I know… When the best thing you can do at a place is to sit under a tree and read a book, it is probably a good time to consider moving on to the next destination.
And that’s precisely what we were going to do in Tainan.
Yet, on our way to the bus terminal, we found a charming boutique hotel available at a seriously good price, so we decided to stay on just to check it out.
Also, Jo found an obscure tourism pamphlet that was promoting a place called “Moon World” (草山月世界) that boasts “eerie moonscapes” and comes with some blurry/pixelated pictures of what it described as the “best sunrises in the world”.
Having seen dozens of over-promising tourism pamphlets before, I was understandably skeptical, but since we had a place for the night, nothing more to do for the day AND friends who were willing to share a cab, I thought “what the hell, we’ll go investigate this obscure attraction” (we couldn’t find any information about it on Wikitravel).
What’s the worst that could happen, right?
It turns out we had to leave at 3am in the morning in order to catch the sunrise at Moon World.
And that’s not even remotely close to the worst thing that did happen.
We booked a taxi driver for five hours through the night so that he could bring us there and back. The first thing that he asked when we got onto the cab was, “What the hell are you guys planning to do in that god-forsaken place???” or something to that effect.
Not a good start.
And so, we were driven for an hour until we reached a reeaaaaaally foggy road with thick vegetation on both sides at 4am in the morning. I kid you not, it looked like the set of a horror movie. I was half expecting a pontianak to burst out of the treeline at any moment.
By now, Jo was progressively getting grumpier because the cabbie kept insisting that “This is all there is to it! There are only chicken farms (that are not open at 4am) in 月世界”.
She had seen a pamphlet and she was not going to be convinced otherwise.
Eventually, we reached the end of the road and there it was…. more foggy road with vegetation and chicken farms on both sides!
At this point in time, we managed to pique the cab driver’s curiosity enough that he started radio-ing all his fellow drivers to ask about this mysterious “Moon World” with the crazy-beautiful sunrises.
He managed to get one positive reply. Apparently, there are two “月世界”s in Tainan, and of COURSE we were at the wrong one. The one we were looking for was in the village of Er Liao (二寮), which was two hours drive away.
It should have been warning sign #1000000000000000 when only one driver out of the entire network heard about it.
Even though two hours meant we would miss the start of the sunrise, we decided to push on anyway. Strangely enough, we had the cabbie with us this time round. He had been driving for two hours and damn if he was going to miss getting us to where we want to go.
He sped through the highway and after four u-turns and stopping five times to ask for directions, we managed to reach our destination at 7am, just before the sunrise.
There we have it: