Sun Moon Lake is the largest lake in Taiwan; located in Nantou County – the only landlocked county in the entire territory. It is 96 miles away from Taipei and situated in the heart of Taiwan.
Asking why the lake’s name is Sun Moon Lake? It is simply because it was inspired by its own land and water formations. The “Sun” represents the eastern side of the lake which is round, while the western part is long and narrow like a crescent moon.
HOW TO GET THERE:
First thing, there are no trains going directly to Sun Moon Lake from Taipei. The closest major station is Taichung from where you will need to take a bus or taxi. Taichung is the birthplace of the Famous Pearl Milk Tea. I recommend to have a taste of it before leading to your target destination.
Take note that Taichung TRA (Taiwan Railways Administration) Station is different from Taichung High Speed Rail (HSR) Station but separate ticketing booths are both located in the Taipei Main Station. You can choose either of the two.
Direct buses are available from Taichung or Taipei but it is advisable to take a bus from Taichung to Puli (A township in Nantou County and consider as the geographic center of Taiwan) then transfer to a bus for the half hour ride to Sun Moon Lake. Others consider a tour package which includes transportation from Taichung, Lunch, Tour guide and Boar Cruise.
From Taichung City (台中), take Highway HW6 east to exit 29 in Puli. After exiting the highway, turn left onto route PH14. After passing the Puli Visitor Information Center (埔里遊客中心), turn right onto PH21. Route 21 and 21甲 circle around the lake. (Courtesy of guidetotaipei.com)
WHERE TO STAY AND EAT:
To avoid the crowds and get the cheaper rates, visit Sun Moon Lake during weekdays. Typically hotel room rates zoom up on Weekends including Friday night. There are lots of accommodation to choose from (Camping to Splurge type of hotel) in the area yet booking prior to arrival is always a good idea and convenient. Coffee Shops and Restaurants are available.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO:
1. Wenwu Temple
Wenwu Temple is the biggest temple located in the Northerly part of Sun Moon Lake.
The rear hall is dedicated to Confucius – a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher.
Visit also: Lungshan Temple
2. Lalu Island
Kept for Thao tribe who historically the inhabitants of the area when the island was still bigger.
Tourists are not allowed to visit the island and only reserved for aboriginal religious practices.
3. Ci-en Pagoda
A 46-meter tall Pagoda built by the Chiang Kai-shek in memory of his mother.
4. Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village
Consider as the largest outdoor museum in Taiwan and home of the Taiwanese aborigines. The best time to visit is during the Cherry Blossom season between the months of February and March.
5. Bike around the Lake
Rental ranges NT$200 to NT$1000 and Electric Bikes are available. The designated bike path around the lake has been recognized as one of the world’s top ten most breathtaking bike trails by CNNgo.
6. Sun Moon Lake Rope-way
NT$300 round trip pass from Sun Moon Lake to the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village. Customers to the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village can take the rope-way for free and no pass purchase is necessary.
Business Hours: 10:30AM – 4:00PM during weekdays; 10:00AM – 4:30PM during holidays and weekends.
Taiwan is not only about Taipei 101 and the fascinating Cherry Blossoms of Yangmingshan National Park. In Short, Taiwan can offer more than its major tourist draw – Taipei. Exploring and discovering its nearby cities and counties is definitely amazing and Nantou County is one place to prove it.
Did I mention that Dao Ming Si Mansion in the Phenomenal Meteor Garden is just kilometers away from Sun Moon Lake? Well, if you are a fan then I recommend you to check this one.
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