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Designated one of 13 national scenic areas in Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake is Taiwan's largest lake with its name inspired by the beauty of the area.
Situated three hours south of Tainan in the Yuchi Township of Nantou County, Sun Moon Lake has one of the island’s most beautiful natural landscapes is the largest body of freshwater in Taiwan. The east side of the lake is round, like the sun, while the west side is long and narrow, like a crescent moon. The lake is backed by high-forested mountains and boasts good weather year-round despite an altitude of 762m.
The area is not only known for its beauty, but important historical buildings such as Wen Wu Temple, venerating both the patron gods of civil and martial affairs located on the shore of Sun Moon Lake. Also worth visiting is the Holy Monk Shrine was constructed in memory of Tang Xuanzang (Syuentzang), the monk who contributed greatly to Chinese culture and the spread of Buddhism in China. His legendary pilgrimage provided inspiration for the Classic Novel Journey to the West.
For at least two centuries, Sun Moon Lake has been home to the smallest ethnic group in Taiwan, the Thao people. Tehua Village is open to visit, a place to learn about and appreciate the daily life and traditional culture of the indigenous Thao people.
On the lake, boating is popular, especially in rowing boats, as is hiking and biking around the lake. Other popular activies include visiting one of the tea plantations near to the lake, such as Antique Assam Tea Farm which produces high quality Assam black tea, introduced to the area from India by the Japanese, for export since the Japanese Colonial Era.
For a fun day out, a visit to Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village, the largest outdoor museum in Taiwan, is a must. The display of traditional homes and architecture of Taiwanese indigenous tribes also serves as an amusement park with the tallest free fall ride on the island.
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