Saturday, May 19, 2012

Different Ways Touring Sun Moon Lake --Riding A Bicycle

     Normally the rainy season in Taiwan runs from May to June. But this year it started early than before due to climate change. It effected our two days vacation in Sun Moon Lake. 
     I woke up early to check the weather in the morning. The wet ground reflected by the street lights on the ground and the clouds overhung in the sky. It seemed to be clearing up temporarily and then it would rain again. 
     I pushed our friends to start their bicycle trip without us since the rental shop was not opened until 9 am and the weather had cleared up for the ride. We gave them the direction how to ride around the lake which was very easy to follow.   
The view was from our room in the early morning. 
     My husband told them to ride counterclockwise to avoid traffic especial big tour buses on the mountain winding road which would start latter in the morning, when most people rode clockwise. While we were waiting for the rental store open, I was surprised there was an original aboriginal housing across the commercialized streets that my husband  has known about. 
This was the aboriginal housing area. Most houses
were very simply built. 
Roosters walked around the housing area freely.
This was the trail head of Mt. Shueishe.
It was about 8 hours round trip to the top
at an altitude of 2,059 meter high and
5.7 km long trail. It was the highest 

mountain of the 4 mountains around
Sun Moon Lake. 
I had heard that it was a challenging
trail which required all hikers to be in

 good physical condition. 
This was the house of the doctor who practiced original 
methods of the Thao tribe.  
I was attracted by this picture which was not seen in
the most common areas or the modern eras in Taiwan. 
The dog seemed to have a good life. It glimpsed at
me once and ignored me for taking this picture.  
This picture was taken in 2008
Since my physical condition was not good during this trip,
my husband and I decided to rent electric motorcycles to
tour around the lake. We were told that we had to exchange
the battery three times to go completely around the lake. The 
cost for two scooters for three hours was NT$600. It was 
very reasonable. My husband said it was really cheap.

 Kept in mind that there was not any bicycle rentals
 in the aboriginal village. There were only an electric
 motorcycle store and an electric bicycle renting store. 
It opened at 9 am which was a little bit late for us.
 So we had to catch up with our friends. 
We rode on the highway from the aboriginal village to
Shueishe village. We turned onto the famous bicycle
trail next to the parking lot in Shueishe after we had
our batteries exchanged. I also learned that the
government eventually won't allow any electric
motorcycle to get on this bicycle trail. That was great to
know after renting the electric motorcycle and rode for
a while. Fortunately there was not a lot people riding
on this trail. We always rode at a moerate speed and slow 

down anytime when we saw people on the trail.
This rest stop and portions of the trail were built on
the lake with docks contected together to form a trail.

 This was why CNNGO rated it as one of the
10 best bicycle trails in the world.  
We were heading to Xiangshan Visitor Center and 
looking back the Shueishe village. 
The sky didn't look good to us. We had to keep going
to catch up with our friends. 
We were surprised by this bridge that we didn't expect
and for the bicycle trail to go over. 
This was the second bridge which was very close to
the visitor center. 
We arrived at the newest visitor center to meet
our friends. 
Looking back at the trail 
Our friends helped us to collect the last stamp and we
got our souvenir to remember our friendship and the
fun we had in Sun Moon Lake .
After riding on the most popular and touristy
trail, we decided to ride on the rest of the trail
not on the highway. The weather was getting
Sometimes, we didn't know what we would
encounter when traveling in Taiwan. When I
saw the steep steps on the bicycle trail, I knew
I was in trouble to push the heavy electric
motorcycle on the wet and slippery trail.
My bike worked it way off the smooth 
slope and unto the steps due to the 
slipperiness on the slope. It was really 
terrible. I tried hard to push it back on 
the trail and also accidentally pushed 
the horn for a long time. My friend 
heard the horn and came to rescue me. 
My husband? He was also in the same
 situation as I was in with his electric 
The trail was covered by falling leaves
which made it more slippery. Honestly,
I didn't think this part of the trail was
suitable for immature bicyclists or
children. Also the administration should
put up a warning sign for those people
that I mentioned above. After getting on
the main highway, we exchanged batteries
again. The rain had forced us to wear our
rain coats.    
I was amazed by our friends riding speed and glad that
I had the electric motorcycle to catch up with them. We
stopped at the Syuanzang Temple to waiting for them.  
These were our electric motorcycles 
which we rented.
Also I was able to take some photos for them while
they were 
riding their bicycles. Actually we were lucky
that the rain was not too heavy just a light drizzle. 

It was better to ride in this weather than on a hot and 
humid day. 
This view was taking from Syuanzang Temple in
the early morning in 2008.
 My husband and I rode
our bicycles from my hometown 
to Sun Moon Lake.
We spent one night in the aboriginal village. 
These were our bicycles. They have been retired now 
for two years in our storage room. I like those days
 when we traveled with our bicycles. 
     We were required to check out before 11 am from the hotel. We knew we won't finish by that time, so we checked out before we rode around the lake. After finished the trip, we didn't have place to change our wet clothes. My friends changed in their minivan. We didn't get really wet, so we didn't change our clothes. This was the downside of riding around the lake. We had our lunch in the aboriginal village. Then it rained cats and dogs. We were really lucky to have finished our ride before the weather took a turn for the worse.
     I made this video clip with the natural sounds which I recorded when we went out for the firefly watching at night. I hope you will enjoy it.
The photos of the trail of the Mt. Shueishe:

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