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HOME > TRAVEL >

COMPASS MAGAZINE, July 2007.


La Lu Island


Sun Lake


Moon Lake

SunMoon Lake: More than just water

By Melody Lee Translated by Ann Lee

Universally-known as a beautiful area where numerous green mountains surround a peaceful body of water, Sun Moon Lake is like a rare piece of jade bordered with diamonds. Because of its romantic surroundings, the area is also known as Honeymoon Lake or Lover's Lake. Besides the actual water, Sun Moon Lake has many attractions which include noteworthy temples, a historical pagoda and an island with its very own legend.

Near Qinglong (Green Dragon) Mountain, visitors can find the Xuan Zhuang Temple. This temple, facing La Lu Island, houses "sarira" (ashes), which are Buddhist relics, as well as a golden statue of Buddha. The nearby Xuan Guang Temple holds the ashes of a Xuan Zhuang master. High above the water, on a neighboring mountain, the Tsi An Pagoda stands, providing a tranquil vantage point for those willing to make the climb. The structure was commissioned by Chiang Kai-shek as a memorial to his deceased mother. The pagoda has an excellent view of La Lu Island. Besides separating Sun Lake and Moon Lake, La Lu Island (also called Guang-hua) is surrounded by folklore from the Shao Aborigine tribe. As the story goes, the Shao tribe's ancestors found La Lu while chasing after a white deer. The island was agreeable so the tribe came to reside there. Today, this legend is often referred to as the "Shao Tribe's Deer Chase".

One opportunity visitors shouldn't miss when visiting Sun Moon Lake is a lake tour, which allows passengers to "stroll" around the water and see La Lu Island up close and personal. Boats stops at both La Lu and Ita Thao Pier, allowing a chance for visitors to watch a Shao tribal dance and view traditional clothing.
Hikers might enjoy a meander through the Shueishe Tourist Center, which will orientate tourists through Wen Wu Temple and the Peacock Garden. There are also bird-watching opportunities at Dajhuhu. All four main piers (Shueishe, Ita Thao, Zhao Wu, and Xuan Guang Temple) have great hiking trails for visitors to explore.

This photo was taken in front of the Phonix Temple and set up by the Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area Administration. Tourism Bureau.

-Website for Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area Administration: www.http://smlch.sunmoonlake.gov.tw
This site has a downloadable map of Sun Moon Lake, three car-accessible scenic routes, and detailed descriptions of the sights.
- Recommended Lake Tour: For a complete lake view, sail from Shueishe Pier to La Lu Isle and Ita Tha Pier (NT$300/adults, NT$150/children; special fare tickets for NT$200 and NT$100, available from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.)
- Recommended hiking tour: Start from Shueishe Pier and head to Han Bi Trail—the view is outstanding.
- Sun Moon information in English greenislandreservations@yahoo.com

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