Sun Moon Lake│ Travel Taiwan
Sun Moon Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Taiwan, located in the heart of the nation – Nantou. The stunning and ever-changing views of Sun Moon Lake receives almost 3 million tourists annually and is rated the top 10 most beautiful cycling routes in the world by CNN.
Family Travel Destination
Taiwan is my hometown, and we spent around six years on this beautiful island before my multicultural family got bigger and moved to Spain.
Before moving to Spain, we were fortunate to travel in Taiwan during our time there and have the opportunity to witness some of the most amazing places on this beautiful island – Formosa. Today, I would like to share with you our favorite lake in Taiwan – Sun Moon Lake.
We have been to Sun Moon Lake for three different occasions. The first time we went to Sun Moon Lake from Nantou Jiji without kids, the second time we chose to stay a night with kids and the last time we participated in the annual Sun Moon Lake Marathon, we had a blast for each experience.
Sun Moon Lake is certainly one of the most family travel destinations in Taiwan. One significant advantage of traveling in Taiwan is most places are paved, safe, and clean.
Throughout the articles, we will be sharing many of our amazing memories, and you can see that Sun Moon Lake is stroller-friendly and wheel-chair friendly, suitable for all age group family travel. However, the major downside of this fantastic location is always full of visitors!
Getting to Sun Moon Lake
No train can take you directly to Sun Moon Lake. If you are leaving from Taipei Main Station, you have three options:
- Take a bus from Taipei directly to Sun Moon Lake. Total 5 to 6 hours.
- Taipei Train station to Taichung Train station (2.5hr), transfer to Sun Moon Lake by bus (1.5 hr). Total 4 hours.
- Taipei HSR station to Taichung HSR station (1 hr), transfer to Sun Moon Lake by bus (1.25hr). Total of 2.25 hours.
Since we are traveling with little kids and prefer an unrestricted schedule, we chose to drive! Whether you’re coming from the South, the North, or Central part of Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake is easy to navigate by GPS.
Some of the hotels offer to pick up and drop off service from/to Taichung HSR station. For more information, please visit Sun Moon Lake’s official website.
Top 3 Things to do in Sun Moon Lake
1. Stroll along the Lake
Being the top 10 most beautiful cycling routes in the world, spending time around the Lake is one of the most recommended activities to do in Sun Moon Lake. Circulating the Lake to explore some of the non-tourist hidden gem areas, we love early morning walks with kids after breakfast and coffee.
2. Sun Moon Lake Ropeway
Riding the ropeway serves two purposes, first is to present you the bird view of Sun Moon Lake, and the other is to reach Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village. Operations hours are different on weekdays and weekends. Check here.
3. Sun Moon Lake Ferry Ride
Several ferry companies are available at the main pier of Sun Moon Lake, this is one of the most popular activities to do, boats leave on average every 10 minutes.
Most ferries are clean and comfortable. Most tickets are bundled with three pier- Shueshi, Itashao, and Syuanguang, which allow you to disembark and board again without fees. I would recommend leaving the boat for the first time visitor and enjoying delicious local food at each station. Be prepared for the crowd, Sun Moon Lake attracts visitors all year round.
We have purchased our ferry tickets from our hotel, pick up and drop off service from/to pier is included.
Annual Events in Sun Moon Lake
Best Time to Visit Sun Moon Lake?
Sun Moon Lake attracts visitors all year round, but I would recommend avoiding summer due to the monsoon season. It is not even comfortable to walk around for too long with high heat and humidity.
During the November to March, humidity level drops to keep the air pleasant and able to make the mountain brighter over a clear sky.
1. Sun Moon Lake Swimming Carnival
The famous Sun Moon Lake swimming carnival is held annually around the Mid-Autumn Festival, the event has been ranked among the Top 50 Open Water Swims in Asia and the World’s Top 100 Open Water Swims. It attracts over 20,000 swimmers from Taiwan and abroad each year to challenge 3000 meters swimming across the Lake. Anyone who is over ten years old, healthy, and able to swim long distances can take part in this competition.
Papai is crossing the finishing line.
2. Sun Moon Lake Marathon
We have participated in the annual Sun Moon Lake marathon event. The curvy track has lush green and tall trees alongside, the turquoise calm water make it one of the most pleasant running tracks in the world.
The marathon is well-organized, energy drinks, water, salt, sugar, chocolates, and many fruits were placed at several locations. The last 5km was quite an elevation, the organization even offered ice-creams before the uphill. Overall, it was a pleasant experience and worth joining at least once.
3. Sun Moon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival
The annual Sun Moon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival is Taiwan’s biggest cherry blossom festival. The event is held around February to March, featuring a stunning spread of over 5000 cherry blossom trees.
Recommend spots to enjoy cherry blossoms in Sun Moon Lake:
- Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village
- National Chi Nan University
- Ita Thao Lakeside Trail
- Ci En Pagoda Trail
- Jinlongshan Trail
- Shiangcha Lane and Youshui Lane in Yuchi Township
- Guangfu Lane in Xinyi Township.
Where to Stay in Sun Moon Lake?
Sun Moon Lake has a large variety of hotels and Minsu available. We chose different hotels for each visit.
Fleur de Chine Hotel Sun Moon Lake was our first choice, and we were greeted with extremely friendly and helpful staff upon our arrival, great views from our room. Delicious buffet with a variety of food options.
Fleur de Chine Hotel is also the first hotel in Sun Moon Lake that offers hot spring tubs, the hotel has a shuttle bus service from Taichung HSR station, and there is a bus stop at the hotel that goes around the Lake. Unfortunately, I’ve lost a few important photos to share my experience with you. Nonetheless, Fleur de Chine Hotel Sun Moon Lake has been ranked as one of the top 10 kid-friendly hotels in Taiwan, and it is highly recommended for family travel.
The Wen Wan Resort Sun Moon Lake
We stayed at The Wen Wan Resort on our second visit, The Wen Wan Resort is situated on top of the hill and away from the busy street. The resort was the renowned accommodation for the former president of Taiwan – Mr. Chiang Kai-Shek.
The reason for us to pick the hotel is the architecture design, the ambition was to translate the breathtaking landscape into an amazing hospitality experience.
Wen Wan Resort Sun Moon Lake is considering one of the most expensive hotels in Taiwan, and the resort features a hot spring swimming pool, fitness center, and restaurants; The room package can be bundled with breakfast and dinner; Breakfast is in buffet style with a great view of the Lake. Dinner is at the top floor, and offers a private dining room for a bigger family group.
Both restaurants have plenty of room to improve from the taste to the food refinement, they come with high prices; A short walk to the town has many restaurants if you wish to have cheaper and local alternatives.
Visitors will experience the 45-meter elevated high ceiling as soon as entering the lobby of the Wen Wan Resort Sun Moon Lake. The lobby is spacious with bright light, and also provides a few resting areas.
We were greeted by a few friendly staff members during the check-in, who later explained to us about the facilities and historical information of the site. It was not a busy day, and we were able to get into our room very quickly.
Room & Facilities
The main attraction of the hotel is the view of the Lake. Therefore, we booked a family lake view room. Every room features a hot spring tub, and it was almost the first thing we did after settling down. I brought some shower toys and floaty ring for my 6 months daughters, we spent plenty of quality time here over such a breathtaking view, It was an enjoyable experience for all of us.
Relaxing on the in-room balcony after a long nature morning walks around the hotel, it is the perfect place to be when kids are taking the lunch nap.
Wen Wan Resort Surroundings are peaceful and great for family walk; If you go through the special parking garage elevator, you can go all the way up to the glass balcony. Kids enjoying running on this 60 meters glass surface skywalk. The observation deck is free entrance for hotel customers.
The outdoor swimming pool on the top floor gives you the same panoramic sun moon lake view, but it was too cold to swim in December, but the smaller hot spring pool in the room was a great substitute. We enjoyed our overall Sun Moon Lake experience.