Sun Moon Lake

The largest freshwater body in Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake is a beautiful, picturesque mountain lake that stands at 2,454 feet (748 meters) above sea level. Located in central Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake has long been inhabited by groups of Taiwanese aboriginals, most notably the Thao tribe, who have been in the area for at least a century. Its name derives from its shape; whereas the east of the lake is rounded like a sun, the west resembles a long, crescent moon, separated in the middle by a tiny island called Lalu. The area is famous for its local handicrafts, fresh seafood, Aboriginal cuisine, and Assam tea - originally brought to Taiwan from India during the Japanese occupation.

Despite its elevation, Sun Moon Lake is humid year-round; nonetheless, visitors should note that the lake is particularly crowded with tourists on weekends and holidays.

Experiences

A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.

Boat Tour

Tour the lake on a private boat, beginning at Shueishe Wharf, one of the four major piers at the lake. On a clear day, the deep waters of Sun Moon Lake act as a pane of smooth glass, reflecting everything for miles.

Stop at Lalu island at the center of the lake, home to the ancestors of the Thao people. Originally named Lalu, which means “Lake Island” in Thao, the name was changed to Guanghua or “Glorious China” during Chiang Kai-shek’s rule. However, in 1999, the Taiwanese government changed the name back to the original Lalu in order to show greater respect and political awareness to the Thao people.

Ci En Pagoda

Visit the Ci En Pagoda, which sits atop the Shabalan mountain. Completed in 1971, the pagoda was built by Chiang Kai-shek in memory of his mother, and the building in front of the pagoda was used by Chiang as a rest house during the summers.

Maolan Trail

Hike the Maolan Trail, a 2.85-mile (4.6 kilometer) hillside path that takes you through tea plantations. Ascend to the peak for excellent views of Mount Jiji and the Second Jiofen Mountain. At 3,346 feet (1,019 kilometers) above sea level, this peak is the best place for a beautiful sunrise view of the area; on a clear morning, you may even see as far as Puli, among a sea of clouds and lingering mountain mists.

Shuanglong Waterfall

Bicycle and/or hike to the Shuanglong (“Twin Dragons”) Waterfall, located northeast of the Seshui community. Hinged on a steep cliff, the waterfall’s upper and lower fall look like two dragons in the sky, hence the name. As you make your way towards the waterfall, you will pass by beautiful terraced fields, plum trees and a suspension bridge. Upon reaching the waterfall, swim in its cool, refreshing waters.

Sun Moon Lake Ropeway

For a bird's-eye view of the surrounding waters and mountains, head to Sun Moon Lake Ropeway. Ride in a cable car to the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village (FACV), and on your way up, marvel at the placid aquamarine waves and the thickly forested, jagged slopes.

Tea Factory Visit

Drive to a local tea factory and see how tea is cultivated in this region. The Formosa Black Tea is a regional specialty, cultivated by crossing existing tea leaves native to Taiwan with Assam tea from India. Because of its high elevation, the Sun Moon Lake area soon became the center for black tea production in Taiwan. Enjoy a private tour of the facilities with one of the factory executives, followed by a tea tasting.

Wenwu Temple

Built in 1938, Wenwu Temple is a large, imposing structure on the northern bank of Sun Moon Lake. A large compound of golden-roofed buildings, Wenwu Temple is an excellent vantage point with sweeping views of the surrounding lake and mountains, as well as a tranquil retreat from the everyday bustle of the world.

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