Going to Sun Moon Lake, you must get up early to beat the crowds and catch the first bus there. We got the 0750 bus but the little station was already packed with tourists! There’s a selection of ticket packages you can buy along with your bus ticket, ours included a boat ride across the lake, free shuttle bus travel around the area and bike rental. From what I recall, they weren’t too expensive for the varying packages, but keep in mind how much you think you can fit in throughout the day! On the bus, I was getting ready to fall asleep when I spotted our friend Aline, who we met in the Taipei hostel, she had left a few days earlier than us so it was a pleasant surprise to see her again – yay for travel friends!
I’ve now mastered the art of sleeping on transport and fell asleep on the journey there, waking up to a stunning view of the clouds weaving dreamily in and out of the hills. Getting off, we exchanged our boat vouchers for tickets with a lady on the street. It’s not something to be suspicious of, but do be aware there are different companies around that you can exchange your vouchers with so make sure your group all exchanges with the same person! With the water so clear and blue, it wasn’t hard to enjoy the cruise across the lake and on the other side, we visited Wen Wu Temple and a peacock garden before catching a bus back to the main area for lunch (Taiwanese beef noodle soup – the best!) After lunch we decided to make use of our bike vouchers and rented a bike for the rest of the afternoon. There’s a great cycle path to take, although at some points it can get a little crowded and frustrating when the people in front of you are too slow. Turning back at Xiangshan Visitor Centre, we were able to enjoy the view for a while before we witnessed a drone accident! Someone lost control of the drone they were flying and it flew into a lady’s head, knocking her unconscious. (Reading up in Taiwanese news the next day, we can all breathe a sigh of relief – she was fine!) Another thing to note is that buses on the way back from Sun Moon Lake can be get extremely busy, so it’s best not to get the last bus back as you might get stranded – we left at around 4pm and there was already a huge queue!