Sun Moon Lake, the largest alpine lake in Taiwan/日月潭-台灣最大高山湖泊


Sun Moon Lake is at 748 meters above sea level, which is 240 meters higher than Taipei 1O1. It's the largest alpine lake in Taiwan.

It's hard to imagine that this lake has been the water reservoir of the largest hydropower plant in Taiwan since the Japanese colonial era. In its heyday, it provided 37% of the total electricity in Taiwan.

Once you travel through long mountain roads to get to Sun Moon Lake, you'll be surprised to see such gorgeous lake and mountain scenery.
當你穿越重重山路到日月潭,會很驚訝山中有這麼美麗的湖光山色。 e54df5bb41c84834d49eef520d9bfbd9


The native Taiwanese tribe Ita Thao has lived here for many generations. Their ancestors were probably just as surprised as you when they saw Sun Moon Lake.

According to the legend of Thao, their ancestors initially lived in a more southern area. They found this alpine lake while chasing a large white deer all the way from A-li-shan.

The Thao tribe has since inhabited this secret place on the mountain due to the abundant water and food. Sun Moon Lake and "Lalu Island" became the sacred places for the Thao tribe.

While visiting these lively tourist attractions, understanding the history behind the aborigines and the land will help you calmly experience the beauty of Sun Moon Lake in its primitive form without feeling lost among the abundant hotels, restaurants, cycling groups and yachts.

We recommend that you start your journey by enjoying the service of any of the three Sun Moon Lake visitor centers established by Taiwan Tourism Bureau.

Xiang-shan Tourist Center


Although each visitor center has its uniqueness, the most distinctive one is the Xiang-shan Visitor Center with its spectacular architecture. It's referred to as the most beautiful visitor center in Taiwan.
雖然3個遊客中心各有特色,有一個最特別的向山遊客中心,壯觀建築本身也是景點,有台灣最美麗的遊客中心之稱。 0ac6ef1aa12865c69f3749552738f047

Entering Sun Moon Lake from Provincial Highway 21 on the west side, you'll arrive at Xiang-shan Tourist Center.

This is the work of Japanese architect Norihiko Dan in 2003. A strong emphasis was put on the harmony between the architecture and the land. You can feast your eyes on the panorama of Sun Moon Lake after climbing the stairs.
這是在2003年日本建築大師團紀彥的作品。特別強調建築藝術與土地的協調,爬上著階梯可以眺望日月潭全景。 7202a294a8015d6e59ab56298f5cb671



The lakeside pond where the building faces is a must-see. It imitates the effects of Infinity Pool. Sitting next to the pond, you can enjoy the pond view connecting to the lake.
一定要到的是,建築物面向潭邊的水池,這是模擬無邊際泳池的效果。坐在池邊潭水和池水連成一片。 48ce833fb39118132f2f611e5f6cf3ec

Such scenery used to be accessible only in the lobby of Lalu, Sun Moon Lake Luxury Hotel; you can now get a cup of coffee on the lakeside across from the hotel and indulge in the same scenery.

Shuishe Visitor Center


Continuing forward, you'll arrive at Shuishe Visitor Center. This is the main pier for round-the-lake yachts. CNN did a news coverage on Sun Moon Lake Bike Path here, which is one of the ten most beautiful bike trails in the world.






Sun Moon Lake Shuishe Pier is the transshipment hub with a spacious parking lot. You can board the yacht to go on a lake tour from here.
水社碼頭是日月潭的交通轉運中心,停車場很大。從這裡可以搭遊艇遊湖。 a537dd924b5d530fa8ad29459bff3e22




The yachts stop at 3 of the 4 piers, allowing you to disembark to visit each tourist attraction.
遊艇停靠四個碼頭其中的3個,可以中途下船,到各個景點遊覽。 fcab42e42e4a7184c00184ba35214002

Alternatively, you can get to all the main attractions on your own from Shuishe Pier. Although it's very crowded here, it's still quite comfy sitting on the chair by the pier. We went to the restaurant there and ordered some fresh juice. Watching the scenery from the inside is even more relaxing.
從水社碼頭也可以自到全潭的重要景點,雖然人潮來來往往,但你坐在碼頭邊的椅子,還是很舒服,我們則是選擇旁邊的餐廳,點了現打果汁,舒服坐在室內看風景。 918ef9de29e727a81eb4ddf2aee923f8


Looking across from here, you'll see a small island in the lake. That's the sacred Lalu Island for the Thao tribe. Legend has it that their ancestors' spirit rests in peace there.
往對面看,潭中小島就是邵族的聖地拉魯島,傳說他們的祖靈在哪裡安息。 4fdd28a3c53d4e193bf2a4e38950341a

There is also the sacred mountain for the Thao tribe Shuishe Mountain behind Xuanzang Temple if you look a bit further. Due to its 2059-meter elevation, a round trip takes at least 8 hours.

You can rent a bicycle here at Shuishe Pier. The round-the-lake bike path is bustling and perfectly suited for children.
在水社碼頭這裡,也可以租自行車騎一段,環潭自行車道非常熱鬧,小朋友在這裡玩也很安全。 e6e47a285a66e8247a6d35c964431adf



Lalu, Sun Moon Lake Hotel


Going south along Hanbi Trail, you'll arrive at Lalu, Sun Moon Lake Hotel and a memorial hall.





Lalu is a famous landmark and hotel, originally built by a Japanese businessman. It eventually became a private travel lodge for Chiang Kai-shek. After being destroyed by Nine Two One Earthquake, it was rebuilt to become the Sun Moon Travel Lodge.
涵碧樓原本是日治時期商人興建的旅館,是台灣著名地標;後來變成蔣介石個人行館,九二一地震震毀後,原地興建日月行館。 3a4ce8329626040f3816370e997c1c42

The new Lalu, Sun Moon Lake Hotel was built by a private developer. The memorial hall nearby was established by partially utilizing the construction materials from the old travel lodge. There are many pictures of Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo vacationing in Sun Moon Lake.
新的涵碧樓是私人建設公司興建,旁邊的紀念館,利用部分舊行館建材重建,有很多蔣介石和蔣經國總統在日月潭度假的照片。 87b5e409f4d00aa409d2b1956e7f02ee





Sun Moon Restaurant


Restaurants abound in the vicinity of Shuishe Pier. We picked Sun Moon Restaurant recommended by the locals.



We heard different accents from the dining guests there; some are from China; some are from Europe and America.
我們聽到許多用餐客人不一樣的口音; 有些是中國,也有些歐美國家。 1a2b4dfa38214203fdbf1625b8fdc40f ==They allow dining guests to write their names on the wall / 他們讓用餐客人在牆壁上寫下名子==

We ordered Rice in a Bamboo Tube, Steamed Lake Fish, Stir-fried Beef with Green Onion, Stir-fried Water Spinach with Sour Bamboo Shoot and Stir-fried Cabbage. Our dessert was Fried Banana.
我們點了竹筒飯、清蒸潭魚、蔥爆牛肉、酸筍炒高空心菜和炒高麗菜,點心是油炸香蕉。 521092ae29af6d1661d3b100c2d18c02


Rice in a Bamboo Tube is an aboriginal dish, using a mixture of steamed Sticky Rice and Japonica Rice. Cooked inside a bamboo tube, it's both stylish and tasty.
竹筒飯是原住民料理,用糯米和蓬萊米混合蒸煮,在竹筒端裡煮來,相當有造型,也很好吃。 5eb55f2a64641509690e82a60ef7a4ec

Sour Bamboo Shoot is an indigenous vegetable. It tastes very distinctive when stir-fried with Water Spinach.

Lake Fish is an exotic species. It adapted well after its free range and became a main species in the lake. It tastes very similar to Taiwan Tilapia, but without the earthy taste. It's even more popular than the fishbone-laden "Presidential Fish."
潭魚則是外來魚種,放養後適應良好,變成潭內主要魚種,吃起來味道很像台灣鯛,但沒有土味,比原生多刺的總統魚還受歡迎。 597d7927ff2ee41b6a53512e676a52ff

You used to have to get to the Thao tribe by boat. The establishment of the Round-the-Lake Road in 1995 allows for transiting by road. Going north from the Shuishe Pier, you can get to many attractions by car.

Chao-wu Pier


You'll come by Chao-wu Pier along the way. This is the place for Annual Swimming Carnival, attracting 30 thousand swimmers that swim to Ita Thao Pier from here.


We happened to run into many tourist buses clogging this little pier the day we came. We had no choice but to back out.
我們來的這一天,剛好遇到中國遊客在這裡接泊遊艇,好幾輛遊覽車塞爆小小碼頭,只好開車上坡,倒退回原路。 5e55bee6ccb008c1647c6c62f5593dc5

After the construction of the Round-the-Lake Road, there are many newly established hotels on the way to the Thao tribe. Viewing the lake scenery from above, such as Fleur De Chine Hotel, is even more alluring than from Shuishe Pier.



At the same time, you can see many trail entrances with a parking lot next to them, allowing you to park at any time for a short walk. Trails such as Round-the-lake Trail and Dag-zhu Trail allow you to cycle through.
同時你也可以看到很多步道入口,旁邊就有停車場,隨時可以停下來走一走。例如環湖和大竹等步道,都可以騎乘自行車。 7379f32a5df1d25462e6d8616f9f72ca



Shue-iuatou Hiking Trail


We highly recommend that you take the Shue-iuatou Hiking Trail. The entire trail is situated inside the forest. Its destination is a sculpture in the lake called the Nine Frog Heads.





This sculpture is a stack of 9 frogs of various sizes. Counting the number of visible frogs lets you know the water level. There is a water-level chart next to it.
這雕像是9隻疊在一起的大小青蛙,數數看有幾隻看的到青蛙,就知道水位多高,旁邊還有一個水位對照表。 274bd1bc5f35a5413493c3de889837bc


Sun Moon Lake is currently operating on hydroelectric power. It utilizes the off-peak electric power from the generators at the bottom of the hill to draw up water every night. The water-level difference can be as high as 2 meters. The sculpture is to highlight the characteristic of this type of electricity generation.

Continuing forward, you'll arrive at Sun Moon Lake Ropeway Station. Next up is the Ita Thao Pier, which is the location of the Thao tribe.

Sun Moon Lake Ropeway Station



Ita Thao Pier



The Thao tribe is the smallest native tribe in Taiwan by population. Their sacred place Lalu Island divides the Sun Lake and the Moon Lake of Sun Moon Lake. Literally, the Sun Lake resembles the sun, and the Moon Lake resembles the moon.

Upon getting on the sacred mountain, you can get a panoramic view of Sun Moon Lake from the hill road. We ran into a Thao tribe lady at the hiking entrance telling us that we could actually see Changhua from here in good weather.



Despite being the smallest native tribe in Taiwan, they still guard their ancestral land. The tribe is located at the hiking entrance to the sacred mountain Shuishe Mountain. Every household uses trees to carve their aboriginal language on the front door, preserving their own culture.
雖然他們是台灣人口最少的原住民族,他們仍然守護祖靈地,部落就位在聖山水社大山的登山口,家家門前,用樹頭雕刻族語,保存自己的文化。 6fd5860a2427b5dce22326d5d9422972


Xuanzang Temple


Further north is Xuanzang Temple that worships Buddha Relic of the Master Xuanzang, the greatest Chinese Buddhist Scripture translator.



During Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese brought the Buddha Relic of Master Xuanzang back to Japan in fear of the war effects in Nanjing. Part of the Buddha Relic, a very precious legacy of the world, was later redistributed to Taiwan.
這是中日戰爭期間,日本人擔心戰火波及供在南京的玄奘法師舍利子,請回日本,後來又分靈到台灣,是非常珍貴的世界遺產。 66544fad248a180bcc93d4e6ce273982


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