Spill the Beans

As much as I’d like to think that I’m back here for more Taiwandering, the funny thing is that I need to collect a bag full of gadgets. Yes, you read that right. My husband regretfully left my backpack with iPhone, Canon Camera, and iPad on a High-Speed Train. He left the Roxy bag in the overhead bin while we were on our transit to the Airport from Taipei on a train bound to Kaohsiung. Unfortunately, There’s no way for us to retrieve the bag on time for our flight since the train is moving to reach its final destination. Instead of worrying, I quickly reported the missing bag to the police station located inside the Airport, I showed him our train tickets and told him three important things; the exact car we boarded, our seat numbers and the bag description. Good thing is that the officer on duty that day did the best he can to help us. He made several phone calls to address the issue and later on, he patch me up to the Lost and Found department of the train company. The staff asked for my contact details, he also comforted me not to worry and that someone will call me the next morning to confirm the retrieval of my bag. I flew back to Manila with a heavy heart but surprisingly, after 24 hours they call me and confirm that they found my bag. So I book the cheapest flight to Taiwan in a heartbeat.

map-point 12 AM Taoyuan Airport

March 4, 2017 (Day 1) – I would like to call the incident mentioned above as a blessing in disguise for so many reasons. And for the most part, I have a great excuse to explore Taiwan even more. I initially plan to travel solo but my BFF/Cousin is more than willing to accompany me. She’s based in Singapore and I’m based here in the Philippines. We just decided to meet in Taoyuan Airport. I arrived Taoyuan Airport exactly 12 midnight and she’ll land around 5 am and so I’ve got few hours to spare.

Spend good five hours at Taoyuan Airport

Airport Breakky

map-point 6-9 AM Bus to Taichung

Gladly she lands on time and soon after clearing immigration, we stop at the convenience store near the bus ticket counters and bought take away foods. Then we bought two bus tickets directly to Taichung. You have three options for buses, the Guo Guang/Kuo Kang 國光客運 (國光號), Free Go 建明客運 (飛狗巴士) and UBUS 統聯客運. I personally chose Ubus 1623 for its comfort and it set us back around NTD270 each. Taoyuan to Taichung takes about 2 hours or more depending on traffic and if you’re in a hurry then better take the THSR and you’ll save an hour.

Our Bus to Taichung

better than most premium economy seats

map-point 9 AM Check-in at City Inn Taichung

We slept on the bus for two hours since we needed some serious shut eye to make up for the red-eye flight. As expected, we arrived in Taichung few minutes past 9 in the morning. Since it’s too early to check-in, we just leave our bags and freshen up at the hotel’s common area. We’re also delighted to know that City Inn Taichung offers a 24/7 free flow of tea and coffee. And it’s a must for us to drink coffee for the much-needed energy boost.

Coffee Nook

Coffee, Tea, Chocolate and Milk Tea all day 24/7

map-point 1045 AM Nantou Bus to SML

We hailed a taxi to the nearest Nantou Bus Station. Taichung Railway Station is just an 5 minutes ride away and the shared taxi ride set us back NTD90 (NTD45 each).

We purchase this NTD720 SML Package

Package Content



We purchased the NTD720 Package which is suitable for a day trip. We save more than NTD300 each just by availing this package. It also contains several discount coupons which you can utilize. If you plan to stay overnight, you can visit Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village which is also located here in SML. Choose the Theme Park Package and save more than NTD600 per person. This particular ticket cost NTD1090.

Where to Buy:Nantou Bus『Taichung, Gancheng Station』、Nantou Bus『HSR Taichung Station(the first-floor fifth exit)』、7-11 i-bon

 【Taichung – Sun Moon Lake】A one-way bus ticket NTD 190
 【Taichung – Puli】One-way bus ticket+【Puli – Sun Moon Lake】One-way bus ticket (= 【Taichung – Sun Moon Lake】 One-way bus ticket ) NTD190
 Sun Moon Lake Ropeway round-trip Voucher NTD300
 Boat Voucher (Boat tours are available at the pier of Shueishe, Ita Thao and the Xuanguang Temple.) NTD300
 Round-the-Lake Bus one day pass Voucher NT80
Shuishe – Xiangshan Bus one-way Voucher NT24

If we have plenty of time we’d like to stay here for a night since there’s quite a lot of place to cover. But if you only have a day to spare like us you can cover most of the scenic spots.  It’s best to catch the earliest bus around 7 AM to fully enjoy the place. So typically 9 AM to 6 PM is your best timeframe to do the following.

Idyllic Cruising via the Sun Moon Lake Shuttle Boat

Ride a bike and roam SML cycle path.

Enjoy Sun Moon Lake Ropeway

Catch Cherry Blossom if you happen to visit during the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Sun Moon Lake PASS NT390 Sun Moon Lake PASS NT720 Sun Moon Lake PASS NT1060 Sun Moon Lake Bike PASS NT620
Sun Moon Lake – Checheng PASS NT290 Sun Moon Lake – Alishan 5 Day PASS NT450

NANTOU Bus to Sun Moon Lake

map-point 12-6 PM Explore Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake is the largest body of water and the only natural lake in Taiwan. It’s located in Yuchi Township and is in the foothills of Taiwan Central Mountain range. It’s one of the most sought tourist attraction in Central Taiwan.

Ticket Station at Sun Moon Lake

You can purchase individual ticket voucher/passes here, however, I highly recommend you to grab a pass as it really does save you a lot of money which you can use for other stuff like food and souvenirs. We’re actually pressed for time and so we opted to visit the more popular and scenic spots of the lake. But before we proceed we stop and grab something at MOS Burger.

My Lunch

We start with the Harbour Pier

There’s so many Yacht and Shuttle boat here.

We’re ready to Cruise!

Boat Interior

Shuishe Pier & Long Feng Temple

Unlimited Yachting ^_^

Approaching Ita Thao Pier

Ita Thao Visitor Center

Ita Thao Market

My BFF enjoys a little shopping.

Off to Sun Moon Lake Ropeway by foot.

Torii Gate, felt like I’m in Japan.

Sun Moon Lake Ropeway Cable Cars

Inside the cable car on the way to Formosan Cultural Village

Lovely View!

See those manicured trees with pops of pink cherry blossoms.

Since it’s almost closing time we pass and promised to visit this sometime next year.

On our way back to Ita Thao Pier

relaxing indeed.

I love watching these locals enjoying the view.

We need to ride another boat to take us back to Xangshan Pier

Yatch Interior

This is where we’ll catch the last bus to Taichung.

Around 6:30 pm we hop on a Nantou bus bound to Taichung. Like Cingjing Nantou buses, they follow strict timetable so make sure to take note of your time and schedule.

SMILE How To Get Here?

1. Get to Taichung 

By Public Bus

2. Taichung to Sun Moon Lake

When you’re in Taichung, Get to Nantou Bus Counter.


Taichung TSHR Station

Taichung Railway Station

Taichung Gancheng Station



Nantou Bus Timetable


map-point 6-8 PM Back to City Inn Taichung

We leave Sun Moon Lake around 6:25 pm and arrives at Taichung Railway station around 8 pm. For dinner, we stops at local bakery and bought some pastries, we also get some local noodles at a convenience store nearby for NTD50. I’ll post breakdown of expenses and our itinerary after the day to day travelogues so watch out for that.

Again, thanks for dropping by and Feel free to use the comment area below for questions and or share your experience with me by sharing it here. If you find this post interesting please feel free to share. Also, I’m prepping my Youtube Channel so please do support by subscribing at RunawayMariaTV Don’t forget to follow my journey through my INSTAGRAM @runawaymaria and Facebook by tapping LIKE! See you in my next post.

Happy Travels