What to see in Sun Moon Lake (things to do):
We are not really fans of Sun Moon Lake, but it is the favorite place to visit for the Taiwanese. The lake is very beautiful and there are a couple of temples that we love... but the truth is that the rest is all very touristy and not very unique either. In any case, it is on the list of must-sees in the country so here is our ranking of the best things to see and do in Sun Moon Lake:
- Ci'en Pagoda: it is best to go first thing in the morning, just when they open (9am), do the nice little trail that leads to this temple and go up to the top floor. The reward: the best views of the lake.
- Wenhu Temple: a large temple at the entrance to the lake. We love going up to the upper floors to see the views of the lake with the traditional red rooftops in front. Below the temple, towards the lake is the "Year of Steps" a curious staircase that goes down to the shore and that we also love.
- Dine at the Ita Thao Night Market: within the touristy that is all of Sun Moon Lake, the night market in Ita Thao is the most authentic in the area. Do not forget to try the mochis for dessert!
- Do the bike trail from Xiangshan to Shuishe. Some people go all the way around the lake, but the truth is that the quietest (car-free) and most scenic area is the one between Xiangshan and Shuishe. Right there you can rent bicycles.
- Eating at Shuishe overlooking the lake: Shuishe is a bit more touristy than Ita Thao, but we love their cafes overlooking the lake.
- Formosa Aboriginal Cultural Village: it is an amusement park that the little ones especially like. Especially fun in summer because there are attractions that get wet.
- Nine Frogs Stack: a small trail on the shores of the lake.
- Take the Ropeway: Taiwanese love it, but the truth is, we don't quite understand it. The queues are endless, the price is super expensive and the views are not wonderful... we only recommend taking it if you want to spend the day at the Formosa Aboriginal Cultural Village (it is included in the ticket).
- Crossing the lake by boat: another of the favorites for Taiwanese people, these little ferries that cross from one town to another, but once again... we don't see the fun. It is slow, boring, the view is no better than from other points and you can always get from one side to the other by car or bike...
- Xuanguang Temple: if you go with your own car, a stop at this beautiful temple on the lake is worth a visit. The view is very beautiful and you will see Lalu Island, which is the sacred island of the lake.