[Fragriver in Taiwan] A trip to Thousand-Island Lake (千島湖)

Three months ago, when I started to plan for my three-month stay in Taiwan, I already mapped out some places of my interest to visit in Taiwan. Places like Jiufen, Tamsui, or Dadaocheng are no doubt put in my list and information related to the places is widely available to the Internet. When I surfed Google Maps, I identified a very great lake with weird shape at the south of Taipei.

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I clicked at the place out of curious and was immediately awestruck by the beautiful photos taken place here. At first, I attempted to search for information related to this place by the keyword “Fei-ts’ui Reservoir” (Feitsui Reservoir) (翡翠水庫) but there are only a couple of information available on the Internet. Therefore, I tried searching again by using the keyword “千島湖” (Thousand-Island Lake). After typing the Chinese keyword in the searching box, the results offered by Google suggested the place sharing the same name in the Mainland China as well as the incident taking place there 12 years ago, in which 32 people were killed, 24 of which were Taiwanese and the remaining ones were Chinese. I then had to add the word Taipei (台北) before “千島湖” to make sure further information to appear as well as search the information by using the English keyword. After reading the information on some blogs, I found the reason for the information being that limited. As the reservoir supplies water to the whole Taipei City, it should be of great importance to keep this place out of the reach of the tourists as far as possible and as noted in this blog, Feitsui reservoir probably has the most comprehensive surveillance and strictest public access in comparison with other reservoirs in Taiwan. It does not mean that it is prohibited to get access to this beautiful place. As I checked some blogs written in Chinese by some Taiwanese bloggers and Instagram, there are some places available for tourism, however, it is a little bit difficult to reach here by public transportation, the case of which is quite rare in Taiwan. Despite such difficulty, I decided to come here last Sunday with two friends of mine and found that it is a worth-visiting place.

As guided by Google Maps, we decided to meet each other at Xindian MRT Station at 11:30 to take the G12 bus (綠12) to Shisangu (十三股). It took me around 30 minutes to travel by bus from Xindian to Shisangu. After getting down at Shisangu, there were some tourists asking us if we would like to share with them the ride so as to get to the lake. We, however, decided to walk there instead. It is around 2.5 kilometers from Shisangu to the place as guided by Google Maps. It took us around more than one hour to reach the pinned point on Google Maps as we often took a stop on the road for photos to be taken. The route is winding and almost downhill until the destination. On our very first encountering with a winding turn, we bumped into a very nice tea plantation.imag5063imag5064

After spending around 15 minutes to take photos there, we continued to walk downhill. As we walked further, the beautiful lake started to appear.

It was a little bit rainy and foggy on my day of visit, however, the view was still stunning and amazing. There were many visitors this day (however, the number of people here should be nothing in comparison with the crowd I encountered in other famous places like Jiufen or National Museum of Palace), most of them were Chinese or Taiwanese. I was a little bit surprised on figuring out a group of young Vietnamese visiting there.

We decided to walk back to Shisangu at around 16:30 so as not to be late for the returning bus to Taipei. The way back was more difficult as we had to walk uphill now. As we were determined to be back to Taipei as early as possible, it took us just 30 minutes to arrive at Shisangu Station. We managed to catch the bus at around 17:30 and get back to Xindian at around 18:00.

For ones staying in Taipei and loving natural scenery, I highly recommend this place for a quick getaway from the city, having a nice walk and enjoying the magnificent scenery offered by the Mother Nature.

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