After a day of eating in Taichung, we headed to our next destination: Sun Moon Lake.
Sun Moon Lake:
Located in the mountainous region of Nantou County, Sun Moon Lake is Taiwan’s largest lake and is in the geographic center of Taiwan Island.
The name itself was inspired by the nature that surrounds it, with the east side round like the sun, and the west side long and slender like the moon.
There are a lot of different things for tourists to do when visiting the area, including Wenwu Temple, the aboriginal village of Ita Thao, and the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway. Each year, the Swimming Carnival of Sun Moon Lake is held, and swimmers from all over Taiwan come to join in the 3 km race across the lake. This is the only time that people are allowed to enter the water.
Biking to Sun Moon Lake:
We left our airbnb in Taichung pretty early in the morning, hopped on a two hour bus that took us to the Shueishe Visitor Center, and then got on another bus that took us to Ita Thao. It took 18 minutes and nine stops to get to the village, and we were picked up at the main bus station by the owners of our Airbnb.
After dropping off our bags, we walked back to the main town center and rented a couple of bikes to explore around the lake. This bike ride is one that will live in infamy – the roads in the village were fine, but once we started biking towards the temple, we had to ride on the main road.
The main road was extremely steep, and it was pretty scary trying to push our way up and down the hills while also avoiding getting hit by oncoming traffic. We eventually found an official biking path which made the trek a bit easier.
The ride along the bike path was steep, but we made frequent stops to take in the beauty of the lake.
Before the Japanese colonized in Taiwan, there were two separate temples on the lake, but eventually both were relocated and combined into one temple. Because Sun Moon Lake has become more popular with tourists, Wenwu Temple has been renovated to accommodate the crowds.
We parked our bikes in a nearby lot, and then walked up to the top of the temple where we got an awesome view of the entire lake. Unfortunately, the day was pretty foggy, and the water wasn’t as clear as we hoped it would be.
The temple itself was gorgeous, and there were so many intricate details around every corner. We walked through the three main halls, and marveled at the architecture and the different statues dedicated to various gods.
When You’re Tight on Cash, Nature is Always Free:
A small mistake we made at this point in our trip was not exchanging money before going to Sun Moon Lake. After renting our bikes and getting a snack at the temple, we knew we needed to pinch our pennies for dinner.
We didn’t get a chance to ride the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway, but we did walk down to the waterfront, biked a little more along the paved path, and continued to take in our surroundings. After a few hours, we picked up dinner at 7-11, headed back to our Airbnb and settled in for the night.
Want to Visit Sun Moon Lake?
Bus Schedule: You can only get to Sun Moon Lake by bus or car. You can find the bus routes HERE.