McDonald’s Japan Spring 2016 Menu: Camembert Teritama Burger & Hokkaido Namaeboshu “Names Wanted” Burger

McDonalds Japan

I was attracted by the posters advertising the new limited edition Camembert Teritama Burger which is a pork patty topped with an egg and served in a teriyaki-like sauce. You can also opt to have Ume plum powder with your fries, which is very Japanese (and it’s only available in the Land of the Rising Sun). I read about a new nameless burger made with Hokkaido potatoes and bacon that I was keen to check out too.

Japan McDonalds

I have been bugging my better half to make space in our stomach for a meal at McDonald’s Japan. I like visiting McDonald’s in other countries coz they’re so much more awesome than our own. I started my passion when I was studying in Australia, and since then I’ve eaten at the Golden Arches at many countries, from Germany to Sri Lanka to Korea to Thailand.

McDonalds Japan Spring 2016

They have an English menu in McDonald’s Japan but it only lists the regular menu items. I wanted the special and limited edition sets so I had to order by pointing and guessing what each option was. Unfortunately, this means that I missed out on the Sakura Cherry McFizz. It was there in bright pink but I thought it meant Large so I didn’t order it. It was just a 30 yen (RM 1.50) upgrade. The Ume plum powder for the fries was also 30 yen for a sachet.

Camembert Teritama Burger Spring 2016 Set (690 yen or RM 30)
カマンベールてりたま

Camembert Teritama Burger Japan

This is the new 2016 Camembert Teritama Burger! It’s made with a pork patty with teriyaki sauce, egg, lettuce, and delicious gooey Camembert cheese inside a sesame seed bun. I was quite impressed with the use of Camembert cheese but it was the juiciness of the pork patty coupled with the sweet teriyaki sauce that sealed the deal.

Camembert Teritama Burger

It tasted so good with the locally made Camembert and egg.

Teriyaki McBurger (310 yen or RM 14)
てりやきマックバーガー

Teriyaki McBurger

My better half went for a Teriyaki McBurger. It was decent enough but I thought it was rather unimaginative given the wide range of other options out there which you can only get in Japan. Haha. To be fair, this pork patty is local so in a way, it’s a Japan only burger too.

Names Wanted “Namaeboshu” Burger (390 yen or RM 18)
名前募集バーガー

Names Wanted Burger

Namaeboshu literally means “Names Wanted”. This is the new item which hasn’t been given a name yet. McDonald’s Japan is asking for people to name it for a chance to win a year’s worth of this burger! It contains a delicious top, middle and bottom bun with a beef patty, onion relish, Cheddar cheese, awesome bacon slices and a generous scoop of beautifully buttery mashed potatoes from Hokkaido. It was a symphony of perfection!

McDonalds Nameless Burger

This burger very aptly comes in an special unmarked box.

Namaeboshu Burger

The onion sauce has a hint of burnt soy sauce and the hot potatoes topping it is soooo buttery it’s sinful! I got it a la carte for JPY 390. The beef is local and the Cheddar cheese is from Hokkaido as well. The bun is the best thing about this burger though, it’s a very rich and buttery brioche dough. It’s a lot better than the regular sesame ones. Get into my belly!

Hokkaido Potatoes

I really enjoyed this Hokkaido Names Wanted Burger. It represents everything right about McD in Japan – they have frequent limited edition items. This is true of other Japan fast food chains as well since Lotteria came out with a Shinkansen meal for JPY 1,000 in Hokkaido only which has a pork rib burger in the soon-to-be-launched H5 bullet train box. Plus, the Namaeboshu a.k.a. Giyu Innovation Burger (北のいいとこ牛(ぎゅ)っとバーガー) is made with local Hokkaido ingredients.

McD Japan

I dragged my dear for a 40-minute round trip walk in the -9 degree Celsius snow to visit the nearest McDonald’s in Sapporo and I didn’t regret it. 9/10, will eat again!

Konnichiwa from Hokkaido!

Snowing

Brr…it’s a bone chilling -13 Celsius in Hokkaido right now. こんにちは! We’re here on our annual overseas trip and decided to book a room in a classic Japanese ryokan complete with kaiseki dinner for the first night. It’s been snowing non-stop since we arrived and the fresh powder makes it hard to walk around. I neglected to bring proper cold weather boots but at least my parka is very warm.

Sapporo Snow

It’s interesting to hear that getting a voice SIM card is practically impossible in Japan. You need to be a resident in order to get one. However, we managed to get a data SIM from the airport. Yup, you can buy almost anything from a vending machine in the Land of the Rising Sun. It’s JPY 3,000 (about RM 110) for 1 GB.

SIM Card Vending Machine

Another thing I love about Japan is that their combini (convenience stores) have a wide range of interesting and unusual snacks and food items. I have been to many 7-Eleven (called 7 & i Holdings here) and Lawson stores while we were here. It’s not very hard when you can find more than one in a block. I have taken to eating the onigiri when I want a quick bite.

Onigiri

Oh, and the density of vending machines is mind-boggling too. There’s more than two per city block as well and they pop up at the most random places. Here’s the one below our apartment in Hokkaido. You can get both hot AND cold drinks from them.

Vending-Machine

My favorite is corn pottage! smirk
(Yup, you can get savory drinks in cans here)

Corn Pottage

It’s still winter in Sapporo and the temperatures frequently drop below zero. The highest was -3 degrees Celsius and the lowest was -16 degrees Celsius when we arrived. That means the weather didn’t breach 0 degrees Celsius the entire day, needless to say a positive number! We’re having a lot of fun though, there’s nothing quite like having a hot onsen bath outdoors while the snow falls on you.

Japan

It feels amazing! :)

Snowball

I’ll blog again soon. Check out my Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook for live updates!

Posted: 7:37 pm Japan time (GMT/UTC +9)

20 photos from my trip to Kapit

Kapit Boat

I went to Kapit a while back for a 2D/1N stay. Kapit is a town 3 hours from Sibu by express boat. There is no other way to reach it – you can’t drive there and you can’t fly in either, the river is the only route.

Sibu Kapit

This is a uniquely Sarawakian feature, there are a lot of random towns that is connected only via Rejang River and lacks the proper highways or road connections to civilization.

Express Boat View

The funny thing is that you have to fill in a form detailing your name and IC number so they know who’s on board. This didn’t exist before, it was the high profile express boat capsizes and accidents resulting in multiple deaths that initiated it.

Live Chicken

I meant human deaths, not livestock. ;) You can find lots of interesting cargo onboard, including live chicken!

Kapit Sibu Express

Interestingly, they don’t overload the express boats anymore too. This makes it a lot safer compared to previous journeys. Previously, there would be people *on top* of the boat, hanging on to the side rails.

Kapit Jetty

We arrived in Kapit 3 hours later and had to disembark.

Sarawak Express Boat

You do this by walking along the side of the express boat. I’m used to it coz I’ve done it when I was a kid, but new people might find this disconcerting since the river is just beside you.

Kapit Town Square

Kapit is a very small town. You can walk around town in a matter of minutes and that’s what we did. We passed by Kapit Town Square on the way to our hotel.

Star Hill Inn

We stayed at Star Hill Inn, one of the best hotels there.

Kapit Hotel

I took a room and my bro Eddy took another room.

Kapit Shoplots

The hotel is in a shoplot, as you can see from the view.

Kapit Roti Canai Goreng

One of the highlights of the trip was eating roti canai goreng. This is a distinctive Kapit invention, they literally fry the roti canai inside a wok of boiling hot oil. Ingenious, and very tasty too.

Kapit Fair

We managed to have some time off the next day and went to see what was going on in Kapit Town Square. It turns out there’s a lot of games of chance, like an indoor funfair of sorts.

Fun Fair Games

I took a spin as well. You pay RM 1 for a can of soft drink and put it at a color of your choice. You get a 1 in 6 chance of winning equal odds e.g. you win 2 cans if you wager 2 cans.

Fun Fair

This works by throwing a tennis ball into a receptacle with 6 possible colors which matches the one on the table. You get unlimited tries, there’s no penalty if you miss or if the ball bounces back up. You simply try again until you get the ball into a color square.

Kapit Gambling

Behold! These are the high rollers of Kapit! smirk

High Rollers

Seriously though, these whales are betting cartons of 24 cans at once. We thought that was quite funny.

Durian Isu

I also managed to get some wild jungle durians to bring home. This is a native durian called durian isu. It’s very different from regular durians, it only has 4 segments. I’ll do a comprehensive review during the weekend.

Maggi Instant Noodles

We had a quick lunch of Maggi instant noodles at the wharf the next day before we departed…

Kapit Wharf

…and caught the afternoon express boat back. It was a really fun overnight trip with my bro Eddy. I haven’t been to Kapit in such a long time!

Roti Canai Goreng in Kapit

Roti Canai Goreng

I first heard about this wonderful creation a couple of months back. Fried roti canai is a staple in Kapit and one of those quirky inventions that can only take hold in a small town. I decided then and there that I must personally investigate this dish and planned to go on a trip downriver. Kapit is a small town that’s only reachable by boat – you can’t drive or fly there.

Roti Canai Goreng Kapit

The journey to Kapit takes 3 hours via express boat from Sibu and I went down with my bro Eddy for a night. It’s not just to eat roti canai goreng, but that certainly was a highlight (at least for me). Haha. The stalls in question are located at Gelanggang Kenyalang (loosely translated as Kenyalang Court). It’s an assortment of stalls under one roof, an indoor food court of sorts.

Gerai Makanan Islam Sri Suria

There is one stall that’s famous for their roti canai goreng but everyone essentially does it the same way nowadays. I went to Stall #25 Gerai Makanan Islam Sri Suria and the kind lady manning the frying pan told me about how the roti canai goreng is made. I was quite surprised to find out that it’s not grilled first – the raw dough of the roti canai is slipped into boiling hot oil and fried straight away.

Roti Goreng Kapit

The same treatment is done for the roti canai telur goreng (fried roti canai with egg). The egg is folded into the dough and deep fried till crispy. It’s served Sarawakian style with curry chicken and a sweet sambal sauce. The latter is truly local, I’ve never had this saccharine sambal anywhere else except at home.

Roti Canai Kapit

The roti canai goreng costs RM 2 and it’s plain roti canai that’s been deep fried. The dough is cooked through, with a crispy exterior. You can taste the sweetness of the dough by picking up the sliced pieces and munching on them. It’s very satisfying!

Roti Telur Goreng

Roti canai telur goreng comes in at RM 4 and it tastes totally different with an egg. I was surprised at how distinctive the two are! This one has a pockmarked surface (from the hot oil) and it tastes a lot more savory than the previous one.

Roti Canai Goreng Inside

Here’s a look at the inside. The egg is perfectly cooked from the heat of the cooking oil. The funny thing about the two roti canai variants is that the egg version is rectangle in shape while the plain is round and circular.

Roti Goreng

Roti canai goreng has a distinctive texture that’s very moreish. I could eat several of them, although it’s probably not wise to do so as it’s quite oily and I feel that excessive consumption would probably be bad for your cholesterol.

HB Eddy Kapit

This is definitely worth a try. I’ll come again just to eat this! You can only find it in Kapit, so if you’re ever in Sarawak and looking for something different, take a boat here and eat their famous roti canai goreng! :)

Bebek Bengil Dirty Duck Diner @ Ubud, Bali

Bebek Bengil Dirty Duck Diner

We were looking for something local to eat and happened to chance across Bebek Bengil in Google Maps. It actually took us more than 30 minutes to walk over but I thought it was worth it since it’s touted as “The Original Crispy Duck Since 1990”. Bebek Bengil Dirty Duck Diner is known for their crispy grilled duck.

Bebek Bengil Waitresses

This is a different dish from the popular bebek betutu in Bali. Bebek Betutu is a seasoned steamed or roasted duck that’s popular in Bali. Bebek Bengil (which means dirty duck) serves crispy duck. You can even order 1 whole duck for IDR 300,000 if you book one day in advance. It’s a pretty good deal at RM 94/duck if you want to go for it. The service by the uniform clad waitresses is pleasantly discreet and unobstructive.

Bebek Bengil (IDR 125,000)

Bebek Bengil

I had this original dish, which is half a duck steamed in Indonesian spices which is then deep fried for a crispy finish. It’s served with rice and Balinese vegetables and it cost RM 40. It’s their flagship signature dish and it tasted alright. I’m not a huge fan of deep fried duck and I thought it was slightly too crispy but personal tastes aside, it was pretty good.

Thirsty Duck (IDR 44,000)

Thirsty Duck

This is what my better half had – it’s a concoction of pure orange, markisa (passionfruit in the local language) and melon sugar.

Ice Bebek Putih Jambul (IDR 39,000)

Ice Bebek Putih Jambul

The drink I had was chosen at random from the duck-themed options. It turns out to be a shaved ice confection with lots of interesting goodies at the bottom – love the white squiggles and fresh fruit slices.

Bebek Pelalah (IDR 122,000)

Bebek Pelalah

My dear ordered this dish. It’s one of the specialties and the Balinese recipe came from one Ibu Agung Raka Sueni. I have no idea who that is but the owners of Bebek Bengil thought it was noteworthy enough to highlight this in their menu. This is the grilled version of the duck (as opposed to my steamed and deep fried duck) with Balinese sauce and steamed rice. It’s very spicy! I really like the sauce here.

Bebek Bengil Bali

I thought the ambience of Bebek Bengil is unique – the place is totally dark (as you can probably gather from the photos) with the exception of mood lighting from the pavilions where we were seated. There were not a lot of people due to the higher than usual prices. The meal came up to around RM 140 for the two of us and it’s worth a visit for the atmosphere alone. The water features around the raised dining pavilions made it really romantic.

Bebek Bengil Ubud

Bebek Bengil Dirty Duck Diner
Jalan Hanoman, Padang Tegal,
Ubud, Bali

Ubud Morning Market & Ubud Traditional Art Market

Ubud Morning Market

We went to Ubud Morning Market as part of our cooking class. There are actually two markets in Ubud, both interconnected. The Ubud Morning Market is where the locals go while the Ubud Traditional Art Market is a more tourist oriented market. The latter was featured in Eat Pray Love and is known locally as Pasar Seni Ubud.

Ubud-Wet Market

I thought that going for a Balinese cooking lesson was a cool thing to do while on vacation, although I can’t claim credit for it. My better half was the one who thought of it and booked us the classes. The van picked us up in the morning and we went to the Ubud Morning Market for a tour of the place and to sample some local produce as well.

Bali Spices

Our guide took us through the sight, sounds and smells of the Ubud Morning Market…

Bali Market

…and I thought it was very refreshing that there was no attempt to sell us on anything (probably coz these are mostly produce).

Ubud Market

The fruits, vegetables and meat are mostly familiar except for this unusual specimen:

Bali Passionfruit

This was described as a “sweet passionfruit” to us and we all got a taste of it. I thought it was a buah salak at first. It’s not passionfruit as we know it, this is a South American breed called granadilla. Unlike our purple passionfruit, this is orange and features a seed matrix that looks like kiwano (horned melon).

Granadilla

It’s very sweet with no sour notes and nice to eat by itself. The pulp is very tasty.

Balinese Orange

A clockwork orange. :)

Bali Grapes

Bali is also able to grow their own grapes now. I tried one of the first batches of Balinese wine made from Balinese grapes in Club Med Bali in 2013 and it was decent, if rather immature.

Ubud Handicrafts

There are also knives and other local goods on display at the Bali Morning Market.

Bali Crafts

My dear spotted a mortar that she really liked – it’s made out of volcanic rock from Bali! I paid IDR 60,000 (about RM 20) which is quite a good deal.

Ubud Traditional Art Market

We also walked around the touristy Ubud Traditional Art Market after we finished our cooking lesson. It’s worth a stroll even though you’ll find most of the things here are mass produced souvenir kitsch. My better half also had a theory that if we were carrying a certain color of plastic bag, it means that we were willing to spend more, or rather am susceptible to be conned more easily. Haha!

Pasar Seni Ubud

I don’t know how true that is, but I had limited headway while bargaining for a set of three kittens that my dear liked. I think we ended up paying RM 80 for it. I don’t think there’s a plastic bag conspiracy though, it seems quite unlikely in the free market everyone-for-themselves nature of the tourist trade, but you never know. smirk

I touched a dolphin @ Yehliu Ocean World, Taiwan

Dolphin Show

Yup, I got an opportunity to pet a dolphin in Yehliu Ocean World in Taipei, Taiwan. I actually did it twice, once in front of the crowd and the other time during a behind-the-scenes tour. It was a remarkable experience, dolphins are a lot more intelligent than cats and dogs, and they’re one of the few creatures in the world which are self-aware (like us).

Sea Lions

The show started with sea lions. This is a male and female pair trained to perform various tricks.

They can even play basketball!

Sea Lion Show

They called for volunteers to come on stage and I was the first to offer myself.

Sea Lion Tricks

I got a peck on the cheek from the sea lion for my trouble. :D

Sea Lion Kiss

It felt very nice.

Russian Clowns

The show at Yehliu Ocean World also incorporated clowns (a Russian duo) and synchronized swimmers.

Russian Swimsuit Girls

There was a man who remained resolutely immobile throughout the entire show, even when the sea lions and dolphins came on stage but excitedly clicked away with his smartphone the moment the Russian girls in their swimsuits came on stage. He nearly fell off his seat in his excitement, which I found puzzling. I wonder how his wife (who was sitting beside him) felt about that. smirk

Yehliu Ocean World

The dolphin show was the highlight of the session.

Dolphin

They asked for a volunteer from the crowd to come on stage and interact with the dolphins. Naturally, I was the first to put my hand up (again).

Bottlenose Dolphin

There is a floor mat with disinfectant which you need to step on before you can go on the stage. You have to use liquid hand sanitizer before you can touch the dolphins too. I was also told that dolphins do not have good eyesight (which makes sense considering they use sonar to communicate) so I have to exaggerate my movements.

Fun With Dolphins

I was trained to use my hands to direct the two dolphins to jump – it was quite an unforgettable affair!

Jumping Dolphin

The dolphins are capable of flinging themselves a remarkable distance up from the water.

Kissing Dolphin

One of the dolphins even allowed me to kiss her (!!!).

Dolphins Up Close

I was taught to bring her up using my hands and she used her flippers to balance herself while I came over on her right flank and nuzzled up against her side. She felt wet and smooth and slippery.

I felt very privileged to be part of the dolphin show.

Dolphin Training

We also got a backstage tour after everyone had left. I realized that I shouldn’t have volunteered for the dolphin show since we got *another* chance to touch the dolphins. I didn’t know or I would have let someone else in the audience have the opportunity.

Feeding Dolphins

The practice training session was going on and we were beside the dolphin trainers while they worked.

Dolphins

It was a wonderful chance to see how the dolphins and trainers interacted up close.

Dolphin Food

We also saw the frozen fish food storage where the dolphins are fed frozen fish as a treat during summer. This is also a backdoor for their medication – apparently dolphins don’t like taking pills and thus vitamins, supplements and meds are inserted into the body cavity of small fish before being fed to the dolphins.

Dolphin Pharmacy

The guide also led us through the secure on-site pharmacy. You’re lucky I don’t read Chinese. Haha.

Dolphin Anatomy

One of the trainers even gave us a detailed dolphin anatomy lesson.

Training Dolphin

All the dolphins here are bottlenose dolphins – the ones you’ll normally associate with the word “dolphin”.

That’s how the dolphin show is done. It’s very interesting stuff!

Dolphin Kiss

I managed to get a photo taken up close by the Yehliu Ocean World photographer while I was hugging the dolphin. :)

8 course dinner at Cross Straits Restaurant in Taipei

Cross Straits Club

This was what we had for our final dinner before we all left Taiwan. Cross Straits Club (known locally as CS Club) is a rather swanky place in the middle of Taipei.

Braised Shark Fin with Abalone

Braised Shark Fin with Abalone

I thought it was really good – everything was hidden underneath that piece of cabbage. Please, spare me your PETA rhetoric, I’m really not interested in being evangelized to when I’m not going to convert. smirk Shark fin tasted good in this dish. Full stop.

King Prawn in Superior Soup

King Prawn Pasta

This dish is quite misleadingly named. I’m sure the Chinese is more descriptive. It’s actually the best one of the night – a huge big head prawn in beurre blanc (very buttery!) paired with hand made pasta. Blew my mind.

Stewed Osso Buco with Burgundy Wine

Stewed Osso Buco with Burgundy Wine

Yup, what are we doing eating a Milanese dish in Taiwan? I don’t know but it was delicious! I loved how fork tender and juicy the osso buco was. There’s a lot of melt-in-your-mouth cartilage too.

Vegetables with Dried Scallop

Vegetables with Dried Scallop

This is some kind of crunchy root vegetable but deceptively some of the white bits are actually mushrooms. Nice surprise.

Steamed Fresh Fish with Tofu

Steamed Fresh Fish with Tofu

I love fish so this is a winning combination! I like the whole piece of tofu under the fish too, since we didn’t have rice, the tofu does a nice job in absorbing the flavors.

Xiao Long Bao

Xiao Long Bao

There are two pork xiao long bao and the odd one with prawn roe on the top is filled with truffles! I love the truffled xiao long bao, the earthy stock that came out when you piece the skin into your soup spoon was good.

Seasonal Fruit Platter

Beautiful Fruit Platter

A very nicely arranged selection of fruits. I like how CS Club portions their dishes individually, it’s thoughtful for them to think as a diner and make the appropriate cuts and slices to make your dining experience better too.

Sweetened Hashima with Crystal Sugar

Hashima with Crystal Sugar

This is also known as hasma, the dried fatty tissue near the fallopian tubes of frogs. It’s not frog sperm, contrary to popular belief, it’s the complete opposite. Tastes wonderful in a dessert.

Cross Straits Restaurant

Cross Straits Club also has a London style red telephone booth which they sealed up and filled with water and fish. I thought that made for a unique entrance feature. :)

My disastrous schedule malfunction, 1.3 million bill at the spa and other interesting stories from Ubud, Bali

Bali Padi Fields

This is mostly about the scheduling malfunction. I’m currently sitting in the airport in Bali alone coz of a series of unfortunate events. I realized too late that my Taipei trip overlapped with my Bali departure so it was decided that my better half would fly out first and I’ll go join her in Ubud when I came back from Taiwan.

I hadn’t realized that the ticket conditions prevented me from taking the return trip if I hadn’t shown up for the departure.

AirAsia Bali

Yup, the original ticket was on Malaysia Airlines, not a point-to-point airline like AirAsia or I wouldn’t have this problem.

My dear had bought us both tickets to Bali but since I was in Taiwan at the time, I had to buy another ticket from KL to Denpasar (cost me RM 432). I don’t have a problem with this, little did I know that since I was a “no show”, I revoked my rights to travel back on the return leg.

Bali Breakfast

I’ve been travelling quite frequently since I was a kid and never ran into problems like this until the downgrading of Malaysia Airlines (in the glory full service days, you could just about do anything). Maybe all you needed was a small rebooking fee, but with the cost saving measures by MAS, it’s now effectively a low-cost airline with restrictions. It’s definitely not a premium airline anymore.

Ngurah Rai Airport

I assumed that I could travel back on the return flight and didn’t think to do anything until my better half told me she couldn’t check in for me and I wasn’t listed. After talking to a distinctively unhelpful Khairul (“I’m the only Khairul in Customer Service“) in Malaysia Airlines, it turns out that he couldn’t help and I decided to just rebook my return flight using AirAsia.

I managed to get one slightly after my original flight for an additional IDR 1,512,350 – you need to pay in rupiah if you’re in Indonesia while booking online, it’s about RM 504.

Venezia Spa Ubud

This was very late into the night, we had just came back from Venezia Day Spa & Salon in Ubud where the rather misleading Honeymoon Package (IDR 607,000) is the price for one, not for two. At least my better half thought it was for the both of us, I had suspected that it’s just a name and it’s the price per person.

Venezia Massage Bali

It turns out that the total price was IDR 1,214,000 or IDR 1,358,699 with 12% tax of IDR 145,680. It’s still decent for a 5 hour treatment since 1.3 million rupiah is about MYR 452 and the important part was that she enjoyed herself. I didn’t mind the treatments too, I’m just not used to these kind of things – my first manicure and pedicure.

Million Dollar Spa Bill

Anyway, after realizing late into the night that my return flight wasn’t secure, I had to quickly book another ticket back on the rather unreliable hotel WiFi – it took me the better part of an hour before the credit card payment went though.

Bali Airport

I’m writing this now from Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali while awaiting for my flight – it’s been a long week with little sleep but it sure was fun though, certainly an interesting past few days. It was great, we needed the break and it made us all the more closer. :)

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.

Shanlinshi

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.

SunLinkSea

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)

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