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.
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.
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:
Fascinating, eh? It starts out as a seed and becomes a bud before it blossoms.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Everyone, this is me and my good friend Dick.
Posted: 6:36 am Taiwan time (GMT/UTC +8)