Taiwan, Travel

11 days in Taiwan: Day 3 in Sun Moon Lake

ferries at sun moon lake

Day three was a real hectic day as we were driving from Cingjing to Sun Moon Lake, then to Xinshe, before reaching Taichung to settle down.

I am not too sure what we were thinking but we only spent a short two hours in Sun Moon Lake so be prepared for an extremely condensed itinerary which includes:

Reaching Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) was a good two hours drive from Cingjing.

Our driver, Mr Lu, dropped us at a viewing point of the lake so that we can get our mandatory tourist shots next to the stone sign that marked the place.

sun moon lake tablet taiwan

Because we hired a driver, none of us bothered to research more on the places that we drove to.

As a result, I didn’t quite know what to expect of Sun Moon Lake.

It somehow never occurred to me that it was…just a water body.

I am sometimes amazed by how my brain works… *facepalm*

So well, we had a view of the pristine lake.

view of sun moon lake taiwan

Mr Lu then whisked us off to get our ferry tickets to travel around the lake. We bought the tickets which would bring us from Shueishe (水社), to Syunguang Temple (玄光寺) then to Ito Thao (伊达邵) and Mr Lu would pick us up at Ito Thao.

The ferry operator told us that there was a ferry which was leaving the pier soon so we hurried over and hardly saw anything else in Shueishe.

ferry pier at shueishe pier sun moon lake

The pier was mainly constructed with floating platforms so it was a tad rocky but fun to walk on. Our ferry was right at the end.

ferries at sun moon lake
That oriental-styled ferry was a real standout.

We obviously didn’t ride on the funky one, so our ferry was pretty typical…

 

boat at sun moon lake

But it was great to be surrounded by the clear waters and lush mountains.

view of sun moon lake from ferry

Our ride from Shueishe to Syunguang was extremely entertaining as we had a super humorous guide on board who shared with us the more prominent sights along the way. We didn’t have the luck to get back the same guide for our second leg from Syunguang to Ito Thao though.

Tickets can be bought at Shueishe and Ito Thao piers.

Price: NT100/trip or NT300/whole island

Brief stop at Syunguang Pier

We alighted the ferry at Syunguang pier and found the entrance leading up to the Syunguang temple (玄光寺) swamped with people. The steps up to the temple looked too intimidating for us so we skipped it.

There was also music in the background of the most recognizable folk song, <阿里山的姑娘>. I seriously thought it was playing from a radio or something until I saw this:

tribe singers at syunguang temple sun moon lake

It was sang live.

The guide on the ferry told us to try the famous Jin Pen Ah Mah Tea Eggs (金盆阿嬷的香菇茶叶蛋) which was just a few steps down. Despite the seemingly long queue, we got the the tea eggs almost immediately.

Jin Pen Ah Mah Tea eggs at sun moon lake

I didn’t managed to get a photo of the eggs because I was struggling to get rid of the eggshell.

And the verdict? Not worth the trouble.

It tasted just like a normal egg. My cousin lamented that hers was super salty, like salt-salty and we figured that they probably didn’t have time to let the tea aroma and seasoning seep into the egg thoroughly and evenly.

Address: 南投縣魚池鄉日月村中正路338號

Directions: Alight at Syunguang Pier (玄光寺码头)

Ito Thao – A food paradise

Seeing that there was nothing else to see around here, we left for Ito Thao pier.

On the ride, we spotted the cable cars up to the Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village.

view of sun moon lake from ferry

We got off the ferry and Mr Lu joined us.

Along the way, there was this amazing street performer who dressed up like a historical Chinese warrior…the statue of one and I’d have to say that there was incredible likeness.

street performer at ito thao pier sun moon lake

We stopped to pose for a few photos and continued on into the streets, only to find ourselves flanked by food stalls.

food in ito thao sun moon lake taiwan

Okay, that was our cue.

Glutton mode unleashed.

And by some unknown sorcery, we found ourselves in front of a grilled muah chee stall.

grilled muah chee at ito thao sun moon lake (2)

We could choose two ingredients to add on to the snack.

grilled muah chee at ito thao sun moon lake (2)

So I went for chocolate syrup and condensed milk.

grilled muah chee at ito thao sun moon lake

I thought it was alright, but I didn’t quite like the sticky and dense texture. My cousin commented that the one sold in Ximending is notches better.

Next, we had this incredible chicken wing rice, 鸡翅饭饭 by 鹿司岸.

drumstick rice sun moon lake taiwan

Instead of serving it like conventional rice on the plate with the chicken wing, we had the rice stuffed into the wing!

How is it that Taiwanese are so creative with their food?

drumstick rice sun moon lake taiwan

The seasoning was super on point and the rice was the soft and sticky kind which I particularly favoured.

In short, it was divine.
Name: 鹿司岸 鸡翅饭饭

Address: 南投縣魚池鄉日月村義勇街22號

Nearest Pier: Ito Thao pier (伊达邵)

My saliva glands are working more and more furiously as I type.

We continued on and found some fried yam cakes, something like the carrot cakes we have here in Singapore.

fried yam cakes at ito thao sun moon lake taiwan

But if you think you are paying for a simple yam cake….you’re absolutely wrong.

There’s no such thing as simple food in Taiwan.

fried yam cakes at ito thao sun moon lake taiwan

The stall owner first picked a piece of yam cake for us, then spread some brown glistening sauce over it.

He then added some spicy and savoury seasoning and sprinkled sesame seeds before cutting it into nine equal pieces.

So much effort for just a yam cake.

I am sorry to have taken a photo that’s so blurry and undeserving of the work that went into this yam cake.

fried yam cakes at ito thao sun moon lake taiwan

Unsurprisingly, the yam cake was good. It being bite-sized helped too; we munched on it as we made our way through the crowds on the street.

fried yam cakes at ito thao sun moon lake taiwan

Name: 大甲芋签粿

Address: 南投縣魚池鄉義勇街65號

Nearest Pier: Ito Thao pier (伊达邵)

Mr Lu sneaked off to buy us some good Assam tea from Shao Tribe Princess, 邵族小公主.

And the shop is operated by the princess of the Shao tribe.

shao tribe assam tea sun moon lake taiwan

For NT35, we had a gigantic cup of Assam tea that was really aromatic with no artificial sugary taste.

shao tribe assam tea sun moon lake taiwan

You might want to share the drink because I reckon it was about 700ml.

Mr Lu then led us to the shop behind which was tended by the sister of the princess.

sea bird nest and rice wines at sun moon lake taiwan

The sister showed us to some rice wines they had which tasted pretty good by my standards.

To think I actually abhor alcohol.

But anyway, I was more interested in these:

sea bird nest and rice wines at sun moon lake taiwan

The sister explained that these were cube concentrates that we could mix with 360cc of water for a healthy beverage. The blue ones contained sea bird nest, which is a form of vegetarian collagen and the ones in the red packets are part of their 养生 (healthy lifestyle?) series.

There’s a hawthorne flavour one for slimming.

sea bird nest and rice wines at sun moon lake taiwan

Obviously, collagen and slimming are two sure-kill words for selling products to women. These were less than NT20 each anyway, which made for a legit excuse to buy more.

It was only later in the car, after we recovered from our momentary shopping craze, that it occurred to us that we’ve never heard of this dubious sea bird nest. So I did a quick google for it and found out that it is a type of seaweed that has ten times the amount of collagen in bird nest.

Honestly, I had the urge to turn back to get more.

It was a pity that I didn’t manage to find these anywhere else throughout my trip in Taiwan. These made for great, practical souvenirs for family and friends and there was only the ginger tea one on sale in Jiufen.

Here’s a photo of how the Chrysanthemum cube looks like when dissolving:

hrysanthemum concentrate from sun moon lake

You can see bits of the chrysanthemum flower even!

Address: 南投縣魚池鄉日月村義勇街118號

Nearest Pier: Ito Thao pier (伊达邵)

Just opposite the shop was a makeshift fruit stall. The stall owners convinced us to buy this hybrid of apples and bananas which looked just like a banana with red skin. Didn’t get a photo of that but it tasted like an unripe banana with apple-ish tinge. Despite the novelty, we didn’t find the taste fantastic.

But they also gave us some fresh passion fruit to eat which I thought was amaaazing!

passion fruit sun moon lake taiwan

I’ve had my fair share of passion fruit flavoured drinks but I’ve never ate an actual passion fruit before. It was so refreshing!

I would have gotten more if we weren’t already leaving.

Wen Wu Temple

From Ito Thao, Mr Lu drove us to Wenwu temple (文武廟) just a few minutes down the road. Awed by the majestic facade, we got down to view the temple.

wen wu temple sun moon lake taiwan

As you might have already realised, we are not a fan of steps. But it would have been lame to not go into the temple, so we climbed up anyway.

And we’re glad we did.

wen wu temple sun moon lake taiwan

The view was breathtaking.

The interior was equally majestic but it was horded by tour groups.

wen wu temple sun moon lake taiwan

wen wu temple sun moon lake taiwan

We walked around the temple a bit and scurried off after getting some souvenirs.

Next stop: Lavender Cottage at Xinshe!

Afternote

A consequence of not doing proper research of Sun Moon Lake was that we missed out on quite a fair bit of places to visit, most notably the various trails in the area. Reading the travelogues of others online made me realised that we probably only touched a teeny bit of the place and I definitely want to visit the place again in the future.

You got to spend at least a full day at Sun Moon Lake!

Subscribe to our mailing list
to get your free 11-day Taiwan itinerary

Please verify your email address first by clicking through the link in the subscription confirmation email sent by MailChimp. After which, the itinerary will be sent to you immediately. 😉

Read the full trip online:

Day 1 in Taipei
Day 2 in Cingjing
Day 3 in Sun Moon Lake
Day 3 in Lavender Cottage
Day 3’s Fengjia food guide
Getting to 921 Earthquake Museum on day 4
Day 5 in Park Lane by CMP
 Day 6 from Taichung to Hualien
Taroko National Park on day 7
Day 8 from Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall to Houshanpi
Jiufen + Shifen on Day 9
Pingxi sky lantern festival on day 9
Ending off with Taipei creative parks on Day 10
Tried and Tested: Accommodations in Taiwan


Useful Links:

Related Posts

11 days in Taiwan: Day 6 from Taichung to Hualien Last morning in Taichung and my biggest regret was not trying one of the breakfast shops near my homestay. Regardless, after packing my loots, I had t...
Taipei vegetarian food guide I went back to Taipei in August this year with my SO (he's a lacto-ovo vegetarian) and went about trying a lot of vegetarian food. Taipei is extremely...
11 days in Taiwan: Jiufen + Shifen on Day 9 I don't really have any specific activities or things to look out for in Jiufen and Shifen...it's mostly about soaking in the atmosphere when you're t...
Tried and Tested: Accommodations in Taiwan Where to stay in Taiwan? Here's a quick post to share the accommodations that I've tried during my 1.5 weeks vacation. Not the best bargain deals but ...

Author: Eunice

Hedonist-wannabe enjoying life’s pleasures on a realistic budget.

19 Comments on “11 days in Taiwan: Day 3 in Sun Moon Lake

  1. Hi would you also help me for the number of your guide around sun moon lake? Thank you so much! 🙂

  2. Hello Eunice, would you mind sharing the contact of your driver please! And is he cost of hiring him NTD7,000 as stated in your post?

    Thank you so much for your help

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *