Sun Moon Lake is the Largest body of water in Taiwan. It’s a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life for both locals and travelers. I recently visited SML on my two weeks tour of Taiwan. In this post, I share a quick Sun Moon Lake travel guide for anyone who is thinking about visiting this gem in central Taiwan!
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How to get in
The best way to get to Sun Moon Lake is by bus as there are no trains that goes there directly. From Taichung, get on the Nan-tou bus (南投客運) at Taichung Kan-Cheng Station (干城站). You can purchase the ticket on the day at the ticketing booth but it may be wise to book ahead of time. The ticket cost 200 NTD one way and the ride to Sun Moon Lake is about 90 minutes.
If you are coming from Taipei, you can take the GuoGuang Bus (國光客運) that runs four times daily from Taipei West Station.
The buses will drop people off at the Shuieshe visitor centre, which is on the north side of the lake. Be careful to check where your hotel is as the lake is huge. If your accommodation is on the south side of the river, you may have to take a taxi or get on a local bus (which stops running after 5:30 p.m)
What to do in Sun Moon Lake
Hike along the walking trails
There are many easy trails along the river for you to take nice strolls. Take in the fresh air and beautiful view as you walk along. If you get tired, you can sit on one of the benches and relax a little.
Alternatively, biking along the banks is very popular here. You can see many bike rental shops. There are even tandem bikes! I really wanted to get on one of those but my boyfriend was not too down. Are tandem bikes lame or cool? Whatcha think? Let me know in the comments!
Go paddle boarding
I tried paddle boarding for the first time in SML and it was so fun! You can choose to do it either during early morning for sunrise or late afternoon for sunset. Either option is beautiful. We did the sunset option and it was super peaceful to be standing on the still water…Except for my boyfriend who fell in the water about 99 times. I definitely got a good laugh. Tall people and their balance issues lol.
Get on a boat
Just another way to see the lake. If you are a boat person, there are no shortage of boat tour options at Sun Moon Lake.
Visit Wenwu Temple文武廟
Wenwu Temple honours the Civil Saint of Confucius, and the Military Saint of Guangong and more. Located on the north side of Sun Moon Lake, it’s totally huge. It has long been a center of faith for the locals. The ground is full of intricate and fascinating details!
What to eat in Sun Moon Lake
To be honest, you won’t find the best food in Taiwan at Sun Moon Lake. On our first day, we tried our luck searching on our own for food and was not too satisfied with what we found. After asking our B&B host, he told us that the best restaurant in town is called “Chuang Yi Xiao Chi” 创意小吃, located right across the street from our accommodation! (more on where that was below). So after a disappointing lunch, we took the advice and headed to this restaurant, hoping for a good dinner. And….Yes it was a winner! The food was quite tasty (not amazing but pretty good. I’m quite picky lol).
Try the local specialty “President Fish”/Aruzay fish. Aruzay breeds extensively in the water at Sun Moon Lake. It got named President Fish after the former president Chiang Kai-Shek visited SML and greatly enjoyed the fish dish he was presented. You can find this dish in almost any restaurant.
Braised pork feet is also a very popular dish. If you’ve never had pork feet before, you are missing out! So juicy and melts in your mouth when cooked just right. 创意小吃 nailed this one I must say!
Where to stay in Sun Moon Lake
Just a short walk away from Shuieshe Visitor Centre, Wu Ju Su is a very homey B&B ran by a local family. Their rooms are themed and cutely decorated. The owners are very helpful and friendly when it comes to any questions. They also provide free breakfast coupons for visitors to Mos Burger near by. And as mentioned, it’s right across the street from “the best restaurant in town”, according to our adorable host at least :P.
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Book A Flight: Find the cheapest flights on Skyscanner, my go-to search engine.
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Read up on the best advice: Love a good old fashion guide book. Suggested reading: Lonely Planet: Taiwan Travel Guide
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