Toushe, even unknown villages have their stories



(Reading time: 4 minutes)

On the last day on the shores of Sun Moon Lake we wanted one more experience as cyclists. When planning, we chose to explore the Toushe area, surprising our hostess because tourists don’t usually go there.

We rented bikes from the same rental shop as last time, and we even got “our” bikes (we recognized them by the numbers)… well, mountain bikes aren’t very popular here, so at least we didn’t have to adjust the seat again.

Journey towards Toushe was very stylish. You know those stories where the main character goes through a dark tunnel, an old wardrobe, falls into a hole, or crosses a body of water… only to appear in a different world and/or time? We experienced a similarly magical moment! We set off to the left of Ita Thao, followed the signs, suddenly a tunnel appeared in front of us around the bend, we drove through it and… Toushe. Not a long distance from Sun Moon Lake, yet so far away. Time flows differently here.

We descended 7 beautiful kilometers into the valley (about 3km before the tunnel + 4km after it), and I was absolutely certain that I didn’t want to cycle the same route uphill and that we would need to find an alternative way out.

Toushe Basin, as the area is called in English, used to be a lake, but with decreasing water levels it turned into a marsh. Now people cultivate crops on their small fertile fields here. It’s quiet, almost no people, no traffic, just one aggressive black dog.

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We rode among fields, houses, and altogether met about 3 people. Everyone was, of course, shocked by an unexpected tourist bustle.

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Of course, we also stumbled upon a small local temple here.

Toushe charmed us. There’s not so much to do here, really. Just a few houses, locals and lots of greenery around, but no one is in a hurry, no stress, nothing happens. It’s peaceful, calm, and quiet, and that was enough for us to be happy.

Finding our way out of the valley was easy. It led us back to the lake near the concrete structure of Xiangshan Visitor Centre (see Jungle bike trip), and since we had plenty of time, we rode the entire route around the lake just like the day before yesterday. I would’ve done anything to avoid that crazy 7km-long climb!

In general, the quality of the local bike paths is very good. Some are asphalt, others are made of wooden planks, maybe a bit narrow considering how often you need to dodge pedestrians who either don’t understand the bike bell or clumsily freeze instead of stepping aside. And some paths (but only rarely) are just absurd – stairs, even though the terrain isn’t so steep that they couldn’t build a continuous path.

Next up is the saga of the “puffies”.

Let me set the stage for you. In Ita Thao, on the first day, we stumbled upon a shop that advertised selling “puffies” (I called them Pikachuffies). They looked just like a delicious dessert from our favorite Korean restaurant in our country. So, it was necessary to compare their taste similarity.

On the first day, we were there around 6 PM – sold out and closed.

The second day around 4 PM – open, but sold out.

On the third day, we went shopping in the morning around 9:15 AM – please, who has a store open at this time?

And on the same third day (after returning from Toushe), we came for the fourth time, this time at 2:00 PM. Open, the lady shopkeeper standing in her position, after our order, she went to the adjacent room for a moment, where she rummaged through a shelf near the ground for two small packages and brought them to us. It was truly limited under-the-counter goods! But our patience and perseverance finally turned to be fruitful! True story.

And how did it taste?



Not as divine.

But we had to taste it.



  • Our hostess admitted that she had never been to Mt. Maolan in her entire life, so she was even more amazed by our trip to Toushe, especially by bike (we didn’t tell her that they wouldn’t be electric).
  • Having the same rented bike twice in a row is advantageous; during the first trip, I discovered a malfunctioning rear brake while descending hills, and I really didn’t expect it to be repaired by someone overnight, it’s good to have some certainties.
  • A big black aggressive dog jumped at us as we were passing through Toushe from behind a random corner, we pedaled a bit harder and got away, but if we hadn’t been on bikes…
  • The atmosphere in Toushe was almost medieval; the place gave me impression of a village where people spend their entire lives without ever leaving it.
  • Reactions of the local residents to two cyclists were generally positive and pleasant – waving, smiling, and nodding their heads.



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