My wife made arrangements for us to stay there during the 3-day May 1 weekend and it looks/sounds very nice. It’s close to Sun Moon Lake and apparently has lots of hiking trails through bamboo and forest. From the photos it looks extremely tame – just sidewalks through the countryside, but still fresh air, trees and a nice break from Taipei.
Tame. Sidewalks through the bamboo, as you predicted. Pleasant enough but very very “ordered.” About 20 minutes there was more than enough for me. It will be absolutely overrun with people, though, so be warned. Expect long traffic jams getting there and leaving, as the road is narrow and totally unsuited to the giant tour buses that go up there.
My wife and I want to go someplace nice for our honeymoon in June. We were thinking Hsitou, mainly because we want something close to Taichung. It will only be for the weekend, so nothing that requires a lot of travel time. Our requirements are: some place in the country away from the city, quiet, beautiful (trees, flowers, water are all good), somewhat romantic/luxurious, accessible by bus and taxi if need be. The hotel needs to have some character and charm, nothing normal or run-of-the-mill; even a classy B & B would work, provided it’s in a nice setting.
My wife and I had reservations at Hsitou for last weekend but due to all the rain we postponed it a couple of weeks and just went to Taichung instead. So I can’t report on Hsitou yet, but after we go there in a couple of weeks, I’ll report on the place.
As for nice mountainous countryside with clean air and grass, we enjoyed our stay near Ching Ching Farm (or something like that – the place with all the sheep), just beside HeHuanShan. I’m sure I’ve misspelled both places, but someone will know what I’m talking about. Lots of people go there to get away (I know that’s a Taiwan oxymoron – hordes of people escaping the hordes of people) and/but its very nice.
Definitely worth a visit. About 4 hours from Taipei, up in the mountains, we drove past Hsitou the first day to Sanmingsi (sp?). Big parking lot full of tour buses, but we quickly escaped the madness as there were lots of hiking trails through beautiful coniferous forest and the trails we followed were dirt (yea!!), not pavement, with few other people.
Our 27 month old girl enjoyed her first real hiking in a forest and we made it to a large waterfall where hordes of bus travelers congregated, before we headed back down to Hsitou, where we stayed for the night. Next day explored the more cultivated maze of trails through beautiful forest in Hsitou. Sidewalk trails here, but no less beautiful.
It was a great weekend. I’d be remiss, though, if I didn’t mention the thousands of idiots gawking, staring, leering, pointing, cooing at, admiring, "hao cuai"ing at, and even touching our girl’s hair. Endless busloads of such idiots. Perhaps worse than any place we’ve been to in Taiwan. Here’s a few of them.
Through evasive maneuvers and seeking out the most difficult or obscure trails, however, we escaped most of them and had a great time.
Sorry that I did not see this earlier. I also thought it was nice, although we were there during the week and i would not dare to go there at the weekend. But as Mother Theresa experienced, there are plenty of hiking trails that I do believe can take you away from the crowds. I was lucky enough to be there during full moon, so I did some of the nicest night hikes I have been on so far. Just topped by the exploratory hike Mucha_Man lead us on.
Anyway, I was not impressed by the giant old tree, but the skywalk was very interesting. Surely worth the trip.