Thousand Island Lake 千島湖: Tea Time with a View
When you hear the name “Thousand Island Lake” you would probably expect some islands. Or at least a lake. Not so here. Though you won’t find any of the titular sights, you will still experience some amazing views which including endless rows of mountains, terraced tea fields, and cerulean water. Though there aren’t many activities at this destination, it’s still worth checking out for fans of scenic outposts and tea junkies. Check out more info after the jump.
Thousand Island Lake 千島湖 is located in the southern Shiding District of New Taipei City. It is quite close to Pinglin, and in fact you ride the same bus going to both destinations. If you’ve been to Pinglin before, you might see some familiar sights, such as copious amount of tea bushels and gorgeous green mountains. Like I’ve already mentioned, there are no islands or lakes here. The water is actually from the Heshi River and the mountains aren’t completely surrounded by water. At first glance, you certainly feel like you are looking at countless mountains springing forth from the sea. Thousand Island Lake certainly is a catchier name than “Heshi River and Surrounding Area.”
There aren’t too many establishments in the area. You will have to snake down a road and dodge cars in order to get the best views of the area. There are a few snack vendors and the main hub area has a quaint and expensive cafe. You should definitely eat before you come, or bring food with you. The main path is pretty straightforward as you just have to follow the road, but there are a few branching points where you can find some temples.
As you’re trekking down, you will undoubtedly notice rows and rows of tea. The Bagua Tea Fields 八卦茶園 are part of the surrounding area. You can easily access it when you get to the hub area with the cafe. Outside of the view, this is probably the primary attraction. While few people wanted to walk five kilometers through a mountain, many wanted to relax and drink some fresh tea. The tea field area has seemingly acres of tea and makes for some good pictures. You can also buy some tea, tofu ice cream, and a bit of food if you’re starving.
Though it’s easy to get to Thousand Island Lake via public transportation, it’s a bit hard to get out. You will notice that most people take their car or scooter here. If you come by foot, you can either hike all the way back up, or use a transportation service in the hub area that will take you to the closest bus stop (it costs 80NT to use).
Thousand Island Lake is a nice place to visit on a cool day. The view alone is worth making the journey, and you can drink tea as fresh as can be. What a win/win combination! Check out some photos from my visit.
Take the MRT to Xindian Station and transfer to the G12 Bus. Get off at Qiandaohu (Thousand Island Lake’s Chinese name, you may have to ask the bus driver to stop here). The G12 Bus only comes around every hour or so.