Enjoy the beautiful Sun Moon Lake
Imagine an incredibly blue lake surrounded by mountains of the richest green topped by a hazy sunset of soothing oranges, reds and yellows. While you may not be alone in admiring the beautiful setting, there is a feeling of tranquility. If you can picture this, you will be close to understanding why Sun Moon Lake enjoys such widespread popularity. But there is more to this breathtaking setting than simply a great view.
Sun Moon Lake is the largest natural lake in Taiwan. The lake is named for its peculiar shape. The eastern side is round like the sun while the western side is shaped like a crescent moon. Where the two bodies of water meet you will find an island called Lalu. The island is small and off-limits to visitors as it is viewed as a sacred place. The island was once much larger and served as a home to many of the Shao people until it was deepened to support a hydroelectric power plant. Now only native Shao can visit the island in order to worship their ancestors. However any disappointment you may feel at not being allowed to get off the boat as you float past is quickly surpassed by the beauty of the surrounding mountains - an area that is very much available to tourists. From the boat you will a multitude of peaks steadily rising up dramatically into the sky until eventually they fade into the distance. If you are reasonably fit and properly prepared, these mountains will provide you with a truly memorable experience.
There are seven hiking trails available in the Sun Moon Lake Mountains. The majority of the trails are short, enjoyable and fairly easy; however it is unlikely that you will be able to do more than three trails in a day. If you are only staying for a day or so, you might choose the Hanbi Trail with its beautiful hotel and pier, the Dachuhu Lake Trail which takes you through a waterfowl sanctuary and the Tzuen Pagoda Trail which offers a great view of the lake and dancing fireflies during summer. Other hiking trails include the Mt Maolan Trail, the Songpolun Trail, the Shueiwatou Trail and the Totingai Trail. Other attractions in the area include the Wenwu Temple, the Peacock Garden, the Sun Moon Village (Idashao) and the Hsuankuan and Hsuan Tsang Temples. Many of these attractions feature either stunning architecture, quaint rural villages, intricate handcrafts or striking statues. The lake can also be swum in September when the cross-lake swimming event is held - however the distance across the lake is 3 000 meters and not very easy! If you are planning to visit Taiwan, you will find that Sun Moon Lake is easy to get to and incredibly beautiful. Take advantage of this countries stunning natural heritage and make sure that you spend at least a day here.