I told you I'd write about Sun Moon Lake, so here it is.
Sun Moon Lake is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Taiwan. In particular it is supposed to be really popular with Chinese tourists, so I've heard that if you go on the weekend it's totally overrun with tour busses filled with Mainlanders.
I went with two other foreign students. We left on Wednesday and returned on Thursday, so we didn't hit as many crowds as we might have otherwise.
The two towns are pretty built up as a result of the tourist industry. Most of these buildings are hotels or restaurants.
The picture's a little blurry, but I thought it was a funny story. We saw this grasshopper while walking, and the reaction from me, the New Yorker, and from the woman from Belgium was "Wow, that's pretty big!" The reaction from the woman from the Philippines was "Actually, I thought it was kind of small." Lesson: The tropics have big bugs.
Austin is such a great city even the people of Suishe love it.
I managed to get this guy looking right at me!
And then he blinked!
At this point the trail up the mountains stopped being a road and became an actual hiking trail. Since two of the three of us had sandals on, and since none of us was prepared for a real hike, we turned around and headed back down the hill. Next stop, the cable car.
There's Lalu Island, which we saw up close before.
The tower was also built just tall enough that when you stand on the top floor you are 1000 meters above sea level.
When you get to the top of the tower, after climbing 30 meters of stairs, you can make a wish and ring this bell.
Sun Moon Lake deserves its reputation as a top tourist location in Taiwan. There are certainly more isolated, natural places on the island, but by definition they are not as accessible. Sun Moon Lake is very beautiful, and for better or worse, it's easy enough to get to that bus after bus of tourists does just that.
I think my favorite part of the trip was Cien Pagoda though. Because of all the uphill walking required to get there, there weren't very many people. (Unlike Wenwu temple, which was swamped with busloads of tourists.) It was also just a really beautiful view. And it was somehow made more special by the fact that it was just this little (little compared to a modern skyscraper), stone tower with only spiral staircases to get you up, and no one selling trinkets at the top. (No one at all at the top when we went.) You're also surrounded by forests on one side, and because you're out in the open, you can hear the cicadas in the trees! I enjoyed the view from Cien Pagoda more than many skyscrapers I've been up. Plus, there was the added fun of knowing you were up on top of some guy's Mothers Day present.