We checked out immediately after our morning cycling tour of Sun Moon Lake. There aren’t any direct buses from Sun Moon Lake to Qingjing (Cingjing) Farm. So, we bought our ticket to Puli Bus Terminal (at the Shuishe Visitor Centre), and at Puli (above), we bought tickets to Qingjing Farm. We had to wait for 20 minutes for the next bus. It’s hard to communicate as you go away from the main tourist attractions, but the staff is always helpful. They even called us when it was time to board our bus.
TIP: Local transport is iffy at Qingjing. Be prepared to walk — if you’re taking the local tourism bus. There are direct shuttle services by some private companies to Qingjing. Alternatively, you can hire a cab to get around. The roads are meant for long drives and are perfect in dry weather conditions. In these parts, it’s helpful to have a copy of your hotel/homestay in Chinese.
Sun Moon Lake rises to an altitude of 748 m (2,454 ft) and Qingjing is roughly 1,750 m (5,741 ft) above sea level. The journey between these two stunning locations is the highlight of the bus ride. Keep your eyes peeled for those dense forests and plunging valleys.
I didn’t think I’d enjoy the bus ride. I get queasy with mountain curves and changes in altitude. However, the roads are very well maintained and the driver was excellent. The views outside my window were stunning and perfect to take my mind away from any negative thoughts.
Castle (North Gate)
The bus driver dropped us outside our B&B. The printout had come handy. It was around noon and since check-in is never before 3 p.m. in Taiwan; we left our bags at the front desk. We walked downhill towards the north gate of Qingjing Farm. We were hungry and hoped to grab a bite to eat. The only refreshment counter had milk ice creams.
The sun was out and it brought colour to the lush grassland. There are maps and direction boards to help you get orientated. We chose the Great Wall Route to get to the other side.
Views from the Great Wall Trail
We kept following the trail and it’s possible we meandered from the path. It doesn’t matter which route you take because almost every trail will have a stunning view.
Sheep Show Stage
We reached the sheep show stage after 10 minutes. There weren’t any activities planned for the day and the area was surrounded by families with kids. We followed another trail that lead us to a vantage point.
We finally saw some sheep. They didn’t care much for the attention they received from tourists. I wish I had their concentration.
I was starving by the time we reached the South Gate of Qingjing Farm. Fortunately, there were multiple food stalls with many interesting options to choose from. I didn’t expect to find many/any vegetarian options. And then I got lucky! Basil tried bamboo rice and I opted for stir-fried veggie noodles. The lady at the stall spoke mono-syllabic English and that was good enough for us. There are restrooms at the back.
We got a handstamp after exiting Qingjing Farm. Qingjing Skywalk is bang opposite the South Gate. We bought another ticket to explore this route.
The Long Walk
Qingjing Skywalk is roughly 1.2 Km (one way) long and literally floats through the lofty mountains of Ren’ai Township. The average altitude of the skywalk fluctuates from 1700 m to 2000 m.
The Snaking Skywalk
The skywalk resembles a giant snake, coiling at each bend, and threatening to strike — with the changing altitude. There were hardly any people at 3 p.m. and it was nice to enjoy the views without tourist banter.
The observation points can be tricky for those who are nervous about heights. I was doing pretty good so far and the height didn’t bother me.
Beyond the Curve
The views just kept getting better. The sun was playing hide-and-seek and the clouds were slowly taking over the blue sky.
Walking Among the Clouds
Basil’s camera had lost its charge. It’s one those moments when you feel gutted because you’re scared you’d miss out on a great picture. I knew my phone wouldn’t capture the mountains or blue sky with great clarity. But, when I saw those lofty mountains, I didn’t care how the pictures would look. It didn’t matter because I felt like we were walking among clouds. The best travel experiences are rarely captured by a good lens. It stays etched in your memory forever.
And just like that, the skywalk rose and curved — above a busy mountain road. I freaked out a little at this point. I said: it’s all in the mind. Tiredness was slowly beginning to take over and I’m glad my mind was still working. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
The mountains were beyond our field of view. We saw agricultural farms and dense trees on the mountain face.
We got another handstamp after exiting the skywalk.
The Other Side
Qingjing has many trails to explore. Some of them are easy hikes. I had heard about the 487-Steps Trail, but we didn’t have the time to explore this trail. This mountain town is quite popular with families looking to spend a relaxing holiday away from the city. The Swiss Mini Village is just one of the many themed villages spread across this mountain town. There were more eateries around here and there’s also an ATM and convenience store for supplies.
We had to get back to the skywalk because it closed at 5 p.m. and we didn’t want to search for a new route after dark. By 4 p.m., the sun disappeared and a thick blanket of fog spread all over the mountains — engulfing the skypath. It looks scary from the other side, but it isn’t as bad as it looks.
We showed our handstamp and re-entered Qingjing Farm. It was all very grey now and looked different from the afternoon view. The undulating terrain and the climb to get to the north ticket booth wasn’t easy. Those views motivated me to keep walking and climbing.
The Rising Fog
Surprisingly, there were some tourists who were still quite taken by the sheep. It didn’t stop them from clicking pictures with those befuddled animals.
We had taken a trail that was far away from the tourists. The sheep didn’t look at us and munched away. I would have loved to stay in such an idyllic location.
The Last Leg
My legs were killing me and we had to walk back to our B&B. It was an upward climb on a smooth road. Basil was doing much better and I tailed behind. We finally reached the hotel at around 5 p.m. and spent the rest of the evening indoors.
TIP: The Nantou Bus connects the different tourist attractions of Qingjing Farm. Easy Cards are accepted in most buses, but always check with the driver before entering a bus. Pick up a schedule of the bus if you want to avoid the wait or being stranded on a mountain town.