Scootering up the mountain to Sun Moon Lake
01.08.2008 - 01.08.2008 75 °F
Took a day trip to Sun Moon Lake in the mountains of central Taiwan with my Dad yesterday. It took about 1 1/2 hours on the scooter; my dad drove and i rode on the back. It was a fun day trip, especially fun because we took the scooter. You get to feel the wind in your face and as the passenger, take pictures in any direction while driving!
I just discovered that I can make my own map at Google Maps, so you can take a look at it here. The two markers are my gramma's house in Beidou (on the left) and Sun Moon Lake (on the right).
Sun Moon Lake is the largest lake in Taiwan and on the weekend, is quite the Taiwanese tourist spot. However, we went on a weekday and there was hardly anyone around. We hit some of the main spots around the lake: the main pier, tea fields, a temple, a pagoda, orchid and betel nut growers and a pagoda.
Our trusty steed awaits as we take a break at the river bank.
Scenes from the ride.
New year wishes hang beside the lake pier.
Tea fields. Assam tea from India was brought to this area by the Japanese during the colonial period and is now a huge industry.
Wish bells blow in the wind by the path that leads to the Wen Wu Temple.
The Wen Wu Temple sits atop a hill overlooking the lake. It tributes both military and civil greats, such as a Han Dynasty general and Confucious.
There was a devastating earthquake a few years ago and the temple was just recently rebuilt. This closeup of a ceiling dome of the temple shows the detailed work and new paint from the reconstruction.
Lion's Head orchids and betel nut are grown in the area, in addition to plums and mushrooms! (I found the betel palms to be quite beautiful, but the habit of chewing the betel nut is quite nasty. It creates a red spittle when chewed and people tend to spit it out on the streets. Somewhat similar to chewing tobacco.)
The Tsen Pagoda stands high above the lake at almost 1000m above sea level. The first president of Taiwan, Chiang Kai Shek, dedicated the pagoda to his late mother. There are 9 levels and a loud gong at the top. I started climbing to the top, when the sheer noise and vibrations at the 5th level made me retreat back to the ground! Instead I beat on the giant drum which was only a small step and jump off the ground.
More pics at Flickr.
Notes on riding long distances on a scooter:
- Riding as a passenger on a scooter on windy mountain roads is somewhat like dancing with a partner. You have to follow the lead (driver) and lean with the curves.
- Make sure to have a helmet with a face guard - and use it. Small insects hitting your face at 70 km/hr is not pleasant.
- It sure is fun, but after an hour and a half, your butt really starts to hurt!