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We were told that the view of Sun Moon Lake and the surrounding mountains from the top of Ci En Pagoda about 1000 meters above sea level would be breathtaking. We did not get to enjoy that view. Instead we felt like we were in paradise in the clouds - that celestial feeling that not many tourists get to experience.
Chiang Kai Shek had this pagoda built in memory of his mother. The way up to the Pagoda from the road around Sun Moon Lake was to hike up a well-developed trail for casual walkers. There was no direct access for vehicles and this was a great blessing for otherwise the Pagoda would be flooded with busloads of tourists on package tours. If you drive, you have to park your car at a carpark halfway up and walk the rest of the way.
The visit to Ci En Pagoda was one of the best decision made on our trip because our enjoyment of nature and the beauty of the Pagoda was not spoiled by crowds of people polluting the peaceful environment with their loud voices.