17 Best Things to Do in Nantou

Nantou Attractions

Nantou County is renowned for its tea plantations, which stretch as far as the eye can see. However, the real pride of the county is the Sun Moon Lake; an ethereally beautiful lake located in the Yuchi Township. The biggest lake in all of Taiwan, its name is derived from the fact that it is divided into 2 by the small Lalu Island. One half of the lake resembles the spherical sun while the other looks like a crescent moon.

During your stay, you can visit the historical and cultural sites around the lake or take a stroll along the many hiking trails there. Nantou County is rich in history and its background is every bit as charming as its locals.

1

Bamboo Rock Garden

Sun Moon Lake offers many scenic spots, but the Bamboo Rock Garden is one place you have to visit. The garden’s many trees offer a shady respite from the sun and a place to rest. Ardent photographers can attempt to capture the beauty of the towering bamboo plants.

There is a butterfly garden and a hotel within the grounds. The Tea Research and Extension Station is a short stroll away, too, so be sure to visit it if you have a thirst and time to spare.

Location: No. 8, Zhongshan Road, Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 555

Phone: +886 (0)4 9285 6679

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2

Carp Lake

Carp Lake is a very scenic tourist spot, and although it may be located near the outskirts of the township, there’s plenty to see and do here. It’s an especially good spot if you like outdoors activities since you can go boating, camping, picnicking and hiking. The shoreline is fairly well developed, so don't go expecting beautiful natural scenery. However, that development means that there's a good choice of restaurants and hotels immediately around the water.

Location: Puli Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 545

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photo by Fred Hsu (CC BY-SA 3.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred

3

Ci'en Pagoda

The Ci En Pagoda was erected by the former President Chiang Kai-shek as a tribute to his late mother. Standing at 1,046 metres above sea level, with Shabalan Mountain as a stunning backdrop, the pagoda is 9 storeys high. Travelers can climb up all nine levels and enjoy splendid views of the lake.

Location: Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 555

Open: Daily from 9am to 4.30pm

Phone: +886 (0)4 9285 5668

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4

Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village

The Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village is a fun and informative way to learn about the early cultures of Taiwan. You’ll be enthralled with the range of shows specially performed by the Yamei, Puwan and Yen tribes. Dinner is also served and you can taste authentic dishes exquisitely prepared by master chefs from these tribes.

Location: No. 45, Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 555

Open: Daily from 9.30am to 5pm (Saturdays and Sundays until 5.30pm)

Phone: +886 (0)4 9289 5361

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photo by Bernard Gagnon (CC BY-SA 3.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred

5

Ita Thao

Ita Thao is a village populated by the Thao people – an aboriginal Taiwanese community. The Thao locals were originally from Alishan, but based on legend, they were enticed to settle down at Sun Moon Lake instead. Today, what was previously known as Dehua Village is now the official Thao settlement in Nantou.

Travellers can watch numerous cultural performances here while shopping at the marketplace, which offers many a souvenir as well as arts and crafts lovingly produced by the Thao natives.

Location: Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 555

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photo by lienyuan lee (CC BY 3.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred

6

Meihe Garden

Located by the shore of Sun Moon Lake, the name Meihe Garden derives from the phrase ‘plum and water lily’. This used to be the site of a military police station but today it’s one of the most scenic spots in Nantou.

Location: No. 114-3, Zhongxing Road, Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 555

Phone: +886 (0)4 9285 5668

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7

Mu Sheng Insect Museum

The Mu Sheng Insect Museum in Puli boasts a wonderful variety of butterflies. Both kids and adults alike will love spending a day here learning about butterflies and other insects. Entrance costs about NT$120 for adults and NT$100 for children.

The museum has a children’s play area and a petting zoo, populated with bunnies and birds instead of beetles and bugs. Nearby cafés serve cool refreshments and visitors are also welcome to pack their own lunches and picnic on the park benches around the museum.

Location: No. 6-2, Nancun Road, Puli Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 545

Open: Thursday–Tuesday from 9am to 5pm (closed on Wednesdays)

Phone: +886 (0)4 9291 3311

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8

Puli Winery

Thanks to its fresh air and warm summers, Nantou County is home to premium Taiwanese wine. One such quality wine can be found at the Puli Winery, where exquisite Shaohsing wine is made. The wine is unlike rice wine, being a vibrant yellow in colour. Many travellers choose to visit Puli – also known as the ‘Hometown of Shaohsing Wine’ – where they can sample this delectable concoction and bring home a bottle or 2 as souvenirs.

Location: No. 219, Section 3, Zhongshan Road, Puli Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 545

Open: Daily from 8.30am to 5pm (Saturdays and Sundays until 5.30pm)

Phone: +886 (0)4 9298 4006

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photo by Ray Swi-hymn (CC BY-SA 2.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred

9

Wenwu Temple

Wenwu Temple is the result of 2 post-Japanese-era temples being combined as a single entity. The locals here had Wenwu Temple built in place of two temples when rising lake waters threatened to submerge the buildings.

At first glance, the temple looks every bit like a traditional Confucius temple reminiscent to those found in Northern China. The structure is majestic and a sight to behold. With so many travellers visiting each day, officials thought it would be wiser to leave the main gates open for tourists’ convenience, so it is accessible throughout the day.

Location: No. 63, Zhongzheng Road, Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 555

Phone: +886 (0)4 9285 5122

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10

Batongguan Historic Trail

The Batongguan Historic Trail was established by soldiers in 1875, during the rule of the Qing dynasty. Along the trail, you will find numerous stone inscriptions that act as milestones in the history on the area as well as distance. These include the “Wan Nian Heng Cyu” stone inscription made on a gargantuan boulder. When translated, it reads: “The opening of the roads expedites trade and travel to the benefit of future generations”.

Besides learning about the deep-rooted history of Nantou, you can also bask in the beauty of the Central Mountain Range.

Location: Xinyi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 556

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photo by Thunder24678 (CC BY-SA 2.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred

11

Hanbi Hiking Trail

The Hanbi Hiking Trail is perfect for travellers who want to tour Sun Moon Lake at their own leisurely pace. The red-brick-paved trail is 1.5 km long. As you stroll down the trail, you’re treated to sights of Lalu Island and the Ci’en pagoda rising majestically against the mountainous backdrop.

Location: Shuishe Village, Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 555

Phone: +886 (0)4 9285 5353

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photo by rheins (CC BY 3.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred

12

Lalu Island

Previously known as Guanghua Island, Lalu Island in Sun Moon Lake is one of the most scenic in all of Taiwan. People from around Taiwan flock to the island’s ‘matchmaker shrine’ to have their prayers answered so that they may find their soul mates and enjoy a perfect marriage.

Location: Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 555

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photo by lienyuan lee (CC BY 3.0) cropped, calibrated, blurred

13

Sip English tea at The Old England Manor

If having English tea in Nantou sounds odd, wait till you visit The Old England Manor. This well-known hotel was established by a man so enamoured with all things English that he spent a whopping NT$800 million to bring back a slice of England to central Taiwan.

The sculptures, gardens, furnishing and every single element reflect the old English charms that many experience during their stay in Nantou. Be sure to try the authentic English afternoon tea.

Location: No. 20-3, Ren’ai Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 546

Phone: +886 (0)4 9280 1808

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14

Nantou County Culture Park

The Nantou County Culture Park houses the County History Hall, the Nantou Pottery Exhibition Hall, Art Archive Hall and County History Reference Hall. It’s a goldmine for those keen to learn about the area’s history.

You may also want to visit the Wu-De Temple, an old structure which was first built in 1937. During the height of the Japanese occupation, the vast temple was being used as a sparring ground for police personnel to hone their kendo and judo skills. Today, the temple is a favourite spot for both locals and visitors alike.

Location: No. 65, Section 2, Zhangnan Road, Nantou City, Nantou County, Taiwan 540

Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 9am to 5pm (closed on Mondays)

Phone: +886 (0)4 9220 2430

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photo by Cloudcolors (CC BY-SA 2.5) cropped, calibrated, blurred

15

Nantou Global Tea Expo

Nantou was the natural choice as the home of the first Global Tea Expo because of its rich history of tea growing. While the global conference has moved on, Nantou continues to hold an annual festival of tea.

The mountainous terrain in Nantou makes it ideal for the tea plants and the Nantou Global Tea Expo shows visitors just how sought-after the teas from this part of the world are. Generally held around October, you shouldn’t miss this opportunity to try out the vast array of fragrant teas produced in the Nantou region.

Location: Jhongxing Village, Nantou County, Taiwan 540

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16

Bamboo Art Museum

The Bamboo Art Museum showcases Nantou’s famous wealth of this particular natural resource and the creative uses people have found for it. Visitors can learn about the history of the bamboo trade and industry in the green city while appreciating both modern and traditional bamboo art. The museum provides information on how important bamboo is for food, clothing, arts and crafts and even accommodation in Nantou.

Location: No. 135, Jianguo Road, Nantou City, Nantou County, Taiwan 540

Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 9am to 5pm

Phone: +886 (0)4 9223 1191

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17

Maolan Hiking Trail

The 4.6-km Maolan Hiking Trail is ideal for travellers who want to explore the beautiful mountains and verdant greenery around the Nantou countryside and don’t mind it taking a bit of time and effort. Enjoy the views over the tea plantations, with Sun Moon Lake just a stone’s throw away. You’ll find lots of fresh air and beautiful scenery, making for a great day out.

Location: No. 292, Zhongshan Road, Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 555

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Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveler

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