Sun Moon Lake (日月潭)
Taiwan's largest lake, Sun Moon Lake is located in the mountains of Nantou at the geographic centre of Taiwan island.
The name of the lake is inspired by the beauty of the area. The east side of the lake is round, like the sun, while the west side is long and narrow, like a crescent moon.
Every year during the Mid Autumn Festival (中秋節), a 3KM race named the Swimming Carnival of Sun Moon Lake is held, bringing tens of thousands of swimmers to participate in the event and festivities. This event is the only time swimmers are allowed in the lake. In 2016, the date of the festival is 15 September.
Sun Moon Lake has a very large variety of hotels and minsu B&Bs. The area is in high demand, so book early.
The aboriginal Thao tribe lives around the lake, and are the proprietors of many local businesses. The town Ita Thao (伊達邵) is located across the lake from the pier area and next to the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway.
In the centre of the lake is a small island named Lalu, and is reserved for aboriginal religious practices, therefore the public is not allowed to visit the island.
By Intercity Bus:
From Taipei Main Station Exit Z5 - Bus Terminal, take a Kuo-Kuang Bus (國光客運, Livery: blue, purple, white) to "日月潭" (pron. Rìyuètán, no English on the bus). This is an express bus with only one stop at Puli Bus Station (埔里客運站) for around 3 hours depending on traffic conditions. Ticket cost is NT$385 each way or NT$690 roundtrip. It is recommended to purchase a roundtrip ticket to avoid being stranded as these busses are somewhat limited.
Sun Moon Lake is featured in the 2012 edition of the mainland People's Republic of China passport.