Things You Didn’t Know About Sun Moon Lake

Spectacular Sun Moon Lake
Spectacular Sun Moon Lake | © Eddy Tsai / Flickr
Ciaran McEneaney

Sun Moon Lake is one of the most popular weekend destinations for locals in Taiwan. With stunning scenery and plenty of places to stay, the area has become something of a must-see attraction for tourists wanting to explore more of Taiwan than the capital city. Here are some interesting facts about Taiwan’s most beautiful lake.

Loved by over 40s

Its current shape is not natural

Yes, that’s right, while Sun Moon Lake was a natural lake at one time its current shape and depth is a result of a dam constructed back in 1931 when Taiwan was under Japanese rule. This made the lake the largest body of water on the island and changed its shape significantly.

It’s home to sacred aboriginal lands

The area was once tribal lands, and as such there are many legends surrounding the lake. The island at the middle of the lake is said to have once split the lake into two distinct sections; one of which resembled a sun while the other a moon. This island is known as Lalu island, and although it is mostly submerged underwater, it is now officially recognized as tribal lands.

There’s a theme park just over the mountain

On the shores of Sun Moon Lake, there’s a gondola station that takes day trippers up over the mountain to an aboriginal theme park. Here visitors can learn all there is to know about the area and the Thao tribe who still inhabit the valley and the countryside surrounding the lake.

The ropeway to the theme park

It’s a great place for bike riding

There are many cycle paths that wind their way around the lake’s shore and renting a bike to explore the lake is a must for many visitors. In fact, the views are so amazing that CNN listed the cycle paths around the lake as one of the most breathtaking cycle routes in the world.

You can stay in Chiang Kai-shek’s lake getaway

The exclusive Lalu Hotel was once the lakeside residence of former military leader and president Chiang Kai-shek. This was where the former dictator used to come to entertain visiting dignitaries, and the hotel retains some artifacts from that time. The property has been completely redeveloped and is now a 5-star resort and rather expensive, to say the least.

Swimming pool at Lalu Hotel

Chiang Kai-shek’s boat and private boathouse remain

A lakeside walkway that runs by the Lalu Hotel takes visitors past the old boathouse of the former president. It’s an interesting place to find something so historic that has been left to the elements. Further along the walk, there’s also a small park with a pavilion – a nice spot to sit and relax.

It’s home to a huge swimming carnival

Each year, thousands of swimmers take to the lake to swim across it. Anyone who has visited the lake will understand that this is no mean feat and yet it’s a hugely popular event with upwards of 10,000 participants each year.

A beautiful place to see cherry blossoms

In early spring of each year, the cherry blossoms come into bloom, and the lakeside is awash with color. Many of the walkways and cycle paths are lined by these blossoming trees making for a spectacular setting for holiday snaps.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.