新年快樂!(Happy New Year!): Camping at Sun Moon Lake

Last week was the Chinese New Year here in Taiwan. Most Taiwanese get a whole week off work and spend that time with their families celebrating. Luke and I also had the week off and were kindly invited to do some things with our Taiwanese friends. On Sunday night we had a lovely dinner with one of my old Chinese teachers and her family. And on Thursday, we joined my current Chinese tutor and her family for a night of camping down in Sun Moon Lake. It was definitely the highlight of our vacation!

We left chilly, overcast Taipei around 9:30am on Thursday morning and made our way down the west coast stopping along the way for lunch.

IMG_3888The place we had lunch at was a huge rest stop filled with a large selection of restaurants and shops. There was even an area called ‘the Tunnel of Love’ with a graffiti wall for lovers. Coincidentally it was Valentine’s Day!

IMG_3892We made it to our camping destination sometime after 1pm.

IMG_0721The setting was beautiful- we were right on the lake. The sunny, warm weather helped too.

IMG_3895Our friends were already there and had a great set-up. In addition to my tutor, her husband, and their three kids, there was her Mom, her sister, her husband, their two kids and her brother and two kids.

IMG_0733The tent we rented was raised up on stilts and had a thin mattress pad lining the inside. So we just had to bring our sleeping bags and four pillows that I arrange in various positions around my body to make sleeping more comfortable.

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After we unpacked and organized our stuff, we all headed into the small town down the road and caught a ferry to take us across to the main town. Being Chinese New Year it was pretty busy around the lake. The line for the ferry was long but moved very quickly.

IMG_3896The view from the boat was really nice. The lake is surrounded by beautiful mountains.

IMG_3904Here’s us on the boat:

IMG_3905Once on the other side of the lake we all rented bikes and hit the bike trail. My bike was extra fancy as it was electric! Perfect for me in my tired pregnant state. I rode it like a scooter most of the way and was able to keep up with Luke.

IMG_3911We rode for about an hour in total.

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IMG_3914After biking we were driven back to camp where dinner was awaiting us. My Chinese teacher’s sister had make a couple of hot pots – one with a sour soup base and one with a spicy base. Both pots had various meats, fishballs, and veggies. I was a big fan of the sour base and ate so many bowls that I didn’t have room to try the spicy one.

IMG_3917The kids were super cute while waiting to get their bowls filled up.

IMG_3920I got lucky and in one serving got a Hello Kitty fish ball.

IMG_3924After dinner we played board games until almost midnight! The latest I’ve stayed up in a long time.

IMG_3929And in the morning, after a short walk, Luke and I returned to the campsite for birthday cake! A few days before it was my Chinese teacher’s son’s birthday so they brought along a yummy cake to celebrate with everyone.

IMG_0729After packing up we said our goodbyes and thank-yous and headed back to Taipei.

IMG_0736We had such a great time in Sun Moon Lake and can’t wait to return.

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