea of clouds. It was very cold in the morning, the temperature was around 0oC to 2oC. So, do be well prepared for the weather!

Due to the weather conditions, we didn’t see any sea of clouds but the sunrise was great! Each of us was given a plastic film, through which we would watch the sunrise. This is to protect the our eyes.

After watching the sunrise, we returned to the hotel to have our breakfast. The warm porridge was welcoming after being in the cold air. We then met up with our guide for the forest trail. Our guide, Mr Chen is really knowledgeable in the history of Alishan and told us many stories of Alishan. One of which is that the legend of the Sisters Lakes was a fake one. The legend told that two sisters fell in love with the same man, and to prevent hurting their relationship, they jumped into the separate lakes. According to Mr Chen, this story is made up by an artist who wanted to sell his painted postcards of the two lakes. But nevertheless, the story was well spread and become a legend!

After the forest trail, we went to Alishan train station. As we were going to catch the bus to Sun Moon Lake, we did not take the train up to Zhushan, we just took some photos of the station.

 

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Forest trail guide: 陈炤威先生 (chenjowi@hotmail.com)