The three day tour to Sun Moon Lake, Puli, Lukang, and Alishan National Scenic Area was fantastic! We were lucky to be the only ones on the tour, so we were able to see even more than the scheduled stops on the itinerary. Our tour guide was flexible and when we asked he helped us buy tickets to take a ferry across Sun Moon Lake, even though that was not a scheduled activity. We also made additional stops at a tea store, plum wine store, and ceramic factory. The handmade paper factory was really interesting and we enjoyed the hands-on opportunity to print on the paper for unique souvenirs. Sun Moon Lake and Alishan National Scenic Area were breathtaking! We loved both of the hotels, especially the Fleur de Chine hotel at Sun Moon Lake where we enjoyed the Japanese style room with a balcony view of the lake, the delicious local foods prepared at the hotel restaurant, and the fun pools and hot springs. This tour was a lot of driving and the scenic mountaintop roads were sometimes frightening, but our trip to Taiwan would not have been complete without seeing these beautiful sites!
We mainly enjoyed this tour and it formed a good finale to our 5-week holiday in South-East Asia. It didn' t have quite the "wow" factor that our longer tour in Indo-China had, though.
Plus points - Sun Moon lake itself, Wen Wu temple, Holy Monk shrine and Tse-En pagoda on the first day. On the second, the mountains, the railway and the walk through Alishan. On the third day, Lukang old quarter. Throughout, the guide's excellent and most informative talks, including answers to specific questions.
Negative points - Visit to paper factory replaced with rice wine brewery visit (too fast, uninteresting and the wine is foul!); the aboriginal village is horrible and plain tourist exploitation. And the tea plantation visit changed to tea tasting in a tea factory (quite boring and an unashamed attempt to sell volume at high price). Finally, the mountain road is a good one, compared with France and Spain but the driver goes very fast, often overtakes, which IS scary and does not seem to consider that he is throwing the bus around.
But the hotels are quite excellent and our final thought is that we're glad to have done it.
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