Sunday, May 04, 2014

Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village (九族文化村) - A Theme Park That was More than Just a Cultural Village @ Sun Moon Lake [Taiwan]

Before i physically stepped into the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village at Sun Moon Lake, i was honestly confused by all the information on the world wide web talking about an aboriginal village deep into the mountains that also has a European garden and an amusement park.

My first thought was" Ha? A bit of a stretch for a place named collectively as Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village (henceforth FACV) and it seemed lost in fulfilling its core duty to promote the aboriginal culture. Might likely be a boring place built by a conglomerate that has too much money to spend".

I was so wrong and you shall see in the following over fifty photographs of the place (trimmed from a few hundred if i may add); let's begin with yet another cable ride (known as Skyline) within the village which shall bring us to the "Amusement Isle" section.

There are two main entrances to the village and the one easiest for visitors not on a tour was via the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway (look HERE for more information). Upon disembarkation, the section nearest to the entrance is the "aboriginal villages" which we didn't manage to visit due to insufficient time!

We were pretty focused on what we wanted; the amusement park! You may find above a picture of the aboriginal villages that were seen from the skyline ride.

Despite the day being Taiwan's public holidays, the entire area looked deserted and we were secretly happy that we had made the right choice. Having said that, i am not in the right position to comment how good or bad the "aboriginal villages" is since i didn't even enter to check out what was in store for visitors.

Anyway, we were also glad to have the skyline bringing us to the amusement isle; if not, it would definitely be a long walk resulting in more muscle ache for the both of us! The whole area sprawled across 62 hectares; for comparison purposes, USS is only about 20 hectares.

Layout as above so that you can roughly gauge the expansiveness of the place. I would share another clearer map towards the end of this post even though that would only be in Chinese.

Unlike the cable cars for sun moon lake ropeway, the cars for the skyline were of a uniformed colour. The key differentiating feature was the teddy bear sticker covering the back side of each cable car.

Yes, it's once again the publicity stint for the teddy bear exhibition in the cultural village and likewise for the skyline, there was one human-sized teddy in every cabin!

The amusement park section!!!! The water ride seemed very exciting right? Wait till you see the video i took and be amazed by how fun it was!

From far, the phallic structure was a landmark denoting the position of the amusement isle and i was telling myself this would be one key attraction i must take to take fabulous aerial pictures of the surrounding mountains!

Frankly, i was literally hopping to the "UFO" with my heart filled with anticipated excitement.

And to find it closed for maintenance!!! :( super sad woah! But as i said before, Sun Moon Lake is a place i would revisit in the future and i guess a follow up blog entry (with inclusion of the "aboriginal villages") would take place (hopefully) in the next year or so.

Shopping and dining street - as you could see, there wasn't much crowd despite it being a national holiday and i am not complaining as it would mean a shorter waiting time for the other attractions i want to take!

That centerpiece painting depicted a scene of the cherry blossom season in FACV which was touted as a seasonal attraction in Sun Moon Lake. We missed it as the blossoming season for Taiwan is usually from January to at most March!

First up - the Maya Adventure (馬雅探險); Taiwan's first suspended roller coaster!

The structure did seem pretty dated to us and we were expecting it to be less of a thrill compared to the about-to-be-dismantled Battlestar Galactica in Universal Studios Singapore.

Boy was i wrong again! There were the usual corkscrews, 360-degree turns and rapid acceleration (4.5 G-Force) but what made my heart palpitate faster was the fact that there were sudden moments when i thought the whole structure would be giving way, drawing haunting references to the movie Final Destination! And it also started drizzling when the car i was in shot out of the sheltered facility!

Well, i did escape unscathed; albeit a bit shaken. Fun!

Had our lunch as it started pouring soon after. One of the worst meal i had in Taiwan as far as taste is concerned; how can deep fried chicken drumstick taste so bland?! Customer service, on the other hand, was damn impressive, as one can expect from most, if not all, all Taiwanese!

Time to wander again after about twenty minutes later. FACV started with only the "aboriginal villages" and the "European Palace Garden" themed areas in 1982 (yes, more than thirty years ago) and the amusement park was added only ten years later.

Out of nowhere, there were suddenly displays of aboriginal statues. Weird right although it contributed to a sense of surprise and non-conformity that i personally preferred; just like finding a pile of dog shit on the patch of green turf.

Guess they were the original structures built in 1982 when FACV first started and this was in fact a short distance away from one of the themed tribal villages.

European Palace Garden - a totally different atmosphere as we stepped in; one of relaxation highly regarded by the royalty in ancient European monarchies.

Tracks for the miniature train ride!

Ruru, the teddy bear, welcoming us to the garden with open arms. I am unsure if he / she would be a permanent fixture since i believe the teddy bear exhibition would likely be temporary.

Befitting its European theme, there was even a palace in the vicinity! I am unsure if it was a replica from some famous palaces in Europe although it might interest you to know that it is known as Ritz Palace.

Plastic / fibreglass copies of life-sized sheep dotted the open space, providing many photo opportunities for trigger happy individuals! The pavilion lookalike structure was only for show and has no step for you to get into the shelter.

View from the Ritz Palace - hints of Taiwanese aboriginal culture could in fact be seen from the patterns of the beautifully designed flower beds.

Roman style water fountain surrounded by lavender flowers! Across the lawn were the words "lavender d'amour"; French enthusiasts can help to translate what it means; if not, check out google translate.

This quaint little house, almost cartoon like, was located directly opposite the Ritz Palace. It housed a cafe, a retail outlet and served as the station for the miniature train.

We missed the train and didn't want to waste our precious time by waiting twenty minutes for it to complete a full loop! However, you may check out the above picture for a back-end picture of the miniature train.

Enough relaxation and it's time to go back to the amusement park for some adrenaline charged activities!

This must be constructed at a time when Star Wars / Star Treks were really popular.

Among all the attractions in FAVC, this "Space Race" ride (星際旅遊) had the longest queue and was the most disappointing! I expected a lot more than just three-dimensional video that was unrealistic and lame.

Aladdin Pavilion (阿拉丁廣場) - this would be a favourite for younger children.

Essentially, it was a huge warehouse with a lot of classical rides; i should have made full use of my time to check it out when it was raining cats and dogs an hour ago!

To rekindle our childhood, we joined the queue for "pirate ship"!

There were also retail shops, food and beverage outlets and even game stations. I still remember the big tiger i had to lug back from Genting Highlands; so, no games for us!

The 'Space Mountain' roller coaster ride in Disney theme parks was famed globally and we had to take this just to see if the Taiwan version was any good.

Okay only. I have never been to Disneyland so i could not compare but it's obviously similar to the indoor ride i had in the demolished Downtown East theme park; the one that brought riders to a pitch dark building.

This would be the gold mine adventure (金礦山探險); a water ride surrounded by these life-like stone pinnacles. Beware, being soaked is a guarantee and i would strongly recommend placing your items in the lockers and donning a disposable raincoat!

Don't have any raincoat with you? Buy one from the retail outlets at Aladdin Pavilion! Don't worry about the cost; unlike retail shops in Singapore's attractions, prices were pretty affordable in FACV with a raincoat costing a mere NT$30 (less than S$1.50)! 

Oh! Coming back to the gold mine adventure ride, it was as enjoyable as that amazing ride in Haw Par Villa at the time when admission was chargeable at $16 per adult. By the way, the ride is no longer there and admission is now free.

Time was 3.14pm and we only had a little over an hour to cover the rest of FACV before leaving for the ropeway which closed at 4.30pm. It didn't take us long to make the decision to abandon the idea of going through the humongous "aboriginal section"! 

Caribbean Splash was more important! 

When you search for blogs dated a year ago on FACV, you would come upon entries that talked of the "one piece" exhibition. Sadly, the popular Japanese manga was longer in the picture although there were still structures related to piracy. 

Faced with hostile civilian forces, your job as a pirate is to ensure you could take over the city and pillage it! Be assured though, you would definitely "win" the battle. Just sit back on your rickety boat and prepare for the absolutely enjoyable invasion!

There were casualties but it would never be YOU. 

The climb up the over 30-meter platform was slow although your mind would likely be with the natural scene of mountains half covered with mysterious fog on the charming island. A vortex would then spin your boat (in slow motion) till your back is facing a downward slope. 

Down you go! There would be another vortex shortly that would bring your boat to the right position. This is the point where you have to brace yourself for the final plunge! 

It would be fast and the force would be strong. Cover yourself well if you don't wish to get very soaked (getting wet is nonetheless still a given)! 

See! How not to get drenched!?!?!?!

It was so entertaining; a man next to me on the boat had continuously played it seven times! If not for the limited time i had, i would have sat on it for a few more rounds! 

Check out the above video i took!


On our way back to the Skyline Cable Station where we could take our bear bear cable back to Sun Moon Lake Ropeway. Time checked: 3.46pm.

Still got a bit of time to check out the teddy bear exhibition along the way! Anyway, my interest was piqued because of this Singapore fibreglass teddy bear! Notice the merlion and the Chinese characters translated as "i love the little red dot"!

Location map of the teddy bears in the theme park. Oops! Just realised from this map that the exhibition is till 20 April 2014! Not sure what else is in store after that...

Entrance to the teddy bear exhibition.

Frankly, i just took a glance and nothing really caught my fancy except for this exquisite looking bear with a forlorn expression that made me want to give her a loving hug! Her name is Snow Angel and i am sure she is expensive!

Photo opportunity time!

A new attraction is already slated for completion in 2014 / 2015 which means i have something to look forward to in the future; besides the nine aboriginal villages that i have yet to visit. 

Taking a picture with a stone-looking bear in the cable car. The unstoppable camera flashes he has to endure during this period must have been too much to bear! Haha.

Rode past the Mayan Adventure ride; i missed out the details for this! The roller coaster will attain a height of around 33 meters and run for a satisfying 740 meters! 

We left at the right time; it started drizzling again.

=====

Location
Near Sun Moon Lake.

Map of FACV
As above that would give you a better idea of how the themed areas are segregated.

The original map as above. Note that this is in Chinese.

Website
Check out the website for ticket prices and other information. You may also find the layout map in English, which would be very helpful for those who don't read Chinese. 

2 comments:

  1. great pics.. very clear not like the once we took haha, well I haven't think of that time that I'd be writing also a blog so I wasn't paying attention on the greatness of the photo just click and there you have it.lol . haha funny when we go there sun moon lake was also under maintenance. anyways great blog.. so precise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. many thanks for your kind words. :)

      Delete

Share This Post

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...