No trip to Taiwan is complete without a visit to the mystical Sun Moon Lake, the country’s largest freshwater body. The lake is considered sacred by the local aboriginal people and its name is derived from its distinctive shape, with a rounded main section similar to the sun and a narrow western border comparable to a crescent moon. Sun Moon Lake’s emerald green waters reflect the striking mountainous scenery that surrounds them, creating some of the island’s most enthralling landscapes. Also encircling the lake are numerous temples and picturesque pavilions, gardens and pagodas, each offering a unique perspective on the waters below. We spent our time here leisurely sailing around the enchanting lake on a boat tour, making trips to Cih En Pagoda Temple and the Chung-Tai Monastery.
Sun Moon Lake is also home to Taiwan’s annual mid-autumn festival, the Sun Moon Lake Swim. Every year in October, around 10,000 people swim from one side of the lake to the other. This is the only time of year that anyone can swim there, as it would be too big for lifeguards to patrol. The annual swim ends with a spectacular fireworks display and party, all set against a stunning backdrop. Well worth making a second trip back for, methinks!