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This Muslim-Friendly Hidden Gem In Taiwan Will Blow You Away


 •  May 31, 2018


You've probably never heard of Sun Moon Lake, but the name itself will give a tiny idea of what this place is. A stunning mountain backdrop, the clear turquoise waters, plenty of nature routes? Yes! But it's also so much more☺️ Credit: giphy We're giving you the first dibs on this Muslim-friendly hidden gem located in Taichung, Taiwan! Prepare to be blown away by all that this Lake has to offer.
Getting There
Take the Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR) to Taichung station. Once you alight from the HSR, head to Exit 5-6 in order to reach the bus station. Get your ticket at the Taiwan-Trip counter, Exit 5. A one-way ticket costs about $180NT.
Credit: @lisatraveltheworld on Instagram From there, take a direct bus - the Sun Moon Lake Route (Nan Tou Bus 6670) to arrive at Shuishe Village, the bus station at the Lake.
Getting Around
An easy and tireless way to explore the Lake is by the lake bus which runs from the Shushie Visitor Centre. The bus goes all the way around the lake and covers most of the attractions in the area! We recommend getting the one-day pass with unlimited rides, and you can choose to pay by cash or Easycard (a reload-able card used around Taiwan).
Credit: @focus.ptanasiri on Instagram If you prefer exploring the area on your own, cycling is the way to go! The Sun Moon Lake Circular Walk with its Bikeway is one of the most beautiful trails in the world. The best part is that it's budget-friendly?
Credit: @callmewhenevergo on Instagram Check out Papago Rental Shop in Shuishe Village (151 Zhongshan Road). It would cost you about $100NT-$200NT, depending on the brand and how new it is. For those who do not know how to cycle, rent the tandem electric bicycle ($500NT) or scooters ($400NT)! With plenty of hiking trails, the Lake is also perfect for those seeking a more adventurous experience.
Credit: @ginappo90 on Instagram Take your adventurous side a level higher by participating in one of the many Triathlons at the Lake! It's a popular spot for Triathlon events as it's the perfect location for swimming, cycling and running.
Credit: @chenchi530 on Instagram Getting around the Lake, while still enjoying the gorgeous scenery, would be a lot faster this way?
Must-visit Attractions
While going around this beautiful Lake, don't forget to try their unique tea leaves egg! It's made of black tea, shiitake mushroom and Chinese herbs? Xiangshan Visitor Center Many tourists often skip Visitor Centres, but this is one place you'd want to visit when at Sun Moon Lake. It overlooks the Lake and the architecture was designed based on a theme of promoting the harmonious integration between human habitation and the natural world. There are two curved wings of the centre, giving it a really cool look!
Credit: @dollhouse_vacancy on Instagram Spice up your Instagram feed her as this place is the perfect spot for pictures due to its unique architecture! For a different experience, try visiting at night as the building's lights create a totally different and breathtaking view.
Credit: @daochu_pai on Instagram Directions: Take Nan Tou Bus 6671 Sun Moon Lake - Shuili-Checheng or bus 6801 Sun Moon Lake- Sitou and stop at Xiangshan visitor center. Lalu Island  Take a shuttle boat to this tiny but beautiful island in Sun Moon Lake. It used to be inhabited by the Thao people but the community has split due to the building of a dam in the 1930s. Although it is small and fragile for tourists to explore, you can still have a great view of it from the boat (or a drone)!
Credit: @chosetotravel on Instagram The boat runs from 9am to 5pm daily but may vary depending on the season. If you did not opt for a Sun Moon Lake Pass, purchase the boat tickets from any of the boat ticket booths near the Shuishe, Syuanguang or Ita Thao Pier. Check out the boat schedule here. Ita Thao While you're on the boat, make a stop at Ita Thao! There are a few of old aboriginal Thao people’s old villages at Ita Thao Pier. You can also find an abundance of street food, souvenir shops and restaurants to enjoy here☺️
Credit: @clariszatan on InstagramFormosa Aboriginal Cultural Village Getting to the village is an experience in itself! Take gondola cable car service from Ita Thao and enjoy a magnificent view of the Lake from the top?
Credit: @ddrdianne on Instagram Drop by Formosa Aboriginal Cultural Village, a theme park introducing Taiwanese aboriginal culture and is famous based on its lush forest and beautiful European Garden. The best time to go is probably during the cherry blossom season. Check out the gorgeous flowers!
Credit: 九族文化村 Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village on Facebook And you can't possibly visit a theme park without trying out the rides, right?? Try their dry rides or for a more exciting experience, some of their wet rides!
Credit: 九族文化村 Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village on Facebook The best part is that there are Muslim-friendly restaurants at the park! Be sure to drop by Maya Restaurant, which offers Chinese and Western cuisine.
Credit: Sunmoonlake#HHWT Tip: There's also a prayer room and wudhu area in the park! Checheng Explore even deeper into Sun Moon at Checheng, a small rural village which used to be the terminus of the Jiji tourist railroad. It prospered for a while in early days due to the construction of the reservoir as well as the logging industry.
Credit: FT on Flickr But now that it's no longer bustling like the old days, it is a recreation area with both leisure and educational functions! In fact, the rich history of Checheng has recently been gaining popularity as it's known as the "secret garden.” Directions:  Take Nan Tou Bus 6671 Sun Moon Lake- Shuili-Checheng. You will stop at the last stop, Checheng. Shueili Snake Klin Immerse yourself in the Taiwanese culture at the oldest and most traditional kiln in the country. It is well-known for its innovative pottery art park! With a pottery art classroom, teahouse and 921 Disaster Memorial Hall, there's plenty to do here?
Credit: Sunmoonlake Directions: Take Bus 6288 Shuili- Shuanglung to reach Snake Klin from 6.10am to 4.30pm daily. Hugosum For those who love tea, this is a must-visit! Hugosum is a well-known black tea producer in Taiwan. The business has been passed on to the second generation who not only keep making tea, but continue promoting the art of tea in the country. Here, tea classes and tastings are organised daily upon reservation!
Credit: Hugosum on Facebook Directions: Take Bus 6289 from Puli East Station and stop at Xincheng. Then carpool a taxi to reach Hugosum. The ride takes about 30 minutes. #HHWT Tip: Vegetarian meals and prayer spaces are provided here upon request! Paper Dome This modern-day chapel is made of waterproof paper originally built for the survivors of the 1995 Kobe earthquake. After it fulfilled its original purpose, the dome was shipped all the way to the Taomi community, Taichung to continue its relief mission. It is now a popular attraction for sightseeing☺️
Credit: Sunmoonlake Directions: Take bus number 6670, 6668 or 6667 from Puli bus station (15-minute ride) and ask the driver to stop at Taomi Village. You will have to walk for 5 minutes from the highway to Paper Dome. Buses operate from 5:50 to around 21:00, and comes at intervals of 20 minutes in the morning and every hour for the rest of the day. Pulipaper DIY Workshop With more than 30 years of experience in the papermaking business, the paper here is sold to over 60 countries around the world.
Credit: @misameng_ on Instagram Discover how paper is made here or create your own DIY paper products! The place is pretty colourful and instagrammable too, if you ask us?
Credit: @rebecca_chen1207 on Instagram Directions: Take the HSR to Taichung Station, then take bus 6670 to Sun Moon Lake - stop at Puli. Then carpool to Pulipaper DIY Workshop for about 16 to 17 minutes.
Muslim-friendly Accommodations
You'd be surprised to know that there are many Muslim-friendly accommodations at Sun Moon Lake which offer Muslim-friendly cuisine, as well as dedicated spaces for wudhu and prayers? Note: Some restaurants also serve non-halal meat, but they are cooked separately and use different utensils. Tai Yi Red Maple Resort Choose from a range of accommodation types at this hotel, from farm to home stays and resorts! The hotel even comes equipped with its own natural spa. There's a natural mineral baththub in each bedroom - perfect for relaxing and basking in nature?
The resort also has a Halal-certified restaurant and a prayer space within it. Check it out here for more information! You Shan Grand Hotel This modern hotel is around 6 to 9 km from the renowned Paper Dome! This is best for big families as they have family rooms which can accommodate up to 8 people? Some rooms even come with privacy screens. The hotel is well-known for its amazing rooms, tasty food, and welcoming hospitality!
Credit: @yongyuxue on Instagram The best part is that the hotel is certified by the local Islamic association and one of the in-house restaurants, 16H, serves Halal set menus upon request. Do reserve your meal in advance! The Wen Wan Resort This used to be the accommodation for the Emperor of Japan in Taiwan, so you can get a feel of royalty while you're here? The resort is located on the highest point on the northwest side of the Sun Moon Lake, embracing the great views of the lake and mountains! It also has the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
Credit: Sunmoonlake This resort is awarded 2018 Chinese Muslim Association certification and also has a Muslim Friendly restaurant (Kitchen 139) offering you both oriental and Western cuisines to savour. Check it out more here!
Credit: @sunmoonlakeBlack Jazz Inn With spacious rooms and an amazing location, this Inn is perfect especially for those who love nature! It is also the first B&B to acquire the Muslim-friendly Certification for accommodations. You'd be happy to know that they have a full Halal kitchen and that prayer mats are available for rent if needed☺️
Credit: Black Jazz InnFleur De Chine Hotel If you love hot springs, this is the perfect hotel for you! The hotel discovered the first natural hot spring of Sun Moon Lake and guests can enjoy it right from the bathtub in your room. There's also a public bath house or Water World's hot spring, if you prefer to soak up  the heat outside. Try their Japanese-style rooms which have a gorgeous view of Sun Moon Lake!
Credit: 雲品溫泉酒店日月潭Fleur de Chine Hotel on Facebook The Rainbow Cloud Teppanyaki restaurant here serves Halal meals upon request, so do order your meal in advance! There's so much to discover at the Lake that we're sure your trip will nothing short of excitement! It's time to add Taiwan to your travel bucket list, and you can start by exploring the beautiful Sun Moon Lake?