Together with Taroko Gorge and Kenting National park, Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) is one of the biggest tourist destinations in Taiwan, but it was among the last places I visited during my stay in Taiwan. Why? Because every time I wanted to go, it would rain. When I was staying in Taishan with relatives, it once rained nonstop for 15 days. I’m not sure if I’ve gone two weeks without seeing the sun before (this was a record for Taipei, too, 15 days of constant rain). But once that nasty weather finally cleared up, the weatherman predicted sunny weather, I finally set off for the Sun Moon Lake, hoping to see some great sights!
Sunny weather weather my ass. Immediately upon arriving at Sun Moon Lake, I encountered a thick blanket of fog, severely limiting visibility and shrouding the entire view in white:
Scenery photos of Alishan, with the fog clearing up:
Wenwu Temple (文武廟): a large temple on the northern side of the lake. Nice views. Also, aboriginal music.
Right near Wenwu, which is up on a hill, there’s a path down to the shoreline – the Steps of the Year trail. 366 steps, one for every day of the year:
There’s a cable car station, taking visitors to the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village (九族文化村)- a theme park centered around indigenous culture. I considered visiting, but read that it was aimed more at small children.
Ita Thou (伊達邵) village: one of indigenous tribes of Taiwan, they settled right on Sun Moon Lake, and have prospered as the lake has become a gigantic tourist attraction (mostly visitors from mainland China). Lots of shops here, for food, aboriginal clothing, and other… trinkets.
Xuanguang Temple (玄光寺): a temple very popular with the mainland Chinese tourists, I’m not entirely sure why. They lined up (very surprising) to take pictures with a stone tablet inscribed with the name of Sun Moon Lake.
Not sure why, since there’s a ton of other stone tablets around, and the mainland Chinese tourists don’t seem to be interested in any of those.
Towards the south of the lake, I rode along the Yetan bikeway – a trail through the forest. But annoyingly, many parts of the bikeway were quite steep, making it quite dangerous to bike on the moss-covered path.