When I say the West Coast, it’s actually a bit of a lie. We visited Tannin, which is very much on the coast, but then also went to Sun-Moon lake, which is actually fairly central. The lake is inaccessible on public transport from the East Coast though, so it’s grouped into this section.

Tannin

A fabulous old-feel city. The core a bustling maze of small streets handily signed so that you can weave your way from temple to temple. There’s a great feel to the place, and it’s significantly warmer than up in Taipei: shorts and T-shirt weather and feeling very grateful for Julia’s sun cream – even though she still turned into a lobster.

The temple to the deity that controlled the underworld was the most fascinating of the lot, with a men carrying out ceremonies presumably talking to one’s loved ones down there. Their faces contorted into spectacular shapes as they carried out these ceremonies in their nike trainers, jeans and branded t-shirts – a spectacle to watch such a thing without the pomp of many others. People also threw two wooden orange piece shapes onto the ground whilst praying, I have been meaning to google the significance of this, so can’t tell you why unfortunately, but it was a fascinating place to wander.

The aim of seeing both coasts was achieved with a quick ride out to the edge of the city, with yet more night markets covering the streets there.

Sun-Moon Lake

One of Taiwan’s big tourist hotspots, the centrally located lake, is the largest in the country and shaped, unsurprisingly, like a sun and a moon.

We were unfortunate with the weather whilst here, with mist, cloud and patches of light rain the norm. As we were higher up in the mountains the temperature had plummeted from the summer gear being worn in Tannin to jumpers and jackets to keep warm.

We were undeterred by the weather and determined to do everything recommended, even taking the cable car up that has ‘supreme views out across the lakes and landscapes’ only to find ourselves engulfed in mist within 100 metres up. Having pre bought the tickets as a value combo with our bus was mainly the reason we spent 15 minutes each way looking at wall of white!

The boat rides around the lake were fun though, giving it quite a mystical feel and a couple of hikes to temples around the edges revealed glimpses of how the land could look.

The lake in its entirety was finally revealed to us.

During our bus ride out back up to Taipei.

Still was nice to say we actually managed to see across it and you can’t always win with the weather.

The bus back to the capital was smooth and straight-forward, we caught the earliest one and just crashed on the bus to give us the full afternoon to explore.

Taipei

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