Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village, Sun Moon Lake

Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village, Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan

Hidden from Sun Moon Lake by mountains lies the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village.  You can take one of the regular buses that circle Sun Moon Lake, however as the park entrance ticket (NT$780) includes transfer from Ita Thao on Sun Moon Lake via a rope-way (cable-car), we recommend you choose this option. The cable car offers panoramic views of both the lake and mountains and is an attraction in itself.

Formosan Ropeway

The park consists of nine authentically reconstructed tribal villages displaying traditional homes and architecture of the nine principal Taiwanese aboriginal tribes. As well as exploring the villages you can see aborigines making traditional handicrafts, carrying out cooking and weaving demonstrations or performing one of the excellent traditional dance shows that take place throughout the day. You can also try your hand at Blowpipe Archery, Seediq Archery, pottery making or one of several traditional games.

Blowpipe Archery Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village
Leanne shows she is deadly with a blowpipe
Traditional Game Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village
Traditional Game
Tribal House Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village
Tribal House

In addition to the traditional villages there is a theme-park area with thrill rides including the UFO an 85 metre free fall ride, Caribbean Splash a themed log flume where you will get soaked, and the super aggressive, vomit inducing, spine shattering, 4.5G roller-coaster the Mayan Adventure. This thing really should come with a safety warning. I kid you not!

Caribbean Splash Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village

The European Palace Gardens, make up the final area of the park. Claiming to be the finest European-style garden in Taiwan. We decided to take their word for it and skipped this area. It’s a bit of a shame really as judging by the high quality of the rest of the park I’m sure it would have been lovely, however, the park is enormous and we were already starting to feel the effects of the blistering heat and excessive humidity, before the roller-coaster tried to rattle us into an early grave.

We really enjoyed our day out at The Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village, and were staggered by how quiet it was. Unbeknown to us we visited during the Taiwanese school holidays, and despite this we almost had the park to ourselves.

For more information click here to visit the official web page for Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village

 

Hiking to Ci’en Pagoda, Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan

Hiking the Qinglong Trail to Cien Pagoda, via Xuanzang Temple, and Xuanguang Temple

The Ci’en Pagoda can be reached by following the Quinglong Mountain Trail from Xuanguang Pier, one of the 3 piers visited by frequent passenger ferries that zigzag Sun Moon Lake, then by picking up Tsen Pagoda Hiking trail at Xuanzang Temple.

We took the ferry to Xuanguang from Shuishe Pier, near the Shuishe Visitors Centre at the north side of the lake. The one day boat pass cost us 300 TWD (unlimited use for one day), however we later discovered that these can be picked up from as little as 100 TWD if you ask around. (It’s worth checking with your hotel, before heading down to the pier).

Qinglong Mountain Trail.

The Quinglong Mountain Trail begins at the Xuanguang Pier and climbs the mountain for 850 meters passing Xuanguang Temple, soon after leaving the pier and ending at Xuanzang Temple.

Qinglong Trail Sun Moon Lake

Unfortunately during our visit Xuanguang temple was being renovated, so our first stop was something of an anticlimax.

The trail is well-defined, paved and flanked with heavy foliage at either side. We saw plenty of creepy crawlies, and some enormous butterflies along the trail as well as one particularly scary spider. Apparently there are also snakes, so watch your step, and remember the mosquito repellent, you’re going to need it.

Xuanzang Temple

Xuanzang Temple was built in 1958. The relics of a famous Tang Dynasty Buddhist monk, Xuanzang, are enshrined here, along with a golden idol in is image.

Xuanzang Temple Sun Moon Lake

XuanzangTemple Sun Moon Lake

The temple has a large viewing platform with magnificent views across the lake, and there are some small shops selling snacks, drinks and fruit directly across from the entrance so this is the perfect place to take a refreshment break before continuing your hike via the 750 metre Tsen Pagoda Hiking Trail to the Ci’en Pagoda.

Ci’en Pagoda

Built by President Chiang Kai-shek, in memory of his mother, the Pagoda was completed in April 1971 and sits at the top of the 954 metre-high Shabalan Mountain.

Cien Pagoda Sun Moon Lake

Visitors can climb to the top of the 46 metre pagoda to enjoy some of the best views of Sun Moon Lake.

Cien Pagoda Sun Moon Lake

We really enjoyed the hike up to Ci’en Temple and would recommend you make time to do this if you visit Sun Moon Lake. The area around Xuanguang Temple, and the Xuanguang Pier were packed with tourists, but once we past the Temple the trails were deserted and very peaceful.

For more information on Sun Moon Lake visit http://www.sunmoonlake.gov.tw/English/