Taiwan Day 3b – Xitou Monster Village and Sun Moon Lake

Xitou Monster Village 妖怪村 should appeal to visitors young and old. I have never seen anything so queer or weirder before. Monster Village itself has a Japanese feel and you can expect horror theme (and ghouls) around the corners.

We had visited the scenic Xitou Nature Education Area earlier, read about the bamboo forest here, before popping over to Monster Village for lunch.

 

Taiwan Day photos uploaded to this Facebook album.

 

 

Monster Village
Monster Village

Monster Village looks like a mini Japanese popup, hidden in the forest.
Torii gates, Ramen, huge Japanese lanterns and sake barrels too!

Xitou Monster village looks more mystifying with the mist !

A favourite meeting spot is the road along the “Post Office”. This is a real post office but it is easier to spot the huge Red Nose.

 

We can actually cover Monster Village in under 45 minutes, but you need to look closer for the Fun (and sometimes crude) stuffs haha.

Maybe not too close haha.

Parents would be hard pressed to explain some product with human anatomy :p haha

(L) Contraceptive concoction!
 Weird beyond description haha, one movie I will not be seeing with my kids

Monster Village would not be complete without its Monsters. Souvenirs, mascots, cosplay, you see monsters on the roof, in keychains and even your food!

We definitely would not selfie with it (or is it him or her) at night!

Game time, Monsters are let loose, not to scare folks but to gift prizes! Visitors just need to QR code and win.

Besides the crass jokes and puns, there are less harmful activities. The rubber “metal club” looks cute but you might have problem convincing Singapore customs.

Finally, our first cup of bubble tea, girl is so happy 🙂

Only one thing is constant here, the buses keep bringing in loads of tourists. So is it worth coming? I would say Yes just for the novelty.

 

Next stop, Sun Moon Lake 日月潭.

Boon Yee kicked me because he blamed me for the lost opportunity to cycle!

Nice scenery around the lake, I can imagine how romantic it is to cycle under the autumn leaves.

** If you cannot wait, do pop by our Taichung cycling photos, cycling happens to be our No1 Highlight in Taiwan  (link cycling)

 

Located at a central location, our HomeAway unit is just a few steps from “Shuishe Pier Plaza”, where you can book a boat or bicycle.

 

It takes 2 hours to cycle one lap around the lake. Sun Moon Lake is Taiwan’s biggest inland water body and you are supposed to see the shape of a Sun and Crescent within the lake (thus the name Sun Moon Lake).

 

Introducing our HomeAway unit at Shuishe Pier (GPS 23.864884, 120.911467) . More details on HomeAway webpage.

 

Love the loft style unit, kids had the freedom to choose their own “floor”. everyone can have their own comfortable bed.

The huge amount of space is ideal for big families, just take note the upper floor’s ceiling is designed for those under 1.6m 🙂

 

 

The best thing about our HomeAway unit is we got two separate showers, no need to queue. This is really a bonus for big families.

You may prepare a simple meal, but we chose to hunt around for our dinner.

Spotted Carton King at Shuishe Visitor Center (GPS 23.866467, 120.911275)

We had missed Carton King up at Cing Jing, so it was a surprise find for us in Sun Moon Lake.

Perhaps the “paper boat” (below) is designed with Sun Moon Lake’s water theme in mind?

 

 

Our first time at 紙箱王 Carton King, and the cutlery and furniture caught our attention. Everything is made of paper and cardboard!

Box creations  and presentation are super creative. How did the paper bowl hold the hotpot without burning?

 

Our set meal is NTD390 per pax, so so food quality but we are paying for the “cardboard” experience too 🙂

 

Carton King facility always has a restaurant and souvenir store side by side. Again, every decorative item and toy is painstakingly crafted from paper!

Love the designs, so unique and beautiful, especially those crafts with illumination.

We slowly walk back to our vacation unit.
Good Night Sun Moon Lake 🙂

 

The GPS for above attractions can all be found on our G Drive (link). Photos and previous blog post (including our 10D9N Taiwan Itinerary) are all listed below.

Photo albums :

Day 1 Aowanda, Cing Jing
Day 2 Cing Jing
Day 3 Xitou Nature Education Area, Monster Village, Sun Moon Lake
Day 4 Taichung (Zhongshe flower, ShengXin station, Cycling, Fengjia)
Day 5 Taichung (Animation Lane, Rainbow, Miyahara)
Day 6 Keelung 基隆

Blog posts :

** Taiwan Itinerary for families 
Day 1 Google Sheet, Aowanda, Cing Jing
Day 2 Cing Jing Farm
HomeAway Recommendations for Taiwan
Day 3a Xitou Nature Education area (溪頭)
Day 3b Monster village 妖怪村 and Sun Moon Lake
-Day 4 Tai Chung

 

 

Taiwan Day 3a – Xitou Nature Education Area

Many folks know about 妖怪村 Monster Village but not Xitou Nature Education Area (溪頭自然教育園區). The pristine woodland is just 5 minutes walk from Monster Village, and offers visitors a good workout (More photos already in our Facebook album)

Two of the highlights must be the lovely bamboo forest (竹林) and sky corridor, we did mentioned earlier that the mist made our trip even more memorable (and mystical).

We enjoyed the crisp fresh air up at the canopy, refer  link to Instagram video below, 2nd picture is our hiking video.

Xitou Nature Education Area
Xitou Nature Education Area

Monster Village features in many tourist brochures but I thought Bamboo Forest (in Xitou Nature Education Area) is more authentic.

The post office is right next to the Red-face mascot

GPS for Monster Village Post Office is “23.673491, 120.795960”, just walk 5min up the slope to reach Xitou Nature Education Area “Carpark 2”.

Fees are estimated, adult NTD160 and child NTD120.

Noticed the “before and after” effects of mist. With the fog, visibility is sometimes less than 50m 🙂

Do take note many Nature Reserves in Taiwan require a lot of walking, there are plenty of slopes and steps.

I would classify our trip as a mini hike rather than a garden walk.
The attractions are easily 1 or 2 km away but the slopes are strollers friendly.

 

We would recommend walking up the slopes and downhill via steps.
This should be easier on our joints (Tried and tested).

The folks at the information counter sent us up the more challenging route, and the kids almost rebelled halfway !

No wonder a few black faces in photo below!
(now with our tips, you can bring your family up the friendlier road, you are Welcome)

Referring to map below, entrance is between 1/15 (carpark 2). The upward path should be along “4”, to “Sky Walk”, then head north towards 神木 Shen Mu. Turn left and walk back towards  “5” or “6”.

If time permits, then you may visit point “10” University Pond (and bridge).

Road markers are at every corner, so it is hard to lose our way.

 

 

Love the bamboos and pine trees (is it?) lining our paths. The mist would blanket off the canopy such that sunlight struggled to pierce through.

We heard there are a few accommodations 飯店 around this area. I would love to wake up to fresh air, but I am not sure family can do without 7-11 convenience or shopping in the forest :p

The cool 11 degrees and low humidity did made our hike more comfortable and enjoyable.

We took 45 minutes slow walk to reach the 神木 (sacred tree)… but this 神木 is actually lying horizontal 🙂

Pit stop, take a break, enjoy an ice cream or sweet potato (best for cold weather).

Rich flora and fauna, we spotted many bushy squirrels roaming around, they are not afraid of humans.

The other attraction for us would be the Sky Walk 天空走廊 (GPS 23.664020, 120.793628).

Imagine Gardens By The Bay’s Cloud Forest, only higher and more “porous”. We were literally walking among the canopy.

 

View from the top and bottom.

Visited the “famous” arching bridge at University Pond.

There are many more such forests and bamboos in Taiwan, hidden from tourists.  One just had to Google harder 🙂

We have three more recommendations below, all within 60 minutes drive.
Alas, we spend too much time at the forest and had to skip :p

車埕 Che Chen (集集 line, Nostalgic train station, GPS 23.832674, 120.866106). Locals call this location “水里”.
貯木池 Chu Mu Chi (Scenic old mill by the pond, GPS 23.834374, 120.865935) . Just behind 車埕.
忘憂森林 (also known as 水漾森林 Shuiyang Forest, GPS 23.648708, 120.794236). Some recommend a 2D1N stay to fully enjoy the sunken forest

 

Would recommend minimum 2hours at this spot and another 1 hour at Monster Village (for lunch). Nature lovers can easily spend half a day at Xitou nature Education Area.

You can cover Xitou Nature Education Area as a day trip (1 hour+ transport duration) from either TaiChung or Sun Moon Lake.

More photos on our Facebook album. With the mist, every shot seems to be more magical.

Photo albums :

Day 1 Aowanda, Cing Jing
Day 2 Cing Jing
Day 3 Xitou Nature Education Area, Monster Village, Sun Moon Lake
Day 4 Taichung (Zhongshe flower, ShengXin station, Cycling, Fengjia)
Day 5 Taichung (Animation Lane, Rainbow, Miyahara)
Day 6 Keelung 基隆

Blog posts :

** Taiwan Itinerary for families 
Day 1 Google Sheet, Aowanda, Cing Jing
Day 2 Cing Jing Farm
HomeAway Recommendations for Taiwan
Day 3a Xitou Nature Education area (溪頭)
Day 3b Monster village 妖怪村 and Sun Moon Lake
-Day 4 Tai Chung

HomeAway options in Taiwan

[Sponsored]

Our family is bigger so we normally go for apartments when we travel.

Besides having exclusive access to our own rooms, hall and even own kitchen, living together feels more like “Home Away From Home”.

Cosy and Christmassy feeling from our Taipei apartment

We are quite comfortable with “Rental options” for our holidays. During our recent trip to  Taiwan (10D9N link), we had an opportunity to explore two vacation units with HomeAway (under Expedia family).

The pictures below were taken from HomeAway app. Booking your perfect accommodation is only a few clicks away.

Let us share how HomeAway might make your next Holiday apartment a “Home away from Home”.

The usual shortlisting criteria :

-Central location
-Near to train or public transport
-7×24 Convenience stores (Mrs might wish for shopping malls)
-Wifi and washer availability

HomeAway App-Shortlist your preferred vacation units

You can even zoom in to your preferred neighbourhood (or train station) and find available HomeAway options nearby.

-Does the units fall under our Budget? Some folks might wish to splurge on a nice environment, but we typically just need a good bed and shower as we stayed out most of the time.

Sort your units by prices
View unit’s photos, we loved the spaciousness and greens

 

* Good reviews are very important for us, we need objective reviews of Host and unit. We value reliability, responsiveness and trustworthiness.

Good reviews for our Taiwan Host, Lydia

 

 

** Added assurance from HomeAway. The host will only be paid by HomeAway 24 hours after guests have moved in. This provide an added incentive for hosts to improve their customer service

Let us share some of the sample photos from our accommodations in Sun Moon Lake and Taipei.

1) We rated Lydia’s unit 5/5, love the cosy settings and super friendly host. Unit is just next to Nanjing Fuxing station, details at this link.

HomeAway options
HomeAway options

2)The other unit is at Sun Moon Lake (one night). Comfortable and spacious loft but we only stayed one night. A pity, since there are many things to explore (and cycle) around Sun Moon Lake. More details on this link.

It is easy and convenient to book your next vacation though HomeAway options (portal or app). We will share more photos and amenities of our vacation units in subsequent posts.

Special shoutout to HomeAway for making our holidays more memorable 🙂

Do find the latest HomeAway promotions here:
-Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HomeAwayAsia
-Website https://www.homeaway.com.sg

Photo albums :

Day 1 Aowanda, Cing Jing
Day 2 Cing Jing
Day 3 Xitou Nature Education Area, Monster Village, Sun Moon Lake
Day 4 Taichung (Zhongshe flower, ShengXin station, Cycling, Fengjia)
Day 5 Taichung (Animation Lane, Rainbow, Miyahara)
Day 6 Keelung 基隆

Blog posts :

** Taiwan Itinerary for families 
Day 1 Google Sheet, Aowanda, Cing Jing
Day 2 Cing Jing Farm
HomeAway Recommendations for Taiwan
Day 3a Xitou Nature Education area (溪頭)
Day 3b Monster village 妖怪村 and Sun Moon Lake
-Day 4 Tai Chung