Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) has one of the most beautiful cycling trails in the world, we decided to spend half a day checking it out. The whole cycling path around Sun Moon Lake is about 30km, based on our research the time required to finish whole journey is within the range of 3-7 hours depends on how fast your speed is.
There were a few bicycle shops in Sun Moon Lake, we chose Merida (美利達愛騎自行車租賃店) because of the good reviews on their low price, good bicycles’ quality, friendly and knowledgeable shop owner.
The shop had 2 branches, 1 at Shuishe Pier (水社碼頭) while the other 1 at Itashao (伊達邵). That was great, we could start our cycling tour at Shuishe Pier and return our bikes at Itashao, follow by either taking ferry or shuttle bus back to Shuishe Pier, excellent!
5mins walk from Shuishe Visitor Centre (水社遊客中心), we reach Merida bicycle shop – Itashao branch at 1325. While we were standing in front of the big Sun Moon Lake map and unable to make up our minds on which cycling trails to take, the friendly owner and his wife approached us and provided all the helps and suggestions we needed. He was able to give us clear explanations on the trail condition, attractions along the way, safety accessories and equipments, basic skills of cycling and things to take note. The wife offered to keep our bags at their shop until we returned from the cycling tour, to reduce out burdens, such a sweet and considerate lady.
We took the 5hours package with 2 ferry tickets (from Itashao to Shuishe Pier), at the total cost of NT1000, I think it was reasonable.
There was a little stall beside Merida bicycle shop – Shuishe Pier branch, selling some smell good tea eggs. We decided to give it a try as our first tea egg of the Taiwan trip. The stall owner was Mei Yun grandma, she had been selling nice tea eggs for the past 50 years! Her previous stall was in front of WenWu Temple (文武廟), then moved to her house. You are right, Shuishe Pier branch of Merida bicycle shop was her house! If I am not wrong, she is the bike shop owner’s mother.
The eggs were good (NT10 each), tasted with heavy tea and herb flavour, texture was smooth and moderate (not too soft).
Bicycle, checked; helmet, checked; camera and water, checked; sun-block lotion, checked, … All set, time to start pedalling! Our first destination, any restaurant nearby for a quick lunch… Then, the real cycling tour started at 1430!
We had our own sweet time cycling slowly and always stopped for photo shooting, eventually took longer than expected to get to XiangShan Visitor Centre(向山遊客中心), it was already 1600 when we reach. Quickly have a short visit and move on to our next stop.
The trails got more difficult after XiangShan Visitor Centre. There were a few like this slope, no way that we could cycling up…
The remaining journey after Syuanguang Temple (玄光寺) was completely mountain road, 1st half was uphill and the other half was majority downhill. That was the most difficult and tiring part of the whole cycling tour, for non-bikers like us. We were losing energy and stamina, our leg muscles were getting weak and sore… Time was running out, although we knew that the possibility to catch the last ferry was so thin, but still we tried our very best to continue cycling, hope to make it on time.
Stopped for a few seconds and took a photo, to show that we were there at Syuentzang Temple (玄奘寺)…
Finally, we reach Itashao branch of Merida bicycle shop at 1800. Although it was too late for last ferry at 1700, but we felt so great about finishing the cycling tour, able to enjoy throughout the whole journey and also the beautiful sceneries along the way!
After returning bicycles, we immediately moved to the Sun Moon Lake shuttle bus station which was 3mins walk from the bicycle shop. The timing was just nice for us to catch the last shuttle bus at 1810 back to Shuishe Pier, that cost us NT32 per person.
Back at Shuishe Pier, we returned to Merida bicycle shop for our bags. We handed over the unused ferry tickets to the owner without expecting refund, but he insisted to give us back the money, and kept telling us not to worry about it. We were so surprised about that, felt lucky and great that had taken his service. Before leaving the shop, the owner offered us 2 free tea eggs after knowing we might not had enough time for dinner before heading back to TaiChung. Merida bicycle shop, highly recommended!
We had an hour before departing to HSR TaiChung Station (台中高铁站), so walked around Shuishe Pier for some postcards and souvenirs.
The bus to HSR TaiChung Station departed sharp at 1925, and we arrived our accommodation 逢甲新宿 in FengJia Night Market (逢甲夜市) around 2200. after a short break, we headed out to FengJia Night Market continue hunting for supper!
You can refer to link before for my post on food hunting in FengJia Night Market.
- Cycling trail between Shuishe Pier and XiangShan Visitor Centre is most beautiful.
- There are a few bicycle shows in Shuishe Pier, choose the one with good quality and service.
- Be extra cautious after XiangShan Visitor Centre, especially on express way as we will be sharing the road with other transportations.
- Bring sun-block lotion, sunglasses, water, long sleeve shirt and comfortable sport wears, sunlight might be quite strong sometimes, especially when there are 2 suns (one in the sky, another one on the lake).
- Know your fitness and time allocated for Sun Moon Lake well, when planning for the cycling route.
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