Saturday, 15 June 2013

Taiwan Day 32: Taichung, Sun Moon Lake, Fengchia Night Market

I missed blogging while I was away for the last three days but now that I have my computer back I can share about my trip!

3 Day West Taiwan Trip

Day 1

Taipei - Taichung - Sun Moon Lake - Taichung (Scroll down)

Day 2

Taichung - Tainan - Kaohsiung (Read here)

Day 3

Kaohsiung - Kenting - Kaohsiung - Taipei (Read here)

Note: Exchange rate used is CAD$1 to NT29.3
Learn more about the TR Pass in this post.

Trip Day 1

To build this itinerary we worked around the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) train schedule and the TR-Pass. I will write another post about my experience with the TR-Pass but in short we bought a 5 day student train pass which we first used at Hualien.

TRA train station
Hui Chee and I started our day very early by taking the 5:40am train from Taipei to Taichung. By 8:30am we reached Taichung and stored our bags at the train luggage storage. I really recommend using this service because it only cost NT17 (CAD$0.58) to store our bags for the entire day until their closing time at 7:00pm. The lockers next to the storage room cost NT20 (CAD$0.68) every three hours and you cannot pay for more than three hours at once!

Luggage storage vs. lockers
From the Taichung Train Station we went straight to look for the bus that would take us to Sun Moon Lake. In Taiwan there are bus companies that will take you to different tourist attractions that are too far to take the public transit or too expensive to take the taxi. 

Nantou bus
We used Nantou Bus which is around a 15 minute walk from the train station. The round trip bus tickets cost NT340 (CAD$11.60) and was a 2 hour ride each way. We finally arrived at Sun Moon Lake by 10:30am!

Sun Moon Lake
The lake was very large but was not as nice as the photos depicted it online. Actually, even my photos made the scenery look nicer than when I saw it in reality. There are a few ways to view the lake. One can either drive/cycle around it, take a ferry across it or take the cable car to view it from above. We opted for the latter option and bought a package for the cable car and Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village together at student price NT580 (CAD$19.78).

Cable Car and Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village ticket
The ride up the mountain offered the best view of the lake in my opinion because the mountains are as beautiful as the water. 



Unfortunately it started to rain as our cable car reached the village so the photos above were the last I saw of the blue sky that day. Contrary to the name, the village is actually a One Piece themed amusement park. There were some attempts at showcasing Taiwan's different aboriginal tribes but were vastly covered by the One Piece theme.

One Piece ship
Since it was raining, a few of the major rides were closed like the roller coaster and water ride. Out of the few rides that I was able to go on, the UFO drop tower was my favourite! It spun around 180 degrees as it went up so that you could look around. The amusement park is in the middle of the mountain so at the top of the drop tower you feel like you've been elevated even higher than the mountains! Dropping down from that elevated feeling of height was unlike any other drop tower ride I've been on.

UFO Ride (Drop tower)
We stayed at the park until 3:30pm and basically went on all the available rides and watched most of the shows. The park itself isn't very large but its secluded location and included cable car ride makes it quite fun. Below are a few more photos at the park.


3D One Piece Movie
Large garden
The 2 hour ride back to Taichung flew by quickly and we went back to the train station to collect our bags. The hotel we booked was only a 10 minute walk away from the station so we checked in to drop off our things.

Emoon Hotel
Around 6:30pm we went out to find the famous Fengchia Night Market which is apparently one of the biggest night markets in Taiwan. The bus ride took an entire hour to get there because it stopped frequently. I could not believe how inexpensive the bus ride was! For public buses in Taichung, we could use the Easy Card that we used in Taipei and using a swipe card allowed all passengers to travel for 8 kilometers for free. Our bus ride to Fengchia only cost NT5 (CAD$0.17)!

Fengchia Night Market
Fengchia has more food stalls than clothing ones and I really enjoyed my time here. The food was less expensive than in Taipei and there were ones that I haven't seen before like the "big weiner wrapped around small weiner."


Big weiner wrapped around small weiner
That was the end of our first day! Although it seemed very long and packed (early morning to evening) we were able to rest on the train and bus rides so when we got off we were ready to explore.

3 Day West Taiwan Trip

Day 2

Taichung - Tainan - Kaohsiung (Read here)

Day 3

Kaohsiung - Kenting - Kaohsiung - Taipei (Read here)

Take care,


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22 comments:

  1. hi, may i know if you booked the bus ticket from taichung to sun moon lake beforehand? or can you just buy on the day itself?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi K, Sorry for my late reply! I did not book ahead of time, I just bought the ticket when I arrived at the bus company office. There are many bus trips per day so you don't have to worry about them selling out!

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. Your post is awesome! I was wondering, how did you get the TR pass and how much did it cost for the pass and all the other train rides for the 3 day west taiwan tour? Did the TR pass work for all the train rides? Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lydia, thank you :)
      -Got the TR pass at Taipei Main Station
      -I have a whole separate blog post about the pass itself! Lots more details there. http://thevivienave.blogspot.ca/2013/06/taiwan-day-35-about-tr-pass.html
      -For the whole West Taiwan tour I only used the TR pass for the flat rate of NT599

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  4. Hi,
    your blog post is really helpful. Could I ask you where the the nantou bus drops you off at sun moon lake? Is it at the shueishe pier?
    Thk you!
    Janice

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    Replies
    1. Hello Janice, thank you! I am not sure if it is the pier you are talking about but the Nantou Bus dropped us right in front of a Sun Moon Lake visitor centre/office so you will definitely be able to ask for directions. If it is the wrong side of the lake, they have an internal bus around the lake that you can buy the ticket for at the office. It should cost less than NT30.

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  5. Hello! Is there bus from the SML visitor center going back to taichung? If so, what are the details(Bus company, timing, price, where in taichung do they drop off)?

    Thanks (:

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    Replies
    1. Hi Cherie you can check out the Nantou bus company website I linked above if you can read Chinese. I bought the return ticket to Taichung when I purchased the bus ticket. But I saw other people buy the ticket directly on the bus when it arrived at the bus station (you can ask the visitor centre where it is).

      However, a word of caution that the bus may be full and you might not get on! That was the case for some of the tourists and it ended up that people had to sit on the aisle and floor because the bus was so full with the passengers that already paid beforehand and the ones who bought their tickets on the spot.

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  6. Thank you, this was super helpful :)

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  7. Hi there

    You took a train from Taipei to Taichung.. is it the HSR or the normal train? if Im not wrong, the HSR has no lockers. Just double-checking :) I will be heading there mth end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      I took the TRA (aka normal train) and not the HSR so I'm not sure about the locker situation there!

      Delete
  8. Hi there!

    Awesome write up about the luggage drop off at train station. I would like to check at taichung train station, what is the size of the lockers to keep luggage??

    Hope to hear back soon, many thanks,
    Wen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Wen,

      Thanks for reading! There are 2 options: storage room and lockers. The storage room is big and the staff just put your luggage on shelves or the ground so you can have a full size luggage and that'd be no problem.

      The lockers (I believe you can see their size in the photo in the blogpost) are small and fit about 2 standard backpacks.

      Cheers,
      Vivien

      Delete
    2. Hi! Nice writeup, good information. Regarding the luggage storage, do you know if they can store the luggage overnight? thanks!

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    3. Hi Keb I'm honestly unsure but I don't think so because the luggage room is staffed by people at the front desk. When they leave work there's nobody keeping the luggage secure. You may want to ask your hotel for that service.

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  9. Hi, the baggage service that you use, is at Taichung Railway Station Baggage Room situated beside Taichung Railway Station? The baggage can be stored for 1 day that is untill 7pm?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes the baggage service is right next to the exit. It's next to the washroom so you can't miss it! Yes the baggage will be stored until closing time. Same price for any number of hours.

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  10. do you any baggage storage at sun moon lake?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry I'm unsure if there is baggage at sun moon lake since I had already left my baggage at the Taichung Train Station.You may be able to get that service with a hotel.

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  11. Hey Vivien,

    Great post and pic on Taichung! Do check out our post on things to do in Taichung as well!

    Happy Travels Everyone!

    Tom,
    2bearbear.com

    ReplyDelete