We stayed at the Fleur de Chine Hotel (formerly called Fenisia) in Nantou [南投], which sits right on the banks of Sun Moon Lake and has almost a panoramic view of the lake from the hotel. While it’s definitely on the pricier side, maybe even more so now that it’s been 5 years since I last went, I think it’s worth the splurge. The main window in our room framed the pretty lake picture perfectly. Our room was tatami-styled with a Japanese tea set, and complete with yukatas for bathing in the hot springs. There was even an adorable plate of handmade cookies for Taiwanese Father’s day: merengues, truffles, and sugar and butter cookies, as well as a fruit bowl with Naju pears, plums, and mango. AND a touch screen, old-school, handheld phone, which was the coolest thing I saw in 2008. (Keep in mind this was when people still used Blackberries and iPods, and iPhones were still luxury items).
Once we had settled in and put our luggage down, we took our family friends to Wen Wu Temple [文武廟 wen wu miao]. The first of three halls is a shrine devoted to the God of Literature, the central hall to the “god” of war, Guan Gong [關公 guan gong], and the warrior god Yue Fei [岳飛]. A rear hall is dedicated to Confucius. Both Guan Gong and Yue Fei were both military heroes idolized for their loyalty and have since been deified for their moral qualities. It was a rather gloomy Sunday and the temple wasn’t open to visitors, so we just spent about a half hour roaming the grounds outside.
When we returned to our hotel room, we found some humongous hot spring tomatoes in our room. My mom and I immediately sliced one open to find it sweet, tender, and overflowing with juice. Mmm. After a little while, we met with our friends for a late (3pm) lunch, which was tasty, but not quite memorable other than the pictures I took.
The next day was spent walking around the lake and taking a short cruise to one of the small islands in the center, since it was a blue skies and sunny kind of day. Sun Moon Lake gets its name from the fact that the east side of the lake resembles a sun while the west side resembles a moon. It’s the largest body of water in Taiwan. I can’t remember the islands being all that interesting, but I do remember some tasty tea eggs and really fat roosters and pheasants. I wanted to release them :'(.
Other than that, a relaxing 2-day trip! Highly-recommended escape from the busy streets of Taipei. Have any of you been to Sun Moon Lake recently? 🙂 I’d love to hear what it’s like now!