We started the day early as we knew time was not on our side; it was winter (December), days were short and public transportation was practically non-existent after 6pm. We had one day to spend at Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village (九族文化村) and the kids were looking forward to a fun day at the amusement park. As expected, there were no complaints when we woke them up early to catch the first ferry from Shuishe Pier (水社碼頭) to Ita Thao Pier (伊達紹碼頭).
As far as I know, there are two ways to get to the culture village. You can either drive up the mountains or take a cable car from Ita Thao. We chose the latter as we didn’t have a car. The cable car station is about 10 minutes of leisure walk from Ita Thao pier, including a scenic broadwalk that skirts around the lake.
As you can see from the map below, the Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village is really a huge place. The cable car from Ita Thao will bring you to the top half of the village, where the cultural show and artifacts are. From the entrance, you can either take a foot path to the lower half to the amusement rides, or take an internal cable car ride. The admission cost includes the internal cable car ride, but not the one from Ita Thao.
Since we were new to the place (and thus didn’t know where to start), we instinctively followed the local Taiwanese students who immediately zoomed into the internal cable car station to the lower half. I am glad we did that cos shortly after we reached the base, it started pouring and we had to take shelter in the Aladdin Plaza (an indoor amusement park). Well, at least there were enough rides / activities to keep the kids occupied for a couple of hours while we waited for the rain to stop. 😉
We barely had enough time to explore the place and it was almost time to go. It’s not going to be funny if we miss the last ferry. ;(
Since we took the internal cable car when we arrived, we decided to take the footpath back to the main cable car station instead. The walk up the slope was not as bad as I had expected. I think we took about 45 minutes of strolling, with some rest stops. You will see some souvenir shops, handicraft workshops and of course the cultural show performance along the way. We were lucky to catch the last few minutes of cultural show before we bid farewell to the village.
Our original plan was to spend some time shopping at Ita Thao after Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village. But the rain caused some delay and we didn’t have much time to walk around the area as we had to catch the last ferry back to Shuishe Pier at 6pm. It was rather unfortunate that the sky had to open up on this day; a day that the kids were very much looking forward to. We didn’t really explore the park, I must say. But I am glad the kids did have some fun at the Aladdin Plaza.
Along the way back to the pier, we spotted some food stalls (what else? ) and everyone bought a wild boar (山猪) sausage each. Me? I had my favourite tea-leaves egg. 😉
Shortly after we departed Ita Thao Pier, something interesting (or rather scary) happened. The ferry that we took suddenly slowed down to a crawling speed as there was a change in weather that resulted in a transient thick fog. The visibility was barely 2 metres and according to the captain, this phenomenon happens about twice a year and it’s not predictable. So what was supposed to be a short 30 minutes ride turned out to be more than 1 hour but at least we reached our hotel safely. 😉
Useful Information – Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village:
- Village 09:00-17:00 hrs daily
- Cable car (weekdays) 10:30-16:00 hrs
- Cable car (weekends) 10:00-16:30 hrs
- Take ferry to Ita Thao Pier and follow the signage to Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village. The general direction is towards your left once you left the pier.
- Alternatively, you can take the Round-the-lake bus and alight at Cable Car station stop (纜車站)