Sun Link Sea (Shanlinshi), Nantou

Shanlinshi Nantou

Sun Link Sea is a large highland forest park located 1,600 meters above sea level in Nantou. It’s also known as Shanlinshi (杉林溪) and a very welcome respite from the heat of Taiwan. You know the song that goes Alishan di gu nian? It’s an ancient tune that describes the virtues of the maidens of Alishan, one of the handful of Chinese songs I know.


You can actually reach Alishan from Sun Link Sea Forest and Nature Resort – it’s on the way as you pass by Xitou, and there’s a footpath you can walk though. That’s what makes Shanlinshi so popular with day trippers. The air is so fresh and cool that you feel invigorated just from breathing it in.


It was around 18 degrees Celsius when we arrived, the temperature dropped even further at night, so you might need a coat if you’re sensitive to chilly environments. It’s like Cameron Highlands, but a lot colder.

Sun Link Sea Hotel

Despite having a reputation as an overnight destination before people go to Alishan mountain resort, there are a lot of things to do here and the food is great! You can reach Shanlinshi from Sun Moon Lake in 1 1/2 hours. We stayed at the Sun Link Sea Hotel – the fresh air paired with the cool temperature (it was in the low teens) made everything better. The Nantou area is also famous for their tea.

Beautiful Flower

There is a lovely botanical garden here. You can see butterflies fluttering around the flowers as well as various specimens of strange and interesting plants, including a flower that grows in the middle of a leaf:

Flower on a Leaf

Fascinating, eh? It starts out as a seed and becomes a bud before it blossoms.

Sun Link Sea Nature

There are two waterfalls at Sun Link Sea (it’s actually a corruption/Romanization of Shanlinshi) which I affectionately dub the twin dragons. They are Chinglong Waterfall (青龍瀑布 or Green Dragon Waterfall) and Songlong Rock Waterfall (松龍岩瀑布 or Pine Dragon Rock Waterfall). You’ll see Songlong Rock Waterfall first, and see it you must, for it’s the *most beautiful* sight in Sun Link Sea!

Songlong Rock Waterfall

Songlong Rock Waterfall looks like a scene that came out of a postcard. It’s a picture perfect sight with the mist and spray from the waterfall framing the stones in the middle of the lake. This is the start of a long nature trail – you can go to the higher Chinglong Waterfall, the stark Shui Yang Forest, and the curious Tien Ti Yen as well as a variety of other natural attractions from 1-4 hours.

Songlong Rock

However, if you don’t have time, you can just do the circular route that brings you into the hole in the middle of the mountain (a little like Tian Ti Yen, the Heaven and Earth Eyes which are depressions in face) and back out. The photo op from here is magnificent since the recess allows for high contrast photos with reflections.

Tien Ti Yen

The steps can be a little slippery here though. The dripping is caused by water coming down from high up the mountain. I nearly slipped and faceplanted once while attempting to take a photo.

Stepping Stones

You can also come back via the stepping stones but only if you’ve been religiously following your daily recommended intake of calcium since slipping would be a little disastrous here. Heh.

Stone Pig

There are a lot of cultural totems here too, and you can see stars at night due to the elevation and lack of light and pollution. I enjoyed my time in Sun Link Sea, if you’re heading to Alishan, you might want to consider dropping by to check out the unique and beautiful gifts of nature here.

Sun Link Sea Giant Penis

Oh, before I forget, let me do an introduction. This breathtaking carving of rock hard wood was erected here as a symbol of fertility by Taiwanese aboriginals.

Wooden Penis

Everyone, this is me and my good friend Dick. smirk

Posted: 6:36 am Taiwan time (GMT/UTC +8)

My girlfriend’s two birthdays!

Birthday #1

ling birthday

This was my brainchild and happened on the day before her actual birthday (we flew to Siem Reap for her birthday vacation). I had planned a series of surprises for the week leading up to her birthday. :)

Patchi chocolates


The first was chocolates from Patchi. This has a special meaning for us (not the brand itself) but coz one of the first gifts I gave her was from Royce, followed by Godiva and this the trilogy of “premium chocolates”.

patchi chocolate store

I got their signature collection from MidValley – she was actually wondering what shop it was and I remember walking in the first time, saying I’ll get her a box and she looked at the price tag and said she doesn’t want it. I know, she’s really an *awesome* person like that.

patchi chocolates

I decided to drop the subject since I knew her birthday was coming up and I wanted this to be one of the presents…and thus, I gave it to her as the start of the birthday gifts. :)

24 pink roses bouquet

pink roses

I also planned to walk into her office with a bouquet of flowers that I got from Bloom (which actually has great service compared to Giftlab, the latter has rude delivery guys). I got the 24 stalks of pink roses at my condo, and drove out to her office with the intention of surprising her by walking in unannounced.

girlfriend birthday

It was foiled coz she was already standing outside, ready to go out. I didn’t make it in time before she headed out for lunch. Oh well, it was still a good attempt. :)

Giant macaroon birthday cake

giant macaroon

She didn’t want a birthday cake coz she already had some and I remember her saying something about macaroons when we first met that I’ve kept in my mind ever since. I ordered a giant macaroon in lieu of a birthday cake – I got two of them in fact, one pink (salty chocolate) and one red (lime flavored).

macaroon cake

I also got 3 candles for her 30th birthday and pretended I was too tired to stay up…before surprising her with the giant pink macaroon. Well, it’s not exactly gigantic (there are bigger ones) but it’s hard to maintain the crispiness when it’s huge. This size was pushing it.


She liked it though and that’s all that matters.

Pandora’s box(es)


This was a series of surprise gifts I sprang on her. She was staying over since we had an early morning flight (turned out we didn’t have time to sleep at all). I bought her a charm bracelet and three charms from Pandora coz I remember walking through a mall with her and the little ones once and she looked wistfully at the collections.

I made a mental note then to get this for her birthday. :)

pandora charm bracelet

I actually asked the Pandora sales person to wrap it in 3 different packages (one of them I just took in the box since I wanted to present it to her in Siem Reap and it’ll be hard to pack a bag without her noticing) so I can do my sequential surprises. smirk

I gave her the charm bracelet first and apologized coz it’s empty and I didn’t have money to buy her charms.

pandora box

She said it’s okay, she’ll just wear the bracelet like that.

I said I bumped into a friend who told me I needed to get a charm chain coz if the charm bracelet accidentally opens, all the charms will drop out (thanks Wendy!).

pandora bracelet

…and I gave her another box.

I said that’s it, sorry about it being so empty and while she asked if I was going to put it on for her…

pandora charm protector

I then presented her with the third box, which contains a pink heart charm. It’s supposed to mean something which I only told her.

pink heart charm

I said that’s all I had, no more surprises (but notice I only gave her 3 boxes when I bought 4?). She was touched though and I’m glad I managed to make her happy during her birthday. :)

Birthday trip to Cambodia

birthday trip

We didn’t sleep at all and I drove to the airport the next day. I had booked a very nice boutique resort in Siem Reap which did all my requests for her birthday trip.

happy honeymoon

They wrote “Happy Honeymoon” on the bed and had a bottle of champagne chilled in an ice bucket waiting in the room.


I also arranged for a Cambodian birthday cake to be presented to her. I got this in advance since it was her birthday the *very day* we flew. We arrived in the morning so we had a day of going around Siem Reap (will post more on our trip soon) and I had to pay for the birthday cake without her knowledge, pretending to go out or forgetting stuff in the room while I was actually talking to reception about when to reveal the surprise.

The birthday cake was presented to her by the poolside (she was puzzled as to why I wanted to hang out there and was annoyed by the mosquitoes). The staff came out and sang “Happy Birthday” and a bunch of French guests there wished her a happy birthday too!

cambodian birthday cake

It was a 3D/2N trip, I told her to bring her passport and I’ll handle everything, from flights to currency, it’s her present so just bring herself! I gave her some USD so she can get back to the resort in case of emergencies though. I’ll write more on the trip later, the last surprise was close to midnight of her actual birthday when I gave her the Pandora charm that I had secretly packed to complete the dual charm collection.

It’s “I LOVE YOU” with a heart made of pure gold which I had hidden all the way from KL. <3 Birthday #2


This just happened last weekend! Ling and the two little ones came over to my place coz it’s closer to town before getting ready. We had a sit-down birthday dinner at Checkers. It was Florence’s idea – cheers for making it two weeks later so I could do the birthday vacation surprise! :)


The food was pretty alright – they had a decent cheese and bread selection…

hors d oeuvres

…and they had some nicely plated hors d’oeuvres.


But I thought the best part was the mutton / beef / chicken satay station and the fresh oysters.


The little one took this so it’s a bit blurry:

birthday photo 2013

Happy birthday dear, I hope this was a memorable one for you. I love you always. *hugs*

Bloemenmarkt – the world’s only floating flower market

amsterdam flower market

The Bloemenmarkt is the world’s only floating flower market on Singel (one of the oldest canals in Amsterdam). It’s built on houseboats and I’m a bit dubious about the claim since I’ve seen other floating markets…perhaps “only floating permanent flower market”? I wouldn’t even have noticed it was floating unless I looked at it from behind – stalls don’t usually set up shop over the banks of the canal:


I’m not the type to list down “Sights to See: Floating flower market” in my travel itinerary. I was looking for a smartshop on Singel and bumped into a couple of people purchasing the same items inside said smartshop.

flower market us

They were the ones who told me about the floating flower market and we went and did the tourist thing that afternoon. Quite a few museums around here.

flower market

The Amsterdam floating flower market is pretty nice though if you’re into flowers. It’s quite beautiful even, once you’ve had some truffles to enjoy nature. They also have a lot of tulips, it being the flower of Amsterdam.

tulip bulbs amsterdam

Remember tulip mania?

Posted: 9:59 am Amsterdam time (GMT +1)



Saying it with flowers. :)


Look at the size of that bud! I’m shocked at the size of the stem too…

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