8 June 2017

Nantou's beautiful Sun Moon Lake

Last updated: April 2019
We've been to Sun Moon Lake three time, it happened that we come here once a year.

Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) is located in the mountains of Yuchi Township, Nantou County (南投). It's the second largest lake in Taiwan and the largest semi-natural lake and power generation reservoir. The lake covers an area of 17 km2. Its maximum depth is 30m with maximum width of 4km.

Sun Moon Lake was first mentioned in 1821. The name appeared in ''Haihai Diary'' of Cao Shigui. In English literature popular was the name ''Lake Candidius''. It was named in 1873 by missionaries which came to Sun Moon Lake to teach Thao people.
The name of the lake was inspired by the beauty of this area. The eastern part resembles sun, the western - moon. Sun Moon Lake is one of eight scenic spots in Taiwan, which was designated in 1970. The Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area was set up in 2010.

There is a lot of attraction around the lake like Chinese Style Temples, regional food and handicraft shops. You can also rent a bike to travel around or rent a boat to see the lake and Lalu Island. The area has really a lot of tourists.

The view at Sun Moon Lake from Cien Pagoda

The view at Sun Moon Lake from Cien Pagoda
In July 1918, the Taiwan Electric Power Co. began construction of ''Gateway Tan Power Station''. Due to insufficient funds, it wasn't finished until 1934 and named the first power station of Sun Moon Lake. After that the lake area expanded from 4.55 km2 to 7.73 km2, but the Lalu Island was slightly reduced.
In 1944 the power plant was damaged by bombing of the US military. After defeat of Japanese, the Taiwan Power Company was established in 1946 and the power plant was restored.

The view at Sun Moon Lake from WenWu Temple
The lake is a center of aboriginal life in Taiwan. In the middle of lake you can also see small island named Lalu. The island is an ancient settlement of Thao tribe.
In the past, the name of this island was ''Guanghua Island''. In 1978 matchmaker pavilion was set up there. Visitors came here to worship Matchmaker God and make requests of marriage. Due to earthquake in 1999, the God was relocate to Longfong Temple. After the earthquake, out of respect to Aboriginal people, the Island's name was changed to ''Lalu Island''

According to legend ancestors of Thao people found the lake chasing rare white deer. The lake was beautiful and filled with fishes which made Thao people resettle to this area. Also on Lalu Island you can see a marble statue of the white deer.

sun moon lake nantou taiwan

sun moon lake nantou taiwan

Swimming in the lake isn't allowed except for Sun Moon Lake Mass Swim in September. To Take a part in the swim, you need a group of three people and the registration fee of 1000NTD per person. The competition is 3km and 5 km distance. The event takes a few hours.

You can also visit Ita Thao, which is another tourist village located on the southeast shore. It's the end part of Sun Moon Lake Mass Swim. You can find here plenty of food stalls and night market. Most popular aboriginal dishes here are: boar meat (‬山豬肉‭),‬‭ sticky rice in bamboo tubes (‬竹筒飯‭), ‬and millet wine‭ (‬小米酒‭).

One of scenic view of Sun Moon Lake is Shuishe Dam (水社壩). From the end of Qing Dynasty to the beginning of Japanese occupation, the area was known as street village called ''Shuishe zhuang''.
In Shuishe you can see many restaurants and resorts, as well as rent bike, scooter or take a bus to travel around Sun Moon Lake.

sun moon lake nantou taiwan shuishe dam

sun moon lake nantou taiwan shuishe dam

We've also seen the Nine Frog Stack (九蛙疊像‭). At that moment, the water level was hight so not all of frogs are visible now. You can easily notice the lever of water is low or hight, anyway it doesn't indicate the drought conditions.
The water is used to make electricity, stored in lower pools and then pumped back to the lake. It can cause the water level of the lake differ as much as 2 meters.

Also one of popular attractions of Sun Moon Lake is the lake ropeway. You can also use the ropeway to go to Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village. 

sun moon lake nantou taiwan nine frogs stack

sun moon lake nantou taiwan nine frogs stack

1. Sun Moon Lake, Yuchi Township, Nantou County, 555
2. Shuishe Dam, Yuchi Township, Nantou County, 555
3. 555, Nantou County, Yuchi Township, 台21甲線水蛙頭步道旁 Nine Frogs Stack

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