Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake

Click to Enlarge !


Sun Moon Lake (Chinese: 日月潭; pinyin: Rìyuètán; Wade–Giles: Jih4-yüeh4-t'an2; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Ji̍t-goa̍t-thâm; Zintun in the Thao language, also Lake Candidus) is the largest body of water in Taiwan as well as a tourist attraction. Situated in Yuchi, Nantou, the area around the Sun Moon Lake is home to the Thao tribe, one of aboriginal tribes in Taiwan.[1] Sun Moon Lake surrounds a tiny island called Lalu.[2] The east side of the lake resembles a sun while the west side resembles a moon, hence the name.[3]


Sun Moon Lake is located 748 m (2,454 ft) above sea level. It is 27 m (89 ft) deep and has a surface area of approximately 7.93 km2 (3.06 sq mi). The area surrounding the lake has many trails for hiking.[1]

While swimming in Sun Moon Lake is usually not permitted, there is an annual 3-km race called the Swimming Carnival of Sun Moon Lake held around the Mid-Autumn Festival each year.[4][5] In recent years the participants have numbered in the tens of thousands. Other festivities held at the same time include fireworks, laser shows, and concerts.

The lake and its surrounding countryside have been designated one of thirteen National scenic areas in Taiwan. Wen Wu Temple (文武廟) was built after rising water levels from building a dam forced several smaller temples to be removed.[6] Ci En Pagoda (慈恩塔) was built by late President Chiang Kai-shek in 1971 in memory of his mother.[7] Other temples of note include Jianjing Temple,[3] Syuentzang Temple,[8] and Syuanguang Temple.[9]


In older English literature it was commonly referred to as Lake Candidius, after the 17th century Dutch missionary Georgius Candidius. In the middle of the lake is the Lalu Island, which is the holy ground for the Thao tribe.[2] In legend, Thao hunters discovered Sun Moon Lake while chasing a white deer through the surrounding mountains. The deer eventually led them to the lake, which they found to be not only beautiful, but abundant with fish.[10] Today, the white deer of legends is immortalized as a marble statue on Lalu Island.

Under the Japanese colonial era of Taiwan, the Japanese named it the "Jade Island". After Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Government moved to Taiwan, the island was renamed Kuang Hua ("Glorious China") and in 1978 the local government built a pavilion where annual weddings took place. In 1999, the 921 earthquake destroyed the pavilion and sunk most of the island. In recent years, due to increasing social and political awareness, more deference and recognition are being given to Taiwanese aborigines. As a result, after the 921 earthquake, the island was renamed in the Thao language as "Lalu".[1]

Several hydroelectric power plants have been built in the Sun Moon Lake since 1919, including Mingtan and the Hoover and Oriville dams. When the first hydroelectric plant was finished in 1934, it was considered to be one of the most important infrastructure constructions of the time. The Jiji Line railroad was built to facilitate the construction.

Sun Moon Lake (Rìyuè Tán) is the largest body of freshwater in Taiwan and has one of the island’s loveliest natural landscapes. In his blue period, Picasso would have had no end of inspiration. At an altitude of 762m, the lake is backed by high-forested mountains and boasts good weather year-round. Boating is popular, both touring in large craft and in DIY rowing boats, as is hiking and biking. By the time you read this there will be a hotel offering hot springs.

Read more: