Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Touristy Side of Taiwan

Greetings from Sun Moon Lake! I am amused and not-really-embarrassed to admit I managed to spend 7 years in Taiwan without having come here, until now. I've also never been to Alishan, believe it or not. I guess at some point I'll have to drink the tourist Kool-Aid and go there, too.

We're here just because we had a weekend free together, which these days is rare. I also feel like it's a sort of celebration, although we didn't plan it this way, of my quitting my job. I'm free, I'm free, I no longer need formal employment to maintain a visa and have basically sufficient freelance income and opportunities - at last I'm free! I finish at the end of August, but I'll finish off all of my continuing contracts and be open to freelancing with them in the future.

So far, not bad. I mean, it's exactly what I expected. Doesn't even look terribly different from my mind's eye picture before I arrived. Beautiful lake, smaller than I imagined, no idea why people think it looks like a sun and a moon (it really doesn't, not at all, I just don't see it, sounds like something someone made up to justify giving it a tourist-friendly name). Really very scenic and lovely, I can see why people want to come here.

Too bad the development in Shuishe (where we are now and where we'll stay tonight) kind of ruins it, and all the big fancy hotels that I'd never pay to stay in hog the best views.

But at least we have everything we need, from ATMs to coffee to wifi to shopping. It's an easy and enjoyable weekend destination, but I can't imagine spending more than a weekend here.

We've just arrived so that's about it, chilling in a coffeeshop for a bit as we didn't get much sleep last night. The typhoon screwed up Brendan's work schedule and instead of being off at 5pm as planned, he didn't get off until 10 and didn't reach Taichung until 2am, as he had to wait for a bus that wasn't full from Taipei.

But I fully expect to write a post on visiting a huge tourist destination in a country I've lived in for many years, but only now just visited. It promises to be an interesting experience, to see this side of "touristy" Taiwan. Especially when my usual experiences here have been anything but touristy (I don't generally go to the places swamped by Chinese and other Asian tourists, and Western/non-Asian tourists don't seem to have discovered Taiwan...yet).

4 comments:

cathy said...

ive never been as well, so looking forward to your thoughts about it

TravellingAK said...

I haven't been, and have a month before I move to Taiwan, but friends of mine keep talking about going out there, so it is on my to-do-list. What I am curious about is how easy/difficult it is to get out there - Taiwanese friends tells me it is a bit of a challenge?

Also looking forward to reading more about how it actaully was, of course!

Cheers,
Ann-Katrin

Jenna Cody said...

Not a challenge at all. If you can get to Puli you can get to Sun Moon Lake, and Puli is easily accessible from many points by bus (including Taichung). The buses only say the name in Chinese, but for someone who doesn't speak or read it, I imagine you could just show the characters to the bus station ticket agent (get a friend to write them or just bring a guidebook that provides them). They'll make sure you get on the right bus, and once you arrive you can't miss it - it's a huge lake (besides, the main town on the lake is the terminus of those buses). So no, not hard at all.

TravellingAK said...

Thanks Jenna! My friends who talked about how complicated it would be was perhaps not properly informed. They speak Chinese but were just told that there weren't good connections and you had to switch multiple times. That may however have been old information, by the sound of it you managed to get there without much issues.
Will make sure to take a weekend out there relatively soon after I have arrived, I am most curious!