How to travel between Sun Moon Lake and Alishan
Sun Moon Lake and Alishan National Park are the two most famous tourist attractions in Taiwan. You want to visit both places within your time frame with public transportation. Yes, you can do that! I think Taiwan Tourism Board has done a great job to make it possible for backpackers like us to travel between these two attractions with fun and excitement!
So far I have discovered two routes to do that:
1) You can leave the Shuishe Visitor Center at Sun Moon Lake by the Yualin Bus Service at 8:00 am or 9:00 am . The bus will drive through the forest mountain and stop along the way between attractions. Tataka Visitor Center at the base of Yushan National Park. What a wonderful way to visit places like this on the way to the Alishan National Park. Unfortunately, this bus service is often interrupted by road malfunctions due to typhoon specially during summer between Jun to Sept.
Click here to know more about the route!
Click here to check whether the service is available! (Written in Chinese Only or Just call their hotline)
2) Due to the road closure of above route during my visit, I discovered another fun way to reach the Alishan National Park.
First, we took a Green Transit Bus 6289 from the Shuishe Visitor Center to Shuili Railway Station (NT$64, 25-30 minutes). Second, we caught the next train from Shuili Railway Station to Ershui Railway Station and change another train to Chiayi Railway Station (NT$111, 1 hour 25 minutes). We spent a night in Chiayi and took a morning bus to the Alishan National Park.
Green Transit Bus schedule from Sun Moon Lake to Shuili:
6:25; 7:25; 8:25; 9:25; 10:25; 11:25; 12:25; 14:25; 15:25; 16:25; 17:25; 18:25;
Click here for Railway schedules
You do not need to book the ticket in advance, get them on the spot!
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Shuishe Visitor Center
The Shuishe Visitor Center is supposedly an important tourist information center of the Sun Moon Lake. During our visit in July 2013, the entire building was closed for renovation. So, I can only write this place as a good public transportation hub for buses in and out of Sun Moon Lake. There is a window counter where you can inquire about bus information and buy bus ticket of various bus operators. It only operates during office hours.
There is a professional bike rental company in the building. A great place to find a good bike for serious bikers.
It is in Shuishe Town, a short walk from major hotels and guesthouses.
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FACV: Skyline Cable Car
Skyline Cable Car is part of the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway, but it only operates within the Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village. In other words, you need to have an admission ticket to FACV in order to take the Skyline Cable Car. The fare is included with the admission ticket.
It is quite an amazing ride of the Skyline Cable Car. It allows us to see the mountain ranges in the region and the bird view of FACV. You can walk from the north entrance of FACV to the south of the European Palace Garden. In between you will pass through all the attractions of the park and complete visiting the park by taking the Skyline Cable Car back to the north entrance. Then, take the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway back to the lake or Ita Thao town.
So don't miss it, it is included in your FACV admission ticket!
Sun Moon Lake Ropeway or Cable Car
Sun Moon Lake Ropeway is located near Ita Thao town. You need to walk around 10 to 15 minutes on the Ita Thao Lakeside Trail to the Cable Car Station. It is the easiest way to reach Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village from the Lake, and also a great way to see a panoramic view of the Sun Moon Lake.
You can either buy return tickets with or without the admission to the Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village. You can check with your hotel, they might have special deals that come with the room reservation. And You can always check on the local coupon to get some discount.
Ticket without Admission to FACV (NT$300/per person)
Ticket with Admission to FACV (NT$780/per person - inclusive of Skyline Cable Car inside FACV)
Weekdays: 10:30 - 16:00
Weekends & Public Holiday: 10:00 - 16:30
Good To Know: Try to figure out the weather on the day you travel. If the weather condition is bad like rains or too windy, the service might be interrupted. You will not get your money refund.
Check out its official website to learn more!
Ferry in Sun Moon Lake
The best way to see the Sun Moon Lake is ridding one of those ferries cruising around the lake. And It also transports you from one side of the lake to another. There are three piers within the lake that those ferries will make a stop; Shuishe Pier on the north, Ita Thao Pier on the east and Xuanguang Pier on the west.
Shuishe Pier : Visiting Shuishe town with restaurants, hotels, and bus stations. There are several trails including Shuishe Lakeside Trail, Steps of the Year Trail, Lalu Lakeside Trail, Maolan Mountain Trail and Neihu Mountain Trail.
Ita Thao Pier: Visiting Ita Thao town with restaurants, hotels, and the street food market. Ita Thao Lakeside Trail gets you to Sun Moon Lake Ropeway, which will get you up to the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village.
Xuanguang Pier: Visiting Xuanzang Temple & Ci'en Pagoda.
Fare: NT$100/ per ride
NT$300/ per day
Note: Try to buy the tickets from your hotel or guesthouse, sometimes your guesthouse offers a better deal with the combine with the room rate. Or buy directly from the Pier terminals. Avoid buying from strangers on the street.
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Bicycle Rental In Sun Moon Lake
Cycling around the lake is the best way to see and enjoy the scenic views of Sun Moon Lake. There are several bikeways surround and nearby the lake for both locals and visitors.
1) Xiangshan Bikeway, being the most common and beautiful route.
2) Yuetan Bikeway, further south of Xiangshan Bikeway
3) Toushe Bikeway
We experienced the Xiangshan Bikeway. It was absolutely stunning to see the lake dividing line between Sun Lake and Moon Lake, pass by water willow and enjoy the views of Hanbi Peninsula, great Shuishe Mountain, and the Xiangshan Ecology. We cycled to cross the Tong Xin Bridge and reach Shuishe Tunnel or Xiangshan Visitor Center.
Bicycle rental can be ranged from NT$200 to NT$2000 per hour.
We rented a bike from a bike shop which offered us with a coupon off NT$50, so we paid NT$150 per hour.
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Bus in Cingjing
There is only one bus passing through the main road of Cingjing. It is operated by Nantou Bus Transportation Co. Ltd. The bus will start from Taichung and all the way to Cingjing up to Cingjing Farm. There are two routes of buses that passing the main areas of Cingjing,
1) Buses direct from Taichung.
2) Buses transfer from Puli.
Click here for the complete schedule.
Get a copy of the latest schedule at Taichung or Puli Bus Station or download a copy from the internet. You need to wait the bus at assigned bus stations along the main street. It is better to wait at least 10 minutes before the time on the schedule to avoid missing the bus.
Also read, Buses To Nantou County.
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