Saturday, May 25, 2013

It's Time for Taiwan! Day 5

Day 5: Sun Moon Lake Sunrise, Cingjing

We woke up really early and met the boss with several other ppls staying at the minsu at 5.30am.
This was a special program by the minsu boss to show guests the beautiful sunrise and surroundings that place had.

He gave us a special tea pack to fill our water bottle with. No need to put hot water he said. Just cold water would be enough. He told us to just put it in the water bottle before setting off.

So we did, and after like 15min of walking up this little hill, we took out our water bottles and saw this colour! Tasted the tea and its really fragrant I must say.


And then the boss told us that only he is allowed into this area for watching sunrise...



Simply because, they own the tea plantation around there. So the tea is black tea harvested from his own plantation. hahaha. rich boss.


Does the cluster of hills look like a crouching tiger to u? I can't really tell but he said that the ppl there says it is..



Different views from around the area.





Was walking back while we passed by this huge moth which was nicely stucked onto the ground like a specimen.


This house is for storing tea leaves. The wood is of special material and can prevent the tea leaves from becoming damp! Mother nature!


After a long walk down we had our free breakfast prepared by the minsu. Just some simple eggs, ham and bread. And tea to go with it.


LL decided to buy their tea leaves after trying the one we had in the morning. It was quite expensive. But ok la since its of good quality I guess.


There was still some time before we set off for Cingjing, so we decided to take the ferry around Sun Moon Lake. Bought the tix from the minsu and it costs lesser than if u buy if directly from the vendor. If I never rmb wrongly it should be NT 150 per person


The ferry takes u to 2 spots. From the harbour, it goes to an island with a temple, and Ita Thao, and then back to the harbour again.

We alighted at the island. And found that theres really nth unless u wanna climb up the steps WHICH WAS VERY HIGH up to the temple. So we waited for the next ferry and went to Ita Thao.

At least Ita Thao has more things. But again, the shops were really quiet. (I wonder if cos its a weekday?) But we decided to buy some black tea egg and icecream.

Made of one of Sun Moon Lake's most popular ingredient black tea, this icecream tastes different from the normal icecreams we have. Its not that sweet, and it feels healthier. But I wouldn't buy it again next time ahahah. 

Ok then after we took the ferry back and went to get our bags from the minsu before heading off at around 12+ for the bus to the bus station before changing another bus to Cingjing.

There was still some time before the bus came, so we decided on a nearby KFC. ITS SO MUCH NICER THAN SG's. The chicken wasn't like our oily oily ones. Its really nice. And the fries were different, and NICE. Just delicious.


Ok after that we took a 1h+ busride, up the mountains (it was sooo scary cos the mountain was so high, much higher than the usual Genting I normally go to), and finally reached Cingjing. We had to walk a few mins to our minsu:

Tadah! Our Wonderland! We had to walk a long flight of stairs to our room. And I felt really breathless. LL says its cos we are on a high altitude thats why. Do u know how breathless I felt after climbing the steps which is about 2-3 stories? Almost heart stopping. No kidding.



But the room looked great. And is sooooo spacious!


And the view here was just tooo awesome.
Wanted Starry Minsu at first but couldnt book it. So settled for Misting Minsu. But this was awesome in its own way too so I'm glad we came here.


It was around 4+ when we settled in. So after resting awhile, we decided to go to Carton King for dinner as we have to take a ride down in the evening to go for hotsprings!



First time seeing a restaurant with everything made up of carton. Unbelievable.





I had this Hokkaido Shabu Shabu set. WHICH WAS AWESOME!
I really luved my food.

Clockwise from bottom left: rice, jelly, meat, sauce for the meat. The jelly was especially gd!

LL's pork chop set.

It was such a hearty meal, and at 6+ we met the driver who drove us down to Lushan, which was at the foot of the mountain, for hotsprings. Cos we were still full, he took us sightseeing along the way. Too dark to take any photos, until we reached Lushan. He took us to the old street for a walk.

This is a bridge which was scary to walk on. My first time walking on a real suspension bridge which has a stream below u. Shaky ok. real shaky.



Bought some rose vinegar and cherry blossom vinegar while we were walking there...


Ok and then the driver brought us to the hotel

There were 2 levels. One is the only the pool with hotsprings. 

The other level has interesting facilities like the massage areas etc. 

And on our way back, he brought us to Old England for some phototaking!
And u know what, I read online that this area is off limits for ppl who don't stay here. But we managed to snap photos. Know why? cos the driver has a farm and house just beside it... and thus he has the authority to go in just like that. Cool huh? Just our luck to have him as our driver! Another rich man we met while on this trip ahaha.


Ok so after this we were dead tired, and the next morning, we had to meet the driver again at 4.30am for sunrise at Hehuanshan.

*by the way, the program to Lushan and Hehuanshan was arranged with the minsu. Its all clearly stated on their website so if ur interested, just go to their website and take a look.


Friday, May 24, 2013

It's Time for Taiwan! Day 4

Day 4: Nantou, Sun Moon Lake

Wokeup at 5+ in the morning and brought our luggage to the Baggage Center at Taipei Train Station in the hopes that we can put our luggage there for 4 days as we go off to Nantou. But the person there said there cos its QingMing Festival, so there isn't much space left!! So we walked back with the huge luggage to our hotel and tried asking them if its possible to put it there even tho we are not coming back to stay, they said its ok!

So next time if you intend to stay at Y Hotel Taipei, do rmb they have this amazing service! This hotel is in very close walking distance to the subway so its really convenient. Only downside is that the room is old and toilet is old.... But at least they do clean the room properly la so don't complain if u want good distance and affordable prices too.

I had bought the High Speed Rail tickets a month ago, so I have the early bird special and its 10-20% off depending on the timings.


Its only 1h from Taipei to Taizhong via the bullet train!
And the interior is so comfortable! Much more comfortable than Korea's one!

Ok so after we reached Taizhong station, we were approached by this cab driver who asked us if we wanna go SML. If we didn't take his cab we would have to wait 1h+ for the first bus and it takes more time too.

So we agreed and took the taxi and the fare turned out to be about NT 2000 from Taizhong Train station to our minsu, and from our minsu to the Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village.

As we would reach at the opening time of the theme park/cultural village if we took the cab, as opposed to taking the bus, so we decided on the cab. But after googling later on, I found out that the cab fare shouldn't be that expensive. So, do check out the price first if u wanna take long distance cabs like these.

Anw, we reached the village at the opening time and took some pictures of the Lavender garden in front of it first.



One Piece themed garden. I wonder whats One Piece got to do with the Aborigines?










The village finally opened and we quickly hurried in for their opening performance.




After the short performance, we went to play some rides at the theme park.

Didn't have breakfast so bought a hot dog bun from one of the stalls inside and it was expensive and horrible.

Carousel

3d movie













LL wanted to take this Maya Adventure Roller coaster. He said it doesn't look scary and so I went on it with a fearful heart. And u know what? IT IS FREAKING SCARY! HAS ALOT OF SWIRLS AND TURNS AND not to mention 360degree turns!!! LL felt nauseous after that lor. hahhaha but I was fine. But I absolutely hate swirls and turns. Drops are ok but this doesn't have alot of drops....


See.... don't anyhow take roller coasters if ur not sure.


Hot sunny day, but the weather was actually ok if ur under the shade. About 20+ degrees.

Shooting area which is not free.

Houses which mimic the aboriginal ones.





It was almost lunchtime and we were hungry.


Thao tribe 竹筒饭, soup, and 米酒.



We continued to walk up the mountain. The whole cultural theme park was an uphill/downhill walk.






Watched another performance..


And we had our proper lunch at the 'foodcourt'.


I had this chicken set. Which was quite horrible. The taste wasnt that good and it felt like frozen chicken that has been kept for very long.

And then at 2.30pm we went to the Naruwan Theatre which was at the top, for the 9 tribes performance.



And after that, we saw another performance at the nearby theatre again ahaha.
Nth much to do other than watching performances. Well, how often do u see this type of thing in SG anw?



And after that, we wanted to take the cable car back down and go back to rest when we saw some girls taking photos in the aboriginal costumes.

And why would I miss this sort of opportunity?

NT 150 each for renting the costumes for 15min.


The old auntie asked me which costume I wanted. I didn't know which to choose. So she suggested this colourful getup which is vastly different from the rest. FYI the rest are mostly reds.

Mine was the princess 公主 costume from the Thao tribe 邵族. It is the smallest tribe out of all the tribes in Taiwan and the auntie told me there is only 1 person left in that tribe now. wooo... so I must take more, if not extinct!


LL's one was the warrior 勇士 costume from 排湾族


Luv this photo:


And this photo really is crap. cos the uncle beside me didn't want to waste money to rent costumes and he wanted to take this photo. Can't u tell that the photo looks uglier becos of him. I mean, be more 自动 and let the ones in costume take la.


But anw, the 2nd girl from the left is the most expensive princess costume out of all cos of the intricate details and individual shells and accessories on it.And guess what, mine was the cheapest out of all!


But its ok! Whatever I wear looks expensive anw! HAHAHA


After the 15min of phototaking, we walked further up to the cable car tower.




It was actually quite terrifying to be in the cable car, cos there was the earthquake the day before. And the tallest height is about 18 stories high.
The pictures just don't do justice to how high it really looks.


But anw, we reached the ground safe and sound. yepppp. Took a bus back to our minsu and finally gotten the keys. The room was spick and span. Very nice place.


We rested awhile and went out to look ard the surrounding harbour and look for dinner too.



Really nth much ard that area. Just stay there for 1 day is enough for me.

Our minsu lady boss suggested this noodle shop nearby which sells Thao tribe noodles.

I tried it and it taste not bad.

LL had this hotpot which is not bad too. 

And that sums up our eventful day 4 at Sun Moon Lake. Had an early night as we had to wakeup bright and early the next day to watch sunrise tgt with the boss. Till then!