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Sun Moon Lake

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Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake (National Scenic Area) (日月潭 (國家風景區); rìyuètán) [2]) is in Nantou County of Taiwan.


Nestled at 760 meters, this lake is famous for its clear, sparkling blue water set against a picturesque mountain backdrop. This is the largest lake in Taiwan and a traditional spot for newlywed couples to take their honeymoon. It has also been a center of aboriginal life for thousands of years, with aborignal people involved in its tourist industry since the 1930s.

When to Visit[edit]

Tourists descend on Sun Moon Lake over the weekends, and hotel room rates zoom up on Friday and Saturday nights. Visit during a weekday if you want to avoid crowds and get the best deals.

During the Mid-Autumn Festival, Sun Moon Lake is the site of a massive swim -- more than one hundred swimmers plunge into the lake to swim 3KM across. Join the fun if you wish.

Get in[edit]

No trains go directly to Sun Moon Lake; the closest major station is Taichung, from where you will need to take a bus or taxi. Some direct buses are available from Taichung or Taipei, but often it is more convenient to take a bus from Taichung to Puli, then transfer buses for the half hour ride to Sun Moon Lake.

WARNING: If arriving by bus you will most likely enter from the north side of the lake and be dropped at the Shueishe pier, however some accommodation is located at the opposite side of the lake over 10km away. The local bus around the Lake stops at 5:30pm so you will be forced to walk or take a taxi. The taxi drivers are wise to this situation so they will not use a meter and charge a flat rate of NT$500. So best get there before 5pm!

  • Bus From Taipei

1. Green Transit Bus (Feng Jung Bus)   Running daily from Taipei MRT ZhongXiao FuXing Station (Taipei East Area, near SOGO department store, no 274, Fuxing east rd, ) and Sun Moon Lake. For timetable and other details, please contact + 886 2 27522988 (Taipei), or + 886 49 2990407 (Puli)

2. GuoGuang Bus (國光客運, formerly TaiChi Bus)[3]   Four buses run daily from Taipei West Station (near Taipei Train Station) to Sun Moon Lake. +866 2 23119893 (Taipei), or + 886 49 2990407 (Puli). Taipei West Station is accessible underground directly from MRT Taipei Main Station since it is on the other side of a large road.

  • Bus From Taichung

1. Nan-Tou Bus (南投客運)[4] Running daily from Taichung Kan-Cheng Station (干城站) at Shuangshi Road (雙十路, near the railway station) to High Speed Rail Taichung Station to Puli and then to Sun Moon Lake for NT$200 one way (and NT$340 both ways). The whole trip takes about 90 mins.

The easiest way to catch this bus is from the Taichung High Speed Rail Station, which is different from Taichung station. Exit 5 from the HSR station takes you straight into the bus station. There is a tourist information counter, and a counter selling tickets for the Nan-Tou bus. They speak a little English - enough to get to the right place.

To get to the ticketing store in Taichung (called 台中干城站), after exiting Taichung Station (台中車站), cross the main road and turn right. Walk along the main road (建國路 Jiàn guó lù)to Section 1 Shuangshi Road (雙十路一段) and continue along Section 1 Shuangshi Road. After crossing two traffic lights, the bus company's ticketing store is less than 50m away (on your left side). Opposite the bus company's ticketing store is a Taiwanese military store called Military City. The whole walk takes about 10-15mins, a total of about 450m away from Taichung Station.

The company sells a Sun Moon Lake coupon set at NT$680 which is worthwhile. It consists of 7 different coupons: a ticket between Taichung to Puli, between Puli to Sun Moon Lake, a round the lake boat tour, a round trip cable car ticket, a round the lake one day bus pass, one way ticket between Shuishe and Xiangshan and of course a direct one way ticket between Taichung to Sun Moon Lake. The bus drops you off outside Shuishe Visitor Centre and hotels are easily found along that street. For timetable and other details, please contact +886 49 2984031 (Puli)

2. Renyou Bus (仁友客運) has less frequent departures from Liouchuan East Road (柳川東路) near the railway station for NT$200 one-way and NT$350 for a return ticket.

3. GuoGuang buses from Taipei stop over in Chaoma station in Taichung.

  • Bus From Alishan

There are two buses a day from Alishan to Sun Moon Lake at 13:00 and 14:00. The cost is NT$336 and travels through the mountains. It can take upto 3.5hrs depending on conditions, road works etc. To catch the bus looking at the 7 eleven to the left there is a bench against the bank with a sign with chinese writing on it (you should be able to make out $350 etc). Wait here and look for a white bus with 20 seat capacity that will stop outside the 7 eleven. You need to buy your ticket the same day at 9am in the restaurant at the left of the 7/11.

  • Departing from Sun Moon Lake

There is a company with hourly bus service that stops directly at the Taichung high speed rail station - great if you're in a hurry to get back to Taipei. Tickets for this and most other buses are sold at the Sun Moon Lake Visitor's Center in Yuchich.

The last bus to Puli departs at 7:30pm, from where you can transit to a bus to Taichung. Buses are often very full at the end of the day, so prepare to stand or share a taxi with other travelers.

Those in a hurry can also take a taxi from either Sun Moon Lake or Puli to Taizhong. Cost is around NT$1500 from Puli or NT$2000 from Sun Moon Lake.

NOTE: From October 2012 to November 2013, there were no buses going directly from Sun Moon Lake to Alishan due to typhoon damage to the road. Travelers needed to go back to Taichung, the Chiayi, then bus to Alishan which would take 10 hours, or spend NT$4000 for a taxi to squeeze through the damaged road. From November 2013 on, however, there is a bus directly from Sun Moon Lake to alishan everyday, at 8am and 9am

Get around[edit]

You can get around by bus, car, scooter, bike or boat. A loop road more or less circles around the lake, more or less, although you'll need to get off the road to view the lake. The most direct way from one side of the lake to another is by boat.

See[edit][add listing]

Wenwu Temple
  • Wenwu Temple (文武廟) - The biggest temple on the Northern bank of the lake.
  • Ita Thao (伊達邵)- The village of the Thao Aborigines, and also called Dehua village (德化社).
  • Lalu Island (拉魯島) - In the middle of the lake. Lalu (lit. "Lake Island") is the name the Thao tribe, the original inhabitants of the area, gave to this sacred land, though it was changed to Guanghua (光華 or "Glorious China") during Chiang Kai-shek's rule of Taiwan. After 1999's September 21st earthquake the Taiwanese government, attempting to show greater respect and political awareness towards the Thao, reverted the island's name back to its original Lalu.
  • Ci-en Pagoda (慈恩塔) - The Chinese style pagoda is 46 meters tall. It was built by the Chiang Kai-shek in memory of his mother. It was completed in 1971 and sits on the hill southeast of the lake, somewhat close to Ita Thao.

Do[edit][add listing]

Tour Boats
  • Take a boat tour around the lake. Most tours are a couple hours long and visit the above locations. There are many different ferry companies. Buy direct from the counter at Shuishe Visitor Centre, it's NT$100 per person (May 2015), and let you hop on and off at the 3 locations, boats are operated by people in blue vests. There are licensed touts selling you tickets for NT$300 per person too from their respective companies (orange vests). If you sleep in the accommodation around the lake, they easily give that ticket as a complimentary. Car parking should be free when buying a boat ticket at the same time.
  • Rent a bike and travel the bikeway that starts close to the Shuishe Visitor Center. You do not need an electric bike for this gentle climb, but there are a lot of pedestrians and bikers that travel this popular path. Facing the Shuishe Vistor Centre, walk left downhill for about 20m and you'll see shops offering bikes at NT100 a day, cheaper than the shops next to the biking trail which charge by the hour.
  • Bike around the lake. It is about 30km with hills and will take 4-5 hours with stops at few of the attractions along the way. Ensure that you get a multi gear bike because you will be doing a few steep uphill cycle. Giant Bikes has a rental station under the Shuishe Visitor center. They have well-maintained bikes and the staff will give you a good rundown of the trip. However, they are probably on the expensive side of the operators with bikes rental starting from NT$200-NT$1000 (for high end road bike) for the first hour then all are NT$200 for each extra hour. If you complete the 30KM, they will present you with a laminated certificate of completion (with a photo of you) which makes for a cool souvenir. Most of the ride is on road, along side cars, trucks and tourist buses so weekday morning is the best time to cycle.
  • Take the official bus from taiwan tourism and go up to the paper dome and formosa aboriginal village
  • Take the cable car over looking the lake. It is NT$300 return and on a good day has stunning views of the lake with the trip taking about 7 minutes each way. Midweek in late March there was no real waiting to getting on the cable car however in peak times apparently the wait can be hours.
  • Paragliding (客路埔里無動力飛行體驗). Nantou county surrounding Sun Moon Lake is popular for paragliding.
  • Hike up Mt Maolan for sunrise or a good view of the lake. Along the way, you can see tea plantations. The hike is mostly flat on paved road and then steeper at the last 10 minutes. It takes 1.5 hour. Search "7QM2VW95+33" on Google Maps for the location of the trail head.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Aboriginal Handicrafts - mostly made out of wood or bamboo - are sold. In the Ita Thao village, many shops are aboriginal owned.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Jin Men Ah Ma Cha Ye Dan (金门阿么茶叶蛋) - Famous tea braised egg available at Xuan Guang Si pier.
  • Shou Gong Xian Rou (手工鮮肉) - Local peppered bacon meat that can be found at several restaurants. Considered a specialty of the aboriginal tribes that inhabit Sun Moon Lake
  • Shaw tribe traditional food - Available at Shui She Pier.
  • eat beef noodle opposite ming ren hotel.
  • Starbucks - A surprising find, but hugely popular with young visiting Chinese students so is usually pretty full. A better option if it's a decent cappuccino you're looking for together with great views of the lake, is the quieter Sun Moon Cafe just down the hill on the left.
  • Mos Burger - The Japanese burger chain has a outlet here on the second floor of the visitor's center where the main bus to Taichung begins and ends.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

The street of Zhōngshān lù (中山路) along the Sun Moon Lake Visitor Centre (日月潭水社游客中心) has lots of budget to mid range hotels. Depending on the time of year that you visit, you will be charged differently. For example, you could get a room for 4 at 2000NT per night during low peak seasons (like in the month of March).


  • Campsites are available at 斗內籽 (555, Nantou County, Yuchi Township, 中山路270巷10號) - This is a car camping area with only basic facilities, such as basic flush toilets. There is also a cafe onsite and a firepit. The campground staff may be able to help with basics such as tools for pitching your tent. Access is on a small road after passing the FuLi Hot Springs Hotel, about 10 min walk from the main road.


  • Sun Moon Lake Backpacker's Paradise (日月潭背包客天堂), No 4 Xiushui Lane , Yuchih Township, Tel:+886 9 75696738,+886 9 81930144, [5], NT$350 for one person and night.The place provides basic and necessary equipments, and there's WiFi access and hot water provided. You can Walk along Yuchih Street, and turn right at No.253 Yuchih Street[6]. Then follow the direction to No. 4 Xiushui Lane.
  • Min Ren Hotel, No 138 Chungshan Rd, Shueishe (Just across the road from the Shueishe Visitor Center (or bus stop)), (049)2855338, [1]. The place is basic, and there's no lake view, but the beds are comfortable and every room has its own bathroom, AC and TV. NT$1000 for twin or double room (NT$1200 during weekends/holidays), breakfast not included.  edit
  • “Yuchi Hostel” (魚樂運動背包客棧) Tel:”+886 9 87678494”, NT$600 for a dorm bed. Google address please type in # 魚樂運動背包客棧 # Locates in the heart of Yuchih township. Only 5 minutes walk from the bus stop. There’s Wifi access and hot water provided. Walk along Yuchi Street toward east and turn left at Xin Dian Lane. Walk for a block then you will see Yuchi Hostel at your left. The owner is a friendly local couple who LOVES to share travel tips about Sun Moon Lake.

note: during low season and weekdays,in most of the common (small) hotel, you can walk in and bargain for the price (1000NTD or so)

Mid Range[edit]

  • Sun Moon Lake Hotel (水沙連大飯店), 5 Mingsheng St, Yuchih Township, Tel:+886 49 2855 855, [7]. Rooms with lake view, dinner and breakfast included ( limited choice buffet at night, taiwanese style breakfast).
  • Harbor Resort Hotel Yuchih Township, Tel +886 49 2855 143, [8] 42 room hotel, on lake, with restaurant and sauna. Rooms are decent and location is good.
  • Sun Moon Lake Teacher's Hostel[9] This is a very nice hostel, intended for credentialed teachers. Non teachers can also book rooms on a space available basis. Well located in Yuchih. Rooms start at NT$2200 midweek.


  • Del Lago Hotel (大淶閣大飯店), 101, Jhongshan Rd, Yuchih Township, Tel:+886 49 2856 688, [10]
  • The Lalu Hotel (涵碧樓), 142 Jungshing Road, Yuchih Township, Tel:+886 49 2856 888, [11], a five star hotel in Sun Moon Lake Scenic Area.
  • Fleur de Chine Hotel (雲品酒店), 23 Zhong Zheng Road, Yuchih Township, Tel:+886 49 285 5500, [12], a luxury five star resort situated at the picturesque Northern Peninsula of the Sun Moon Lake.

Get Out[edit]

The Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village[13] is a full out amusement park with rides and shows, all with an aboriginal theme. You can see elaborate cultural shows and enjoy the thrill rides including UFO drop and Caribbean Splash. Located just north of the lake itself, accessible by gondola that starts at 10 AM. Allow a full day to visit. Tickets are approximately $600-750 NT depending on your hotel discount.

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