Sun Moon Lake Ropeway, Taiwan

IMG_6488.2Our day started early today to visit the Peacock farm, stay at the farm for about 20 minutes and on our way to take the cruise to Sun Moon Lake Ropeway. We reached the station at 8.30 a.m. and it was a long queue. Try to go early to enjoy the entire day at the culture park and theme park.

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Our group managed to go into 3 cable cars and  which connects from the Sun Moon Lake with the Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village theme park. The ropeway cable cars are painted in red, yellow and blue to symbolize the red sun, yellow moon and blue lake. It also the Aboriginal culture red for happiness, yellow for healthy life and blue for ecology.

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We bought our tickets for the cable cars and amusement park for the Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village.. The tickets for the cable car are sell separately from the amusement park. From the cable car trip to the amusement park, we were able to see the beautiful scenic view of the Sun Moon Lake.  Our first stop is the visit the local aboriginal craft shop and then to the theme park to enjoy the water rides and roller coastal rides.

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We have our lunch at the traditional villages, we have the beautifully cooked bamboo glutinous rice and all the gift,food and drink are exchangeable with the coupons  comes with the entrance ticket to the park.

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After our lunch we visited the traditional built Aboriginal houses which were made of slabs of stones to preserve the heat inside the house. Our friend have arranged for us to see the culture show of 9 different tribe culture dances.  Awed with the traditional cultures and the old relics in the traditional houses.

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We didn’t want to waste time queuing the return trip by cable car, so we walk and take a bus to the local car park. We left the Sun Moon Lake to Tainan and on our way back to Tainan, we stop at a local village shop for a hot mud bath and dinner. The local village is famous for fried chicken, it look like roasted chicken but it was so delicious, I don’t recommend the mud bath to anyone as most of us got stung by the mosquitoes.

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Happy and love to thank our kind Taiwan for our warm welcome and introduction of the beauty of Taiwan, we didn’t manage to visit all of the famous spot, due to shortage of times and wrong season. We were able to immerse into their culture and soak into the life style of different world.

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Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) Taiwan

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Today we have a long journey from Kaohsiung to Taipei, after an early breakfast, our journey started at 8.00 a.m. It will take about 3 to 4 hours to reach Sun Moon Lake. We stop over at Salico Foods, to do some shopping and famous for the Pineapple Tarts and all our friends and relatives bought quick a  lot as gifts for friends.

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Amazed to see  the company spend a lot of monies on the building, it is a castle with  chess board drawn on the floor, a princess beautiful carriage for visitors and a group of tribe band playing and singing on the stage.

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We went  for the cruise at Sun Moon Lake, enjoy it as there ain’t so many tourists in the same boat. Sun Moon Lake is the largest body of water in Taiwan as well as a tourist attraction. Situated in Yuchi Township, Nantou County, the area around the Sun Moon Lake is home to the Thao tribe, one of aboriginal tribe in Taiwan. Sun Moon Lake surrounds a tiny island called Lalu. The east side of the lake resembles a sun while the west side resembles a moon.

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The area surrounding the lake has many trails for hiking. The lake and it surrounding countryside have been designated one of thirteen national scenic areas in Taiwan. There are a few temples around and we follow the trail to Syuanguang Temple.  There is a long flight of steps to climb as this temple is on top of the mountain. There are lot of tourists around here,  we stop to do some prayer and our way back to the ferry and to visit the next designation.

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Nert to a organic farm, we take a train ride around the park surrounded by a beautiful lake. Stop at the main entrance, we saw a few monks  so our friends lead us to the top of the building, a big statue of Guang Yin standing facing the lake and mountains.A serene and peaceful place and we have so much fun and laughter at this place. I have no idea what is the name for this place but we been taken into a museum where a few staff explain the process of nature plants extract made into soap, foot powder, facial soap and etc. Fascinating and each of us bought some soaps and foot powder and some facial skin care made of organic plant extract.

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The last place we been is the manufacture of color papers, we reached here quite late and the staff waited for us, They explain the machinery us to make paper and some of the amazing items such as frame cartoon characters, lamps, hats and etc are make from colorful papers. it is a good experience to see some of the works and items for sale and we bought some of it to take home with us.

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We stay in Sun Moon Lake hotel, amazed with such a big room for family and with a balcony facing Sun Moon Lake. Our friend arrange for us to try the famous Taipei cuisines in one of the restaurant near the hotel.  Wow! the food are incredible and beautifully cook, yummy and delicious. We though this is a happy ending for the day, “oh, no” our friends went to get some cold chicken and peanuts  for our supper, so we can enjoy ourselves with wine, beers and chat through the night.

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Fo Guang Shan Monastery (佛光山)

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We arrived Fo Guang Shan Memorial Center, as I have been to this Memorial Center in 2014 and it is my Taiwan Blog. We have a walk in the Memorial Center and my sister queue for the monk’s blessing. Once we finish our prayers and offering of wax lotus flowers to Buddha and Goddess Guang Yin, we walk up to Fo Guan Shan Monastery.

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Once we at the bottom of hill, we queue for the temple’s buggy to go up hill to the temple. It will take about half an hour walk up to the temple. Fo Guang Shang is located in Ta Shu, Kaohsiung,  is the biggest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan and it literally means “Buddha’s Light Mountain”.

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Fo Guang Shan is founded in 1967 by Venerable Master in promoting Humanistic Buddhism, it covered more than 30 hectares comprising of university buildings, shrines and cemetery.

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In 1975 and 1981, a 36 meter tall Amitabha Buddha and the Great Hero Hall were built. During this period over 200 temples were built all over the world by the Order’s Mother Monastery.

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I didn’t manage to visit Fo Guang Shan last year due to they are closed to public but I managed to visit this grandeur temple this year.  Fo Guan Shan was closed to general public in 1997 to 2000 due to provide the monastic the cloistered atmosphere for their Buddhist practice.

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Fo Guang Shan Monastery covered by green forests and the monastery is set on the top of the mountain with great views overlooking the surroundings town. There are more than 100,000 statues around the monastery and it create a mystic and solemn atmosphere.

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The temple and surroundings are well maintain by the monks and nuns, this temple is not flock with tourists and the clean, fresh air from the forests and mountain are so refreshing and it is a great place for mediating and prayer. Fo Guang Shan Monastery also included a self contained museum with all  antique relics  and statues of God, Goddess and Buddha.

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An amazing temple and would recommend to all my friends, if you happen in Kaohsiung, and it is worth a visit to this gorgeous place.

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Kaohsiung Pier 2 Art District (文化部-地方文化館)

 

We arrived  at the Kaohsiung  Pier  and  board a ship, within minute it take off. Surprised we have the ship to ourselves  there aren’t any tourists on board.

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We cruised around the sea port where the cargoes are loading to the vessels and ready to export out. Been told by our friend that this port is the 2nd major port in Taiwan.

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Along the piers, we saw a big Ocean restaurant been abandoned due to bad economic  in 2008.  At the moment, every year  there are about 5 millions tourists visit Kaohsiung and the local councils are  targeting for more tourists.

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The cruise is about 45 minutes and cruise around the scenic and coastal lines of Kaohsiung. A charming experience and would recommend to all my friends,  go for it  if you are in Kaohsiung.

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Alighted at Pier 2, and walking up the Pier  there are lot of sculptures around the pier. The Pier 2 Art Center in Kaohsiung is a hub of outdoor and indoor art warehouse and museums set around an old charming wharf. The wharf is now known as “Yencheng Passenger Wharf”

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The Pier 2 Warehouse was an abandoned warehouse and it used to store sugar but now it houses contemporary and modern art throughout the year. The surrounding grounds are full of modern and contemporary art sculptures, statues and beautiful decorated buildings.  There is a walking path and a cycle path through

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There are lot of tourists, locals and students around this place and it is the popular spot in Kaohsiung for modern and contemporary art fans.The place is bursting with young and old art lovers and tourists. A fabulous place and it would take half of the day to see all the art galleries and museums around here.

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It is a thumb up for me as I simply love it here, unfortunately we don’t have times  to see all the galleries as we are having a special local famous Taiwan cuisine at one of the restaurant in Tainan.

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The famous dishes are the chicken broth with herbs which  take about 12 hours to boil and the fresh crab with lot of eggs cook with glutinous rice. I like to thank  our Taiwan friends for arranging such a beautiful and gorgeous holiday with  local cuisine for our group.

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Lotus Lake 莲池潭 , Kaohsiung

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Today we are going to Kaohsiung (高雄), to visit the famous scenic man-made Lotus Lake (莲池潭). It is famous for the lotus plants on the  lake, temples and pagodas at the lake.

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The Spring Autumn Pavilions (春秋阁) and the Dragon Tiger Pagodas (龙虎塔) are locate at the southwestern of the lake.

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We visit the Dragon Tiger Pagodas (龙虎塔) with nine curve Bridge (九曲桥) connected to the shore. The pagodas is seven floor high. There is Chinese saying – Nine Curve bridge with every sharp turning, it is to help cleanse the evil spirits away.

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We walk  into the Dragon Mouth through it’s throat and exit from the tiger’s mouth. It is symbolize good luck.  Up to the top of pagodas we can see the town of Kaohsiung.  Directly opposite the Dragon Tiger Pagodas is the Ciji Palace (慈济宫) and being told by our Taiwan friend, it worth a visit, but we didn’t as we are schedule for a cruise around the Tainan port.

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The Spring & Autumn Pavilion is about 2 minutes walk from the Dragon Tiger Pagodas. The octagonal Spring & Autumn Pavilion is dedicated to the God of War, Guan Gong (关公) and it is about 4 level high.

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In front of the pavilions is a statue Goddess of Mercy (观音) and an oriental gazebo is at the back of the pavilions. There are lot of wild life  in the lake. We spend about 2 to 3 hours and continue our journey to the Kaohsiung harbour.

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Salt Pan Eco Village & Beimen Crystacl Church (水晶教堂)

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After temple trip, our friend took us to Beimen District  (北門區) to visit the popular spot Crystal Church (水晶教堂). The church opened last year, a romantic place and atmosphere for couples to tie the knot and taking wedding photos.

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The church is near Beimen Visitor Center and the building’s surrounded with a theme park of love, with many exotic buildings and art structures.  We stop for 10 to 15 minutes to take some photos and proceed our way to the Salt Pan a special cultural legacy and ecosystem in Beimen.

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This eco village used to be a major salt making center. The offspring of salt, fields workers renovated the deserted salt fields and salt village facilities to establish it into a eco village.  The series of works are carefully planned, guided activities are available at the village allow visitors to harvest salt and understand how salt is made.Visitors are allow to try their hands at making salt shakers.

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The eco village also boasts a salt wharf, coral reef walls, a mangrove ecosystem and a library dedicated to the salt making industry. At the salt mountain we can feel the heat from the salt and sun, we felt thirst and our skin so dry, it seen the salt extract water from our bodies.

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Some fields with canvas covered over small hill of salt, it is to prevent the salt wash away by the rain. It is intrigue and fascinating trip for us to learn and see how the eco salt system work.

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Donglong Temple, Tainan

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We reached Tainan on the late afternoon after we checked into our hotel, our Taiwan friends  took us to dinner at the local restaurant which is well known by the locals for the best local cuisines. The foods are beautiful cooked and so delicious, enjoyed the best pig’s legs cook in different ways and the utterly crisp Chinese salads that I have ever taste before.

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Early the next morning, our day started with a visit to Donglong Temple in Tainan.  the cultural gallery of Wangye is at the Donglong Temple and it contains Taiwan’s most complete collection of artifacts relating to Wangye worship, giving visitors a fine opportunity to learn more about the island’s religious faith.

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It contains finely wrought camphor-wood carvings of all the folk performances that are used to greet the Wangye in Taiwan today. With thousands of human figures that are extremely lifelike, each one having its own facial expression and posture.

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The representation of the rituals, inviting the gods, sacrificing to the gods, feasting with the gods and sending off the Wangye, as well as all the items that are place on Wangye boats.  The gallery gives us a comprehensive understanding of the content and importance of Wangye worship in Taiwan’s southwestern coastal areas.

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We are lucky to see  the fellow worships carrying the god chair with the god relic sitting on top of the chair, the men whose carrying  the chair go into a trance like state and will write down the information that the God want to give and to guide the follower.

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Kinda of interesting to learn and see different country cultures and beliefs. The workmanship and the gold  being use to do up the temple are amazing. A great experience and eye opening to enjoy the local culture of this village.