Inspirational Cycling at Sun Moon Lake

What you missed…..

Several weeks ago, after the Giant Cup National Race, Jen and I went to explore Sun Moon Lake by bike. We both had our road bikes with us and it made for a delightful 30km cruise around the lake amidst stunning landscape that would have inspired Picasso to no end during his Blue Period (according to Lonely Planet). Sun Moon Lake is Taiwan’s largest fresh water lake and is ringed with high forested mountains that reach up to 800m high. It was a sunny cloudless day, however Jen was reluctant at first to jump on the bike as she saw how hilly it was – I managed to persuade her to attempt the 30km ride and we made sure we took our time stopping frequently to take in the many sights on offer. Biking around the lake is a very popular choice of activity as evidenced by the large groups of Taiwanese riding. We enjoyed hot steamed noodle for lunch on the main cobbled road at Shuishe Village which re-energized us for the push to complete the loop.

There is an off-road section for about 8km – Yuetan Bikeway – there is a cycle lane for part of it and then it climbs up through dense natural forest where you are riding off-road for several kilometres. The trail was smooth enough to still ride our road bikes on – but carefully. When the rest of Taiwan has bad weather, the sun is usually still shinning in this part of the country. It can be a nice getaway place for the weekend if you want to get away from the cities and unwind. We spent almost five hours on our leisurely trip including the stop for lunch, but if you are keen on cycling around the entire lake without stopping, it can be done in about 1.5-2 hours, however you would miss out on the numerous sights along the way.

We found an excellent hidden away outdoor cafe nestled among coffee and palm trees, not far up a secluded road that seemed off the beaten track (Zhong Shan Road). The Cafe was run by a Taiwanese couple who grew their own coffee beans all over the mountain area they owned. The price of the coffee and tea covered admission to the museum they have on display. We highly recommend this place if you can find it. The coffee they brew for you is a fantastic way to end your ride and the tea they serve has so much flavor. Jen loved the place so much that she wrote:
“What a wonderful, rare treat to stumble on this place. I thought I was stopping for a nice hot drink and what I found was so much more. From the beauty of one man’s life’s work, to the warm and loving hospitality. This is now my favorite spot in Taiwan; sitting with a nice view of Sun Moon Lake and the mountains, sipping red tea and coffee prepared by masters in their trade…”

For further information on cycling at the lake and how to get there you can refer to this website: Cycling at Sun Moon Lake.

Here is a good report about Sun Moon Lake found on Lonely Planet (not cycling related).
This has become one of our favorite spots in Taiwan. Will definitely be coming back and do some further exploring. A must see destination to include on your travel list when you come to Taiwan.

One Response

  1. Scott Phillips 21 November, 2009

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