Thursday, January 21, 2010

Taiwan Translated: Day 8 at Shuili & Alishan

We stop by the Wenwu Temple (Wenwu Miao) on our way out of Sun Moon Lake.  It was drizzling, but I wanted to drop by just to take a look at the monstrous red stone lions that graced the entrance to the temple, which are supposed to be the largest stone lions in Asia:

Then it was a quick stroll through the temple, which, like all other temples we've seen are filled with brightly-painted statues of gods and all sorts of creatures like dragons:

However, Wenwu Temple had two traits that made it stand out from the other temples...  Firstly, there were thousands of charms bearing handwritten wishes penned by visitors, hanging around the temple in rows:

And there was a viewing terrace at the top of the temple complex allowing views across the lake:

Then we drove towards Alishan.  However, the mist was getting really thick and was severely restricting visibility, so we decided to pay a visit to the Snake Kiln (Sheyao) at Shuili.

The monstrous kiln is 30 m high, and is so named for its long and narrow snake-like shape...

We spend some time wandering around the grounds exploring the gallery and museum that houses all manner of different types of pottery, as well as the 921 earthquake memorial, before having a simple lunch at the teahouse that was built surrounding the kiln.

Three must trys at this place are the pottery workshops (they can even ship back your creations in case your luggage is overloaded), as well as a trip to the toilet, which is bursting with character and uses pottery for everything, including the sinks and urinals:

And finally, you might want to feed this friendly fish coins, to get fish food to feed the koi:

After pottering about the pots, we drive up and finally reach Alishan in the middle of the afternoon.  The weather amazingly clears up, and we spot, to our delight, a troop of Formosan rock macaques foraging by the roadside:

Getting to our hotel proved to be challenging as we were supposed to give them a call upon reaching a certain carpark, however, it turned out that there was NO cell phone signal at the said carpark, so we spend some time driving around to get a signal.  After checking in, we pile on numerous layers of clothing and set off to explore the area.  We spend some time wandering around the train station:

The Alishan forest train takes passengers on a 3 hour, 70 km long ride that passes through tropical, subtropical, temperate and alpine zones, and is one of the most popular attractions in the area (In March, the train passes through areas full of cherry trees out in full bloom!).  However, unfortunately for us, the train wasn't running due to damages caused by the recent typhoon Morakot, so we had to be content to end our day with a glorious sunset at the train station instead!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, every day I'm amazed by what great pictures you have from your trip! Are you going to make a photo book of your trip with them?

    I wish I could get pictures like that! My husband is too impatient to wait for me when I stop to take pictures. :(



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