Bicycling in Sun Moon Lake

Offering crystal blue water surrounded by amazing temples, bamboo forests and mountains on all sides, Sun Moon Lake is Taiwan’s most visited attraction. The waters are blue and deep (it’s the largest body of water on the island), and the reflection of the mountains and clouds dancing across the lake itself have inspired poets for generations.

But Sun Moon Lake is also an excellent spot for cyclists, thanks to the 30-kilometer long loop extending around the lake’s perimeter. While only some of the road is considered a dedicated cycling path, the sections that aren’t are so beautiful that the few cars and buses you’ll pass along the way tend to drive slowly. Their drivers, after all, are as intent with soaking up the scenery as any other visitors to the area.

The overall beauty and bicycle friendliness of Sun Moon Lake has not gone unnoticed by the world at large. Not only is Sun Moon considered a must-visit spot for international cyclists who are increasingly seeing Taiwan as a bucket list cycling destination, but the area was recently named among the world’s top ten  Cycling routes that’ll take your breath away by CNN.

The reason for this may well be a combination of both the area’s natural beauty and the number of cultural spots along the route. There are four outstanding temples, each with their own unique characters and history. The fact that the road passes through two towns with excellent tons of places to stop and eat doesn’t hurt anything. Our favorite of the two is Ita Thao on edge of the southeastern part of the lake. Ita Thao has a more tribal vibe than Shuishe (the larger town of the two) and boasts a good street market with several stands selling excellent food and surprisingly good coffee.

Though Sun Moon Lake is a great spot to visit pretty much any time of the year, the annual Sun Moon Lake Come! Bikeday weekend is an especially great time for cyclists to visit. Held this year on the eleventh and twelfth of November, the weekend long cycling festival promises to incorporate rides and activities for cyclists of all ages and levels. (Read more: The Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area – An Experience Wholly Different Every Few Hours)

On Saturday (11/11), riders will be able to challenge themselves by riding from the lake to the second highest peak in Taiwan. Though the distance is only 80km, the altitude gain of 2562 meters makes this ride a real challenge.

Things really get cooking on Sunday (11/12), including a group ride around the 30km perimeter of the lake designed to show visitors exactly why the area was named a top ten cycling spot.  There also be a family oriented bike trail fun ride along the waterside. At around 10km, the Bike Trail Fun Ride is perfect for families, couples and kids looking for a super leisurely “no pressure” riding experience. And for the little kids, the Children’s Push Bike Competition will give kids ages 2 to 6 a safe and fun space to be introduced to the wonderful world of cycling. (Read more: Eight Unforgettable Taiwan Cycling Routes)

Throughout the weekend there will be plenty of other activities, including dances, cycling exhibitions and shows, and of course, plenty of food. Expect a general cycling themed carnival atmosphere to prevail!

Want to learn more about this November’s Sun Moon Lake Cycling Weekend? Click here.

Interested in exploring the temples, mountains and scenery that have for centuries made Sun Moon Lake a favorite spot for travelers and inspiration for poets? MyTaiwanTour offers single and multi-day tours specifically designed around the area. Check them out at our tour page!