Most of us know about the “Made in Taiwan” labels affixed to popular plastic toys, textiles, bikes and more than 80 percent of the world’s notebook computer design. But what you may not know is that Sun Moon Lake, located in the Yuchih Township, Taiwan, is the place to go for newlyweds. The turquoise waters of the two lakes (the Sun and Moon), the dreamy landscape, sunny skies, jade-green hills and drifting mountain mists make this the perfect setting for couples who want an off-the-beaten path honeymoon. Couples can rent bicycles for a fun ride around the lakes, take an aerial ride along the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway and enjoy an immersive visit to the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village. But wait, that’s not all! Here are five more reasons why you should consider Sun Moon Lake for your post-nuptial celebration.
Stay at the Luxurious Fleur de Chine Hotel
This luxurious 5-star hotel is just a 5-minute drive away from most of the nearby tourist attractions. Book a room with a private balcony for you and your significant other to watch the sunset over the lake’s striking turquoise waters – it’s a postcard-perfect sight you’ll never forget. Other high-end amenities include Water World, the coed Mountain Mist Hot Spring and the Qui Shiseido Salon & Spa, where we recommend you schedule a deep-tissue massage for two. And for foodies, the hotel has four on-site restaurants: Rainbow Cloud (Teppanyaki), Crimson (buffet), Eau Cloud (Dim Sum) and Jade Luminous, where newlyweds can taste traditional Taiwanese, Cantonese and Szechuan dishes with innovative twists. If you have an adventurous palate, try the Chinese casserole with steamed meat and abalone, fried prawn with salted egg yolk, pork with sticky rice in bamboo and a deep-fried roll with passion fruit and mango.
Vacation Expert Tip: Couples can celebrate at the chic Sky Lounge for a rooftop toast to celebrate their happy union. It’s also an amazing vantage point to watch the sun set, but reservations are required.
Take a Peaceful Stroll Through a Well-Renowned Temple
High on a hill near the southern end of the lake, the lovely Xuanzang Temple is dedicated to the renowned Buddhist monk Xuanzang, who made a 17-year pilgrimage on foot from Chang’an, China, to India in search of sacred books of Buddhism. And even if you don’t subscribe to the Buddhist way of life, couples will feel a sense of calm and peace after walking through the temple’s gate to gaze at the impeccable 7th century Chinese architecture and will marvel at the jaw-dropping view of Sun Moon Lake from a bench in the manicured garden. Usher in the new chapter in your lives with a blessing for a long, peaceful future together on the temple’s second floor.
Vacation Travel Tip: The second floor of this temple is for visitors praying for special blessings. Remove your shoes near to cubbyholes and proceed up the left staircase. When you’re done, leave the second floor by coming down the right staircase.
Get Postcard-Perfect Views from Cien-Ta Pagoda
Located on Shabalan Mountain, this 9-story pagoda was built in 1971 by Chiang Kai-shek in honor of his mother. Building the famous landmark was difficult because the materials had to be shipped over the lake and transported up the mountain. Today, tourists climb multiple stairs to reach the top of this popular attraction and capture amazing 360-degree views of Sun Moon Lake and Lalu Island. For a real workout, park your car at Xuanzang Temple and hike 0.4-mile to the pagoda. It may seem like a short distance, but the path’s steep incline, steps and switchbacks can be a difficult, but it’s so worth it. You’ll thank us later.
Vacation Expert Tip: Bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated and remember to apply insect repellant to keep the mosquitoes at bay.
Enter the Wondrous Wenwu Temple
Guarded by two vermillion stone lions, this well-known temple sits on the northern side of the lake. The front hall of the temple pays homage to the Civil God of Wealth and the God of Literature. The central hall enshrines the God of War and the celebrated Chinese warrior Yue Fei. And the rear hall – known as the Hall of Great Achievements – is devoted to the wise sage Confucius. It’s not uncommon to see dozens of visitors praying and seeking blessings in front of the ornately decorated altars surrounded by beautiful Chinese architecture. As with any Buddhist temple… remember to enter the Dragon (on the right side) for good fortune and exit the Tiger (on the left) for a safe voyage, leaving all evil behind.
Vacation Expert Tip: Around dusk, climb the 366 steps – symbolizing the days in a year (including the extra day in leap years) – to the top of the temple for breathtaking views of the lake.
Visit One of Taiwan’s Aboriginal Villages
For adventurous honeymooners, take a stroll along the cobblestone streets of the Ita Thao Village, home to the indigenous Thao people. This is where old world traditions intersect with modern world changes. Locals and visitors converge on this village where traditional street vendors hawk their goods next to contemporary hotels and restaurants. It’s the perfect place to buy handcrafted souvenirs like wooden music boxes, glass figurines and ceramic dishes. And there’s no shortage of street food delicacies to try like squid filled with vegetables and meats, deep-fried shrimp, dried fish and fermented hard-boiled eggs. After checking out the action along the street, newlyweds can head to the pier for a photo op with the breathtaking lake as their backdrop.
Vacation Expert Tip: If you have some extra time, hang out around the pier for a couple hours to see an aboriginal music performance near the pier. They may not be on a set schedule, but the experience is worth the wait.
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