Sun Moon Lake is the national pride of Taiwan, with hotels and bed-and-breakfast houses scattered all over the shoreline. It is believed that the name comes from the visual appearance of the lake, with the east part of the lake resembling the sun while the west resembles the moon. In the middle of the lake is Lalu Island, which is holy to the Thao tribe — native folks to the area. Legend has it that the Thao hunters were chasing a white deer that led them to the lake.
“We traveled for about four hours from taipei, driving on mountainous, serpentine roads that took us up and down the lush, green hills”
Aside from the history and culture of the location, one is simply struck by the beauty of the lake, irrespective of the time of the day; due to the relatively humid climate, the Sun Moon Lake is often covered in a layer of mist, giving the whole area an eerie sense and appearance. There are many attractions around the lake, which include a cable car that hangs over 1,000 metres in between the mountain tops, providing riders one of the most beautiful views on the island of Taiwan. Another exciting fact is that there are plenty of small shops where visitors can buy gifts and other useful items before they head out of the area. What we liked the most was the Xiangshan Visitor’s Centre, which is an architectural marvel which could be described as a contemporary building that effortlessly blends into the nature that surrounds it. The centre offers visitors a breathtaking view of the lake while one casually enjoys their coffee, or purchases something from the gift shop, or even entertains himself by watching an educational video, which showcases the area and its heritage.
One of the biggest impressions we were left with was how dreamy the Sun Moon Lake was. After speaking to a few locals, we found out that many couples come to get married or spend their holidays together. The views one could get at the hotels were quite spectacular, which can be sweetened up by a complimentary morning lake tour offered by most of the hotels. The tour itself is a great experience as it involves people walking around the lake while the tour guide passionately tells the story of the lake and the Thao tribe that had initially settled in the area and brought people to the shores of this natural marvel. Additionally, a boat tour around the lake is available, where one gets to experience the calm waters of this mountain lake.
“the calm waters, fresh air, beautiful buildings and genuinely kind people are all that travellers need when visiting a new place”
In the end, Sun Moon Lake left a beautiful imprint on us and we cannot wait to go back there and experience it all over again. Apart from being exceptionally clean and safe, the lake is, first of all, a tranquil experience that many of the city folk seek. The calm waters, fresh air, beautiful buildings and genuinely kind people are all travellers need when visiting a new and unfamiliar place. All in all, if you are looking for an experience to let your mind wander and body be at peace, Sun Moon Lake is definitely a place to visit.