The best part of the holiday was our stay at The Lalu, a five star hotel overlooking Sun Moon Lake on the property where Chiang Kai Shek first lived when he fled from China. Rather ironically, it took an hour to get to Taichung on the bullet train but nearly two hours to drive to the hotel. But when we got there it was worth it. Just sitting in the lobby looking at the vast expanse of the lake was calming. It’s a memory I’m going to treasure all my life. Designed by architect Kerry Hill, the aesthetic is spare but incorporates a lot of wood and stone. We booked a suite, which overlooked the lake, and made me happy just being in it:

Dawn:

The first evening we went for a swim in the pool which is designed to make you feel like you’re suspended over the lake (an infinity pool?) We also had dinner in the village below the hotel but since V and I had a fight about who would carry the camera, I dont have pictures. The dinner was quite interesting – a thali type presentation on a leaf with little bowls of fried shrip, chicken, vegetable and Taiwanese mushroom and a tumbler of local rice wine:

Breakfast outdoors with a view:

Hired a bike and rode around the lake. Some of the sights included this temple featuring unusual relief work. The building was supervised by Chiang Kai Shek.

Assam tea terraced gardens:

Boat trip around Sun Moon Lake… on the “Love Boat”:

The Thao tribe used traditional techniques to build these floating grassy islands. They help prevent waves and attract fish:


A fish to a local floating home with fish ponds. The boat captain entertained us by hurling feed into the ponds, which got the fish leaping up mouths agape in a frankly creepy way:

The saint from this temple journed from Taiwan to India to bring back precious Buddhist scrolls:

We took an early morning stroll and plonking down on the pier, dunked our feet in the water. Note my new pedicure!

The locals obviously realise that the lake is their bread and butter. So in the early morning, a guy goes out clearing the inevitable rubbish: