The Sun-Moon-Lake is the biggest lake inside of Taiwan with a total area of 4,55 km². While many believe that the name of the lake derives from its form of the sun in the east and crescent moon in the west, the legend about the lake is awesome. So we had to check it out by ourselves!
One day the Sun and the Moon vanished from the sky with a big “Boom!”. Due to the lack of light, all the flowers and crops in the village of the Shao tribe, located in the mountains in the heart of Taiwan, died. The couple DaJianGe and ShuiSheJie decided to find the sun and the moon and so began their journey. After a while, they found a huge lake, where two dragons played with the “Fire Balls” – Sun and Moon.
An old woman captured by the dragons told the couple that they can only defeat the dragons, when they throw the golden scissors and golden axe, which are buried somewhere in Ali Mountain, into the lake. DaJianGe and ShuiSheJie started dig until they eventually found the golden tools at the bottom of the Alishan valley they had created. Returning with the golden scissors and golden axe, they were able to defeat the dragons, but still, the sun and moon have not been up in the sky again.
The freed old woman told them, that they will grow to giants when they eat the eyeballs of the dead dragons. Doing so, the couple grew and was finally able to fix the sun and the moon in the sky again. With the sunlight appearing, the crops and the people of the Shao tribe had been saved. In fear of the dragons returning and stealing the “Fire Balls” again, the giant DaJianGe and ShuiSheJie stood guard beside the lake eventually turning into the mountains DaJian Shan and ShuiShe Shan.
The Lake now
Nowadays the lake is a hot spot for tourism and culture. We rented bikes near Xiangshan Visitor centre to ride around the lake, but had to turn back after Shuishan visitor centre, because it was too huge to satellite it in the short time of the bike rental.
Heading again from the Shuishan visitor centre we walked the Maolan Mountain Trail, which led us through famous Tea Farms and the local Tea Improvement Station. At the end of the hike, we could rest at the Weather Station at an altitude of 1020 meters and enjoy the epic view!
Going around the lake by car is more comfortable and it is easier to do more attractions along the way. Our next stop was the Sun-Moon-Lake Ropeway and Skyline cable car, carrying us 100 metres above the ground from the shore of the lake to the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village. Due to time reasons to catch the sunset, we could not enter the attraction park, so we headed back the same cable way we came.
We did not manage to see the sunset from the originally planned Cien Pagoda, but from the Xuanzang Temple, which was also a nice ending of the evening. There we took some sunset pose pictures and thanked the couple DaJianGe and ShuiSheJie bringing the sun back to us at Sun-Moon-Lake!