Day 1 of the tour! Look at this awesome preview that Alan Chou put together. Lots of activities and things to see!
And look, a box of water to make sure we stay refreshed with the 80 F weather.
There were 2 bus stops before we got to our destination. After a 1 hour drive, we stopped by a convenient store that had a food court on the second level. We tried looking for bubble tea and were not successful. There were a ton of toilets! After a 1:20 drive, we had a second stop. We sampled some flaky cakes and pork jerky along with the mini cup of tea. The store had a souvenir stamping station that I stupidly put in my actual passport. (That’s actually illegal since you’re defacing government property… but I didn’t run into any trouble at customs when coming home, phew.)
Off the bus and to the little town, we go!
It was lunch time, so we helped ourselves to this great recommendation from Alan. It was 65 TWD each.
We picked up our bubble tea and sat on these benches so we can eat like savages. Nom nom. Wish I had that chicken wing right now… it was so delicious.
I do not remember this walk at all (I thought I took great notes during this trip…). This staircase reminds me of garlic bulbs, LOL! 570 steps / 20 minute walk to the next tourist sight.
Ci’en Pagoda & Holy Monk Shrine
We ran for the pagoda to get the nice views of Sun Moon Lake! Jk. No running in the heat. We went to Taiwan in November, which is shoulder season, and it was still very hot. I definitely DO NOT recommend going during Q3, which will be much hotter!
It was pretty neat taking a short stop at every level to see the change in view.
Just look out at the view!
I stamped a second souvenir stamp (like an idiot) into my passport.
20 minutes later (and getting a great overview of the amazing hotel that night), we arrived at the next stop.
There were a lot of intricate designs all over the temple. We saw a wall that was etched with names of all the donors. It’s only 1000 TWD ($33) to get your name included! How cool is it to have your name live forever? It was mostly filled with Chinese characters so the English donors were very noticeable.
There were smaller templates within the area for Guan Yu (God of Aggression), Confucious and his 4 pupils, marriage…
Back on the bus to head to the hotel. Alan wasn’t kidding when he said this tour is not stressful and look at the info to prep us for the next day!
How awesome is this welcome from Fleur de Chine? Once our bus rolled up, the staff came with a tray of refreshing tea as they took all our luggage off the bus.
Hotel: Fleur de Chine (Expedia)
Whoo! We made it. This is probably the first and only hotel that I stayed at that does not charge for the soda, juice, and water in the hotel room fridge! There was also a package of black tea sesame egg roll that we carried all the way home. It was mostly crumbled but still VERY delicious (kinda glad my co-workers weren’t fans, haha).
Since it was around 5:45 PM by the time we settled in, we had to enjoy the nakey spa zone. It was so comfortable just sitting in the hot spring water for an hour. Only 1 other woman entered the spa at the time. We also braved the cold water pool for a few seconds. After a wonderful shower with the best tea smelling soap, we enjoyed the buffet dinner.
From 7:20 PM – 9:30 PM, we were pigging out. We had such a good meal that we forgot to take any pictures. We tried to balance out our gluttony by playing some billiards (we couldn’t since other groups booked it for 2 whole hours) and ended up playing ping pong.
Like a bunch of oldies we are, we were tired at 10 PM and took this opportunity to enjoy the individual hot spring tub in the hotel room. It was a perfect end to an amazing first day of the tour!