In pictures: Taiwan’s enchanting Sun Moon Lake
TAIWAN is home to a handful of signature tourism sites and attractions that are not limited to its towering skyscrapers and busy night markets.
Its geographical richness has blessed the island with natural wonders such as s mountainous terrain, lush forests, hot springs, sprawling parks, and serene lakes.
Perhaps the most notable of all is Taiwan’s beautiful Sun Moon Lake, the largest in the state.
Located in the foothills of Taiwan’s central mountain range in Nantou Country, the east side of the lake resembles a sun while the west side resembles a moon, which gave it its name.
It’s also the only freshwater lake in the state.
Surrounded by forested peaks and lined with foot trails, the Sun Moon Lake is home to a tiny island called Lalu, an aboriginal culture theme park, boat tours, a gondola cable car service, and the majestic Wen Wu temple.
Swimming in the lake is usually not permitted as it is about 27 meters deep but often, festivities such as fireworks, laser shows, and concerts are held within the vicinity, drawing tens of thousands of participants.
The Sun Moon Lake used to be an extremely popular site among mainland Chinese travelers, who would visit the lake in throngs just to take a picture with the iconic rock carved with the lake’s name on it.
However, it lost its appeal for visitors from China following the election of Taiwan’s new leader, Tsai Ing Wen, who assumed office in 2016. Tsai had refused to recognize that both mainland China and Taiwan belong to the same China.
Furthermore, when China featured a depiction of the lake in its newly issued passport in 2012, it triggered protests and severe criticism from Taiwan.
As such, the number of mainland China tourists to Taiwan plunged below 2.73 million from more than 4.18 million in 2015.
The Sun Moon Lake recorded about 2.98 million tourists in the first half of this year, down by more than 300,000 compared to the same period last year, according to XINHUANET.com.
That having said, the Sun Moon Lake is still loved by many. After all, it has been designated one of 13 national scenic areas in Taiwan.
Take a look at what the enchanting destination has to offer.