The makings of a nice cup of tea, matchmaking at the local temple, and watching out for scary things.

Day 225: Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan. Late morning we headed off in search of some tea plantations.

There are heaps of good walks around Sun Moon Lake, and one goes up to the top of Mt Maolanshan, through lots of tea fields. It’s not overly long, but it’s a reasonably strenuous uphill walk, and the views across Sun Moon Lake are to die for.

The tea plantations in the area were set up by the Japanese as they realised the location has the ideal climate for growing tea. The tea we saw today is part of a research project to improve and diversify the crop.

We saw yet another sign saying it’s the snake/bees season – hopefully it’s left over from summer. Though there were signs everywhere we went today, so who knows.

We walked back down to the town, and had a quick look at Longfeng Temple. The deities enshrined here are the Lord of the Somber Heavens, Mother of Heaven, and Divine Ancestor Cankui. A matchmaker deity which once resided in a different temple was moved here in 2000 after the devastating earthquake the year before. We read online you can buy love tokens at the temple, presumably linked to the powers of the matchmaker deity.

Afterwards we walked around the eastern side of the lake, mostly on a dedicated walking and cycle track. Thankfully there weren’t too many cyclists out and about.

We only intended to walk a short way, but in the end we walked around half of the lake to Yidashao. By the time we arrived the sun was low, and we went for a quick coffee before sunset.

We bought a couple of chilled beers and walked down to the pier to watch the sunset, only to discover we’d missed it. The sun went down behind a hill long before it hit the horizon (as Lil says, there’s always another day), but it was still fun to sit on the pier and watch people taking endless selfies, followed by a stroll around the town. There’s a small night market, a bunch of restaurants and some souvenir shops, but not much else.

Then we caught the local bus back to where we’re staying, had some great braised beef noodle soup, bought a bunch of fruit and headed home for a movie and early night.

Tomorrow we’ll either walk part of the way of Mount Shuishe or we might walk around the other side of the lake. Or maybe we’ll just sit and read a book (less likely).

More then.