Sun Moon Lake is not only the largest body of fresh water in Taiwan, but it’s also one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions. One of 13 National Scenic Areas in the country, it really is one of those magnificent places that you have to visit in order to really feel its grand presence.
Pictures don’t always do it justice, as I soon found out.
Most images I saw of Sun Moon Lake prior to my visit were over edited and made the area look incredibly vibrant, with majestic looking skies and iridescent waters. However, although the vast expanse of the lake and its surrounding hiking and biking trails are impressive, it’s mostly covered with a hovering mist that makes any kind of sharp, detailed and vivid photography almost impossible. However, I tried to snap the best views possible.
From hues of white, blue, grey and green, Sun Moon Lake attempted to project a spectrum of colours through the dominating, hazy sheen that clouded it.
Wandering around the outskirts of the lake, ferrying between smaller islands, hiking the many steps up to the Ci-En Pagoda, rambling within some of the many green forest spaces and ending the day with a cable car trip to get the ultimate birds-eye view, a day trip here is enough to sample the geography of this national treasure.
Personally, I see it as a ‘once is enough’ opportunity, but the area has plenty of scenic view hotels, should you wish to make the most of your time here. There are also other ‘attractions’ including the Formosa Aborigine Cultural Village and a Butterfly Garden and Museum but, in all honesty, I just wanted the fresh air and to be at one with nature.
I guess when it comes to capturing the memories though, you just have to get lucky.
How to Get to Sun Moon Lake:
The easiest route from Taipei to Sun Moon Lake is to take an HSR (high-speed) train to Taichung HSR Station. This takes around one hour, after which you can board a Nantou bus just outside of Taichung HSR Station that takes you directly to Sun Moon Lake.
This bus takes approximately 1.5 hours.
If you are already staying in Taichung City, check with your hotel, guesthouse or hostel to see where the nearest official stop is where the direct bus will pick up passengers. One of the main bus stops is outside Taichung Railway Station.
Sun Moon Lake Tickets and Entry:
You can purchase a one day pass at the Shueishe Visitor Centre (where the bus will drop you off) that gives you access to boat rides around key hot spots. This ticket costs 300 Taiwanese Dollars (£7 / $11) but does not include the cost of the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway cable car, which is $250 (£5/$8) Taiwanese Dollars for a return ride.
A Nantou shuttle bus service operates along part of the 37km route around Sun Moon Lake, from 6:30 am – 18:00 pm.
A one day pass costs 80 Taiwanese Dollars (£1.60 / $2.70)