Foodie Corner Stories Travels

«Ilha Formosa» – Sun and Moon Lake

After we stuffed ourselves with delicious food in Taipeh («Ilha Formosa» – A Foodie Report part I + part II), we made our way to the heart of the «Ilha Formosa», a part of the island packed with tradition and nature.

The Sun and Moon Lake from above

Taiwan’s largest lake, Sun Moon Lake is located between the mountains of Nantou at the geographical 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.

This was at the dock of Yuchi, the small village we stayed for the night

Every year during the Mid Autumn Festival (中秋节), a three kilometers long race named the Swimming Carnival of Sun Moon Lake is held, bringing tens of thousands of swimmers to participate in the event and festivities. 

In order to capture the most beautiful moment of this piece of gem, we asked at our hostel when to get up and go to the lake for the sunrise. The owner told us the best moment would be between 0500 – 0545 am.

From sunrise to sunset, the Sun and Moon Lake truly counts as one of the natural jewels located in Taiwan

The landscape is fantastic and picturesque. Breathing in the fresh morning air was the best thing to boost our tired spirit and make us looking forward to the day.

The region around the lake lives off agriculture and tourism. There are many natural forests here that can almost be considered as national parks. The local people gives a great deal of care to the environment and they also protect the wild animals around the area with signs and boundaries.

Ferries on the Sun and Moon Lake

On these «Royal Ferries», you can take a relaxing trip on the water and hop off at any port you want around the lake. There are many different local attractions worth paying a visit – such as the temple treasuring the remain of the legendary monk Xuanzang from the Tang Dynasty.

Xuanzang was the legendary monk that travelled all the way from Chang‘an to India and he was the one transcribing many Buddhist teachings from Sanscrit into Chinese

If you spend some time trekking around the area, you will discover many beautiful temples scattered throughout this region. The Sun and Moon Lake region has remained true to its tradition and the modernization only took part in small things in the local’s daily life.

One of the beautiful temples in the region
Amazing stone carvings in the wall

If anyone of you considers me done narrating, then you are wrong! I haven’t mentioned the food yet! In Taichung (the region where the lake is located), the cuisine is very simple and traditional. You won’t find any fancy fusion kitchen or western restaurants here, but instead very decent Chinese food.

Stir-fried pork slices with peppers
Traditional stir-fried water spinach with garlic
Deep fried tofu Yuchi-Style

The dishes were delicious and they were made with dedication and care, which is something you won’t necessarily find in big cities. In small villages like Yuchi, the food they serve is also the food they would eat at home: so it was amazing.

Taiwan has left a deep impression on me: the culture, the religion, the people, the food and their love for nature. Throughout the entire trip, I felt peace and was able to simply enjoy everything this beautiful island offered me. Next, I will be heading to Japan, so stay tuned and see you next time!