Said to be one of “10 Breathtaking Cycling Routes” around the world by CNN News in 2012, I was able to experience the Yuetan Bike Path around Sun Moon Lake from Shuishe, Taiwan. You can choose to do the leisurely 12-kilometer (7.5-mile) in-and-out section, or cycle around the entire 29 kilometers (18 miles).
The trail is a truly pleasant and scenic experience. Along with cycling around the lake’s sparkling turquoise waters and taking in skyline views and colorful boats, there are small beaches, wildlife like frogs and birds, and lush flora like bamboo trees, banana trees, ferns, palm trees, rice paddies and more. You’ll ride over some modern bridges that look like abstract works of art, as well as see locals selling street food, fishing and enjoying scenic strolls along the water. There are a few attractions you can visit along the way, including the Xiangshan Visitor Center, Longfeng Temple (where they worship the God of Matchmaking) and the Shui she Dam.
Those interested in doing the bike trail can rent a bike from Giant (known for their extremely high quality bikes) right before the trail for about $6 per hour. Additionally, you can stay at the beautiful Sun Moon Lake Hotel, which rents bikes to guests for free and offers aerial views of the lake and trail from their floor-to-ceiling windows. The hotel is located right on the trail, so you can cycle right out their back door onto it.
In November each year, the country hosts the Taiwan Cycling Festival. The event features an entire month of organized and themed bike rides, with the kick-off being Come Bike Day at Sun Moon Lake where the winners of the previous day’s King of Mountain Race (KOM) are awarded and people celebrate and bike around the lake. For more information, contact the Taiwan Tourism Board.
Interested in seeing what the experience is like for yourself? Check out the photos below for a glimpse into my day cycling around Taiwan’s Sun Moon Lake. Note these were taken when the water was low because there had just been a large amount of rain, and Sun Moon Lake is even more beautiful when the water is higher.
What’s your favorite scenic cycling trail around the world?