Jiji Branch Line to Checheng
Trip Start Jan 18, 2013
31Trip End Jan 27, 2013
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Back at Taichung Station I bought the morning train ticket for $116 TWD ($3.75) which would run from 8.17 to 10.06. I took the first train as they were not that frequent and I had a full days itinerary planned.
You can take a bus direct to Sun Moon Lake but I thought the train which only runs 3/4 of the way would be more interesting.
The train was one of the colourfully painted ones on the outside I had seen on the previous days. It would be interesting travelling with the locals as this was a popular route for honeymooners, daytrippers, and seniors.
The train line runs south from Taichung then moves onto the Jiji Branch line that runs east-west across to almost Sun Moon Lake. My guide book claimed there was a bike path beside and that you could cycle the same route.
I'm glad I didnt take that option as I didnt see anyone on the cycle path and would have made for a very long and tiring day. There really wasnt much to see along the cycle path and was much the same scenery for many kms.
After arriving at Checheng just after 10am I found the bus schedule in the tourist office who told me the next bus to Sun Moon Lake was 11.30 giving me over an hour to kill.
The Checheng terminal station is an old logging community that has now been transformed into a tourist village. There is a logging sawmill museum, old train carriages, the conductors tower, and a floating log pool you can walk around
I dont think it really needed 90 mins till the Sun Moon Lake bus but perhaps they are trying to develop tourism here instead of everyone heading directly to Sun Moon Lake.
Seeing as I had time to kill the village map showed a temple a few blocks to the left of the sawmill. I tried to find my way up there but was blocked by a fierce dog. Then I found another way around and found the temple.
There were locals in the few homes along the path happy to see tourists and trying to sell local snacks.
Then since I had lots of time to kill I wanted to find the bus stop. I didnt see anything and wandered down for a bit until I came to a large red building. The locals told me this was not the bus stop and pointed me back the way I came
I got an ice cream and sat on a bench in the shade back by the sawmill tourist area. Then a cleaner saw me and came over ushering me to come with her to the bus stop. I guess she was trying to be friendly but I didnt want to go and stand in the sun at the bus stop twenty minutes early.
She showed me the bus stop which was just a sign post so I sat there and waited for the bus to arrive at 11.30. When he did come the ticket was $100 TWD ($3.25) and I was the only passenger, maybe explaining the infrequent times.
The journey was a short thirty minutes and I got my first view of Sun Moon Lake which was many kms wide and something it could take you a whole day to walk around.
The train route ended up being the slow option, particularly because of the long wait time for the connecting bus. If you want to spend the whole day at Sun Moon Lake it may be quicker to take the bus directly there from Taichung
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