Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), Nantou County

Sun Moon Lake sure is a divisive place! Some Taiwanese swear by it, others say it’s not worth visiting anymore – not owing to any deficiency in natural beauty, but rather to a growing abundance of tour groups and hawkers.

I was inclined to believe the naysayers, and my original plan was to skip Sun Moon Lake and save the money and hassle. But when the bus en route to Qingjing Farm drove past it, I couldn’t help but notice that the water was mesmerizing, even when viewed against a foreground of screaming tourists. I grew up in Ontario and we’ve got lakes to spare, but I had never seen anything like the water in Sun Moon Lake. It’s the purest azure, the kind that makes you want to just drop your camera and jump in, logic and local laws be damned.

So I stopped in Sun Moon Lake on the way back from Qingjing. The nearby restaurants were all expensive and terrible but at least there were still a few scrubby hotels (1,000 NT a night – not bad!). I noticed that my hotel left the congee sitting in a giant open pot on the main  stairs from the time I arrived at 10am to breakfast the next morning.

Fun fact: I ate it anyways.

All told, Sun Moon Lake isn’t bad if you go in knowing that it’s going to be slammed with tourists. There are still lots of paths and trails that you can use to escape the throng, and the beauty of the lake itself does not disappoint.


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