A Travel Guide to Nantou, Taiwan’s Central Mountain County

A sea of clouds in Nantou county Taiwan

Nantou (南投) is Taiwan’s only landlocked county and the geographical center of Taiwan.

This mostly mountainous county is home to several of the country’s highest peaks (more than 40 of them are over 3000 meters!) and most popular tourist attractions. These include Sun Moon Lake (the country’s largest lake), Cingjing Farm (a high mountain European-style farm), Hehuan Mountain (the best place in Taiwan to see snow) and Yushan (the country’s tallest mountain).

Nantou also has some of Taiwan’s best oolong teas, including dongding tea from Lugu region and Shanlinxi tea from Sun Link Sea area, as well as (unique for Taiwan) black tea in the Sun Moon Lake region.

In this guide, I’ll cover all the complicated logistics for visiting Nantou, including the top and lesser-known attractions, how to get to them, where to stay, the best tours, what to eat there, and more. All this info comes from multiple visits in my many years of living in Taiwan.

Nantou Introduction

A young man sitting crosslegged on a rock giving two thumbs up with beautiful mountain scenery behind him
My friend with beautiful Nantou scenery

Long before the Chinese arrived, Taiwanese aboriginal tribes like the Atayal, Bunun, and Tsou were familiar with the mountains of Nantou. The name Nantou comes from the aboriginal name for the area, Ramtau.

In 1950, Nantou was made into its own county separate from Taichung, and Nantou City was named its capital. Travelers to Nantou are much more likely to pass through Puli township, which has some interesting attractions and is a gateway to Sun Moon Lake, Cingjing Farm, and Hehuan Mountain.

Two men standing in the water below a large waterfall
My friends under a waterfall in Nantou

On September 21, 1999, the disastrous 921 Earthquake was centered at Jiji (集集) in Nantou. Causing 2415 deaths, it was the second worst in Taiwan’s history after an earthquake in 1935. Some of the most famous remains of the disaster are the Jiji Wuchang Temple in Nantou and the 921 Earthquake Museum in Taichung.

Today, Nantou’s economy is based on agriculture, including tea, bamboo products, and delicious high mountain cabbage (高麗菜). Tourism also plays an important role.

I used to have an American friend who was one of the only foreigners living in Puli at the time. I had a great time visiting her there, as she knew about several hidden waterfalls in the area. I’ve taken my kids to Sun Moon Lake several times, and most recently, I rented a car to drive up to Cingjing Farm and Hehuanshan.

Getting to Nantou

This section is going to be a little long because there is a lot to know about getting around Nantou.

Looking at a map, you might think it’s easy to get to Nantou from any of its neighboring counties, like Hualien, Kaohsiung, Chiayi, Yunlin, Changhua, or Taichung. In reality, it’s only really feasible to visit Nantou from Taichung.

Taichung is the main access point to most of the popular tourist places in Nantou. Start by taking the High Speed Rail or regular (TRA) train to Taichung. Also read: Tips for Buying Train Tickets in Taiwan.

Sun Moon Lake, Cingjing Farm, and Hehuanshan

Nick Kembel wearing black and pink cap, black long sleeved shirt, taking selfie while leaning on the hood of a white car, with mountain vista in the background
I love driving in Nantou

From the Taichung HSR station (see my HSR guide) or regular train station (see my Taiwan trains guide) in Taichung, there are buses to Sun Moon Lake and to Cingjing Farm.

The line for the bus to Sun Moon Lake can be very long, so it’s best to book your bus tickets to Sun Moon Lake online.

You may notice that Nantou county’s bus company is one of the few in Taiwan that publish reliable bus times in English on their website. Here’s the page for Cingjing Farm buses and Sun Moon Lake buses.

Buses from Taichung to both Sun Moon Lake and Cingjing Farm will pass through Puli on the way. Some people like to make a stop in Puli to see a few things on the way (I’ll cover those below).

The bus to Sun Moon Lake passes by more of Puli’s attractions. If you’re traveling between Sun Moon Lake and Cingjing, you’ll drive through or change buses in Puli. 

Two men sitting on a scooter with a rice paddy behind them
My friends riding a scooter just outside Puli

Because the bus to Cingjing Farm is infrequent, and some hotels are inconveniently located up steep hills there, some travelers take private transfers or rent a car to drive there.

Here’s are private transfers from Taichung to Cingjing or Sun Moon Lake to Cingjing, or cheaper shared transfers from Taichung to Cingjing or Sun Moon Lake to Cingjing.

If you rent a car, you will have more flexibility for exploring Sun Moon Lake, Cingjing Farm, Hehuanshan, and many other more difficult-to-reach destinations in the area (see more on this below). I recommend renting a car on Klook with pickup at Taichung HSR station. Read about how I rented a car at Taichung HSR station here.

You can also hire a private driver for exploring Nantou.

A white toyota car parked on the white stripes on the side of a highway with metal railing behind it and misty mountaintops in background
Driving to Hehuanshan

Hehuanshan, famous for its sunrises, hiking trails, and the chance to see snow in January or February, is further up the mountain highway from Cingjing Farm. The very limited (only 3 per day) bus 6658A goes from Cingjing Farm to Hehuanshan. Don’t miss the last one back!

For more, see my guide to getting from Taichung to Cingjing Farm/Hehuanshan.

After Wuling Pass (武嶺, the highest drivable pass in Taiwan, at 3275 meters) and Hehuanshan, Highway 14甲 meets Highway 8 (the Central Cross-Island Highway) which traverses Taiwan from Taichung to Taroko Gorge in Hualien (see next section below).

You can also connect nearby to Highway 7甲, which cuts north pass Lishan and Wuling Farm (a famous cherry blossom viewing place) in Taichung to Taipingshan (another popular mountain resort) in Yilan county.

Driving from Nantou to Hualien

A steep, sharp turn in a high mountain road
Typical turn on Highway 14 between Nantou and Hualien counties

2024 update: Due to the April 3 earthquake, Taroko Gorge is closed until further notice (estimated one year), so it is not possible to drive from Nantou to Taroko Gorge. The below information is from before the earthquake. See my guide to things you can still do in Hualien following the earthquake.

In 2022, at least 5 sections of Highway 14 from Hehuanshan area to Taroko Gorge was severely damaged by landslides. This has caused major delays on this route to this day.

The road situation is constantly changing. Some spots have designated opening times for cars to pass every day, while some are open or closed at random.

The latest updates about road conditions and closure times are here, for Highway 8 as well as other high mountain roads in the area. Click on the small arrow beside Highway 8 and the other highways around there.

The information on the national park website can be hard to understand, though. I suggest you join my Taiwan Travel Planning group and search my most recent posts about Taroko. There, I interpret the announcements and even made a made showing the affected spots and what time they will be open or closed.

Overall, if you plan to drive from Nantou to Hualien (or vice versa), I recommend that you start your day very early and expect the drive to take a full day. Besides the delays from road work, this is a very slow and winding high mountain drive. But is is very beautiful!

Going from Sun Moon Lake to Alishan

Since many travelers include Sun Moon Lake in Nantou and Alishan in Chiayi on their Taiwan itinerary, it only makes sense to travel directly between them.

Bus 6739 only travels once per day from this stop in Shuishe village at Sun Moon Lake to Alishan. It departs at 8 AM.

You can swipe your EasyCard to board the bus, but at popular times like weekends, holidays, or cherry blossoms season (February to April), it can be sold out for days in advance. Therefore, I suggest you follow my guide to booking your Sun Moon Lake to Alishan bus tickets in advance.

From Alishan bus station, the bus departs for Sun Moon Lake at 1 PM. The ride takes about 4 hours.

If these times are not convenient for you, you can also go from Sun Moon Lake to Taichung HSR or TRA station by bus (90 minutes), ride the HSR or TRA to Chiayi, then catch the bus from Chiayi HSR or TRA station to Alishan.

Here are the bus times from Chiayi HSR to Alishan and Chiayi TRA Station to Chiayi.   

Other Places in Nantou

A forest of trees changing colors in fall
Autumn foliage at Sun Link Sea

For Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area (奧萬大國家森林遊樂區), famous for its autumn foliage, you’ll need to drive to get there or take this Aowanda day tour.

For Xitou Nature Education Area (溪頭自然教育園區) and Xitou Monster Village (妖怪村), bus 6801 goes six times per day from Sun Moon Lake and bus 6883 goes about a dozen times per day from Taichung. It takes about 1.5 hours from either one.

The same bus (from Taichung to Xitou) also continues on to Sun Link Sea (衫林溪 or “Shan Lin Xi”) Forest Recreation Area only once per day, departing Taichung HSR station at 10:30, getting there at 12:15 and departing at 2:50, giving you 2 hours and 35 minutes to explore the park.

Although Yushan (玉山), Taiwan’s tallest mountain, is in Nantou, hikers are more likely to get there via Alishan in Chiayi. A permit is required – book here for assistance, but getting a spot is not guaranteed.

Where to Stay in Nantou

Hotels and dock on the waterfront at Ita Thao village
Lakefront hotels at Sun Moon Lake

At Sun Moon Lake, Shuishe Village is more convenient because buses to Taichung and Alishan depart/arrive there.

I recommend Blue Sky Bay B&B (see on Booking / Agoda) for mid-range accommodation. The Lalu (see on Klook / Agoda) is one of the best resorts in Taiwan, with incredible views from the rooms. For a cheap dorm room, try Deer Traveler Hostel (see on Booking / Agoda).

Personally, I prefer Ita Thao Village for its more local feel, aboriginal food street, and proximity to Sun Moon Lake Ropeway.

In Ita Thao, we love staying at these Cabins (see on Booking) on the edge of town. Shuiyang Hotel (see on Booking / Agoda) has great lake views while perBed (see on Booking / Agoda) is the only hostel in town.

Nick Kembel playing with his two kids inside a wooden cabin at Sun Moon Lake
Me and my kids in a cabin in Ita Thao Village, Sun Moon Lake

At Qingjing Farm, Abin Minshuku (see on Booking / Agoda) is great for families, Iris Guesthouse (see on Booking / Agoda) is a super friendly local guesthouse with nice views, and The Old England Manor (see on Booking / Agoda) is a fancy choice with high tea.

In Lugu tea region, we loved our stay at Yu Tao Yuan Guesthouse (see on Agoda / Klook). The owner is a tea aficionado.

A giant red monster statue with long nose in the foreground and red balconies with monster faces on them in the background
Xitou Monster Village Hotel

In Xitou Monster Village, you can stay in a Monster-themed hotel (see on Booking / Agoda) right in the village. There are also some great cabins in the area like this one, or guesthouses like this one and this one.

In Yushan National Park area, try this hot spring hotel.

Top Things to Do in Nantou

I’ll separate the below attractions into Sun Moon Lake, Puli, Cingjing Farm, Hehuanshan, and Other Places in Nantou.

Sun Moon Lake

Aerial view of Sun Moon Lake surrounded by forests
Beautiful Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake is the most popular place in Nantou county and one of Taiwan’s top tourist attractions. This pretty lake has a few temples with beautiful views, a gondola, Taiwanese aboriginal culture, and both CNNGo and Skyscanner have called it one of the best cycling destinations in the world.

There are two main villages on Sun Moon Lake. Shuishe (水社) is the main one, where buses from Taichung and Alishan arrive and depart.

Hotels and dock on the waterfront at Ita Thao village
Ita Thao village

On the other side of the lake, Ita Thao (伊達邵) is an aboriginal village with a great food street in the afternoon and early evening. It has has a small but very authentic aboriginal center called Kalapaw (鹿臺教室), with performances at 11 and 5 (weekdays, but closed Mon/Tues) and 11, 3, and 5 (weekends).

Sun Moon Lake Ropeway is walking distance from Ita Thao village. The first gondola goes up to a viewpoint of the lake.

From there, a second one descends into Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village, a theme park + (less authentic) aboriginal museum and performance center, which is also one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Taiwan in February.

The orange roofs of a large temple with Sun Moon Lake in the background
Wenwu Temple

Buses run part way around the lake, from Shuishe to Wenwu Temple to Sun Moon Lake Ropeway to Ita Thao to Ci En Pagoda to Xuanzang Temple and back. There are also boats (TWD 100 per ride or discounted day pass here) between Shuishe, Ita Thao, and Xuanguang Temple.

Cycling around the lake is very popular. You can rent bikes here in Shuishe village. The easiest cycling path (recommended for families) is the lakeside cycling boardwalk going west from Shuishe towards Xiangshan. The more difficult way is going east from Shuishe to Wenwu Temple, Sun Moon Lake Ropeway, and Ita Thao village. There are more hills and sometimes you’ll be cycling at the side of the road.

It’s also possible to take bikes on boats for an extra fee. Electric bikes are also available. Swimming is not allowed in the lake (except once per year, see “Nantou events” section at the end), but SUPing is a popular activity near the SML Ropeway station.

There are several Sun Moon Lake Passes, deals, and tour options, which I’ll cover in different sections below.


A very tall Buddhist monastery
Chung Tai Chan Monastery in Puli

Puli is the city you’re most likely to pass through in Nantou. If you’re heading to Cingjing Farm, the bus will make a short stop at Puli Station but won’t pass any of Puli’s famous places.

Buses from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake will also stop at Puli Station, but then they’ll pass by a few tempting attractions where you might want to get off.

These include Paper Dome (紙教堂), a unique structure made out of paper and Nina Chocolate Dream Castle (Cona’s妮娜巧克力夢想城堡), both at the same stop.

A hand holding up a bag of tea called Royal Ruby Black Tea
Ruby Red black tea at Antique Assam Tea Farm

Closer to Sun Moon Lake, you may also want to stop at Antique Assam TeaFarm (日月老茶廠), a tea farm and former processing factory, where you can learn about and taste Sun Moon Lake region’s unique and very delicious Ruby Red #18 tea (紅玉紅茶). It is rare in a country that mostly produces oolong and some green teas.

Other attractions worth mentioning in Puli are the huge Chung Tai Chan Monastery and Buddhist Museum (​​中台禪寺), the headquarters of one of Taiwan’s four major Buddhist sects and tallest Buddhist monastery in the world. The monastery is a little north of town.

There’s also the Geographical Center of Taiwan Monument (臺灣地理中心碑, nothing so special, but just cool to know it’s there) and several waterfalls on the drive up to Cingjing Farm.

Read my Puli travel guide to find out more about these attractions and how to visit them.

Cingjing Farm

Some sheep on a hillside with cherry blossoms at the bottom and mountains beyond
Beautiful Cingjing Farm

Cingjing Farm (清境農場 or Qingjing Nongchang) is Nantou’s second most popular attraction. See more more detailed Cingjing Farm guide here.

The farm has some interesting history. When China’s KMT army fled to Taiwan, thousands of soldiers were placed around the island. A group of soldiers from Yunnan province were given this remote, high mountain farmland.

Over time, they developed this into a European-styled tourist leisure farm. Tourists flock there to see sheep shearing shows and Mongolian horsemanship performances. The farm has stunning mountain views, a long Skywalk for admiring those views, a Swiss Garden, and a restaurant mostly made of paper called Carton King.

A long skywalk with some people on it and mountains and a white windmill in the distance
Cingjing Skywalk

Cingjing Farm is quite large, so it requires several hours to visit. There’s an aging official accommodation plus dozens of great guesthouses in the area.

It’s important to note that the area is hilly, so getting from your hotel to the farm could involve some steep uphill or downhill walking. This is why some people choose to drive or take private shuttles to Cingjing (see “Getting to Nantou” section above).

There’s also a Cingjing Farm Pass and several tour options for Cingjing Farm, which I’ll cover in sections below. Cinging Farm also has cherry blossoms in February.


Some mountain peaks with clouds hovering around them
Hehuan Mountain

Hehuanshan (合歡山 or Hehuan Mountain) is one of Taiwan’s most famous and accessible high mountains. See my Hehuanshan guide here.

The mountain actually consists of four peaks, with the highest being 3422 meters. You can drive as high as Wuling Pass (3275 meters), the highest navigable pass in Taiwan, from where it only takes 1-4 hours to hike to any of the summits.

Hehuanshan is famous for its sunrises, so many people visit on a sunrise viewing tour from Cingjing Farm.

Hehuanshan is one of the easiest places to see snow in Taiwan, but even then, you need a bit of luck. Snow only falls sometimes in January or February. And when it does, the highway often becomes clogged with locals trying to see it. Chains may be required on car tires for safety reasons.

The only hotel at Hehuanshan is Songsyue Lodge (松雪樓), which used to be a ski resort. Its rooms and hikers dorms are notoriously hard to book (click the link to read how I did it).

You can even see the remains of a ski lift if you hike from the ski lodge to Hehuanshan East Peak.

Other Places in Nantou

A trail through the forest with lots of leaves on the ground
Hiking trail in Aowanda

Lushan Hot Spring (盧山溫泉) is a hot spring village with many hot spring resorts near Qingjing Farm, while Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area (奧萬大國家森林遊樂區) is one of the best places to see autumn foliage in Taiwan – best in December. You’ll need a car to reach either one.

In the Sun Moon Lake area, but best visited by car, Shuiyuan Suspension Bridge (雙龍七彩吊橋) is one of Taiwan’s most beautiful suspension bridges. The whole bridge is painted in rainbow colors and has amazing views.

It takes some time and effort to visit. You’ll need to park in one of the lots on the road leading up to it, then ride a shuttle bus or walk up. Plan for at least 2 hours to visit, including hiking to the waterfalls on the other side.

Some tourists posing for photos on a long suspension bridge painted in rainbow colors, with a series of waterfalls in the background
Shuiyuan Suspension Bridge

From Shuili (水里鄉), south of Sun Moon Lake, the long and winding Highway 21 leads up to Yushan (玉山, Taiwan’s tallest mountain) and Alishan.

You can stop at Tataka Visitor Center (塔塔加遊客中心) and do some short hikes in the national park. You won’t easily be able to see Yushan, though. The Sun Moon Lake-to-Alishan bus goes this way, but there’s only one bus per day.

For any serious hiking in the park, including the famous hike to Yushan Peak, you’ll need a permit. These permits are limited and there’s a lottery system for getting them. It’s easiest to go through an organized tour.

There are a few hot spring hotels on the edge of the park, at Dongpu Hot Spring (東埔溫泉).

A traditional Taiwanese temple that has been severely damaged by an earthquake
The remains of Jiji Wuchang Temple

In Jiji (集集), the epicenter of the 921 Earthquake, Jiji Wuchang Temple (集集武昌宮) is the best reminder of this devastating event. The whole temple caved in and then has been left as is since then.

The Jiji Small Train Line, less famous than other ones in Taiwan like the Pingxi Railway Line and Alishan Forest Railway, runs from Ershui Station (on the main west coast train line) to Jiji, Shuli, and Checheng.

Clumps of tea bushes in the foreground, with some visitors standing on a viewing platform at the top left
Dalunshan Tea Farm

One more route worth noting in Nantou is Highway 151. The highway passes through the Lugu (鹿谷) tea growing region, famous for its dongding oolong tea (凍頂烏龍茶). If you’ve got a car and can handle a small mountain road, Dalunshan Tea Farm (大崙山觀光茶園) is very impressive. Dexing Waterfall (德興瀑布) is nearby.

After Lugu, the highway reaches Xitou Nature Education Area (溪頭自然教育園區), which features beautiful forest walks, ponds, and bridges.

Right next to it, Xitou Monster Village (溪頭妖怪村) is one of the more bizarre attractions in Taiwan – it’s a Japanese monster themed village with a cute story behind it. Click the link above to read all about it.

A Japanese looking wooden building with a red monster face statue with a long nose on the side
Xitou Monster Village

Even further past that, Sun Link Sea Forest and Nature Resort (杉林溪森林生態渡假園區 or Shanlinxi) is another forest park with more trails and waterfalls. It has cherry blossoms or autumn foliage in season.

You’re unlikely to visit Nantou City on your trip, but if you do, Babbuza Dreamfactory (半山夢工廠) is a top attraction in town, with cool architecture and kid’s activities like wall climbing. Nantou Theater (南投戲院) is a Japanese-era heritage theater that still shows films.

Lantian Academy (南投藍田書院) is a Confucian temple where students pray for good luck on exams.

Sun Moon Lake and Cingjing Farm Passes

A colorful and detailed pass with various entrance tickets on it
The Sun Moon Lake Pass can save you a little money

Nantou Bus Company sells various passes for Sun Moon Lake and Cingjing Farm. Depending on the pass you choose, they may included bus rides to and from SML/Cingjing + different combinations of attractions.

The passes can be a little complicated and come with several options. To make sense of the passes, see my guides to Sun Moon Lake passes and Cingjing Farm passes.

The passes can be purchased at the Nantou Bus Window at Taichung HSR station (1F exit 5) or Nantou Bus Station near Taichung Station.

Best Nantou Tours

A waterfall pouring off the side of a cliff surrounded by forest and walking trails below
Waterfall in Sun Link Sea

Because buses are limited and slow in Nantou, many visitors opt to take a tour or hire a private driver.

For Sun Moon Lake, this tour from Taichung is adventure focused, while this one or this one is better if you don’t want to do cycling.

While it’s a little rushed, you can visit both Sun Moon Lake and Cingjing Farm in one day on this SML + Cingjing day tour from Taichung. Personally, I prefer to spend at least one night in each of those places to have enough time to properly explore them.

For Cingjing Farm, there are several choices. This one gives you the most time at the farm. This one adds stops in Puli, this one goes all the way to Hehuanshan, and this one includes Gaomei Wetland.

To make your own itinerary for Sun Moon Lake and/or Cingjing Farm, hire a private driver here.

For Monster Village and Sun Link Sea, here’s a day tour from Taichung.

How to Plan Your Nantou Itinerary

A blue cable car with cute bear on the side and Sun Moon Lake far below
Sun Moon Lake Ropeway

Consider Nantou as a side-trip from your journey down the West Coast of Taiwan.

If you’re only visiting Sun Moon Lake, get there to and from Taichung. I recommend a minimum of one night at Sun Moon Lake, but two nights is more relaxed.

If you plan to visit both Sun Moon Lake and Cingjing, it doesn’t matter which one you visit first, but transfer between the two at Puli. I also recommend a minimum of one night at Cingjing Farm, or two nights for a more relaxed visit.

Some people visit Sun Moon Lake or Cingjing Farm as a day trip from Taichung (don’t try to visit both in one day). This is fine, but you’ll miss out staying overnight at a lakeside hotel at SML, or witnessing the spectacular sunset and sunrise in Cingjing area or Hehuanshan.

If you’re visiting Alishan next, it would make sense to do Taichung to Cingjing Farm to Sun Moon Lake to Alishan, as there is a direct bus from Sun Moon Lake to Alishan (see “Getting to Nantou” section above). If you’re coming from Alishan, do the same thing but in reverse.

If you also plan to visit Xitou area, do that as a day trip or overnight trip from Taichung. You can also take the bus from Sun Moon Lake to Xitou, then back to Taichung after that.

What to Eat in Nantou

A busy market street at night
Aboriginal food street in Ita Thao

At Sun Moon Lake, the best food can be enjoyed on the food street in Ita Thao village, especially aboriginal foods like millet dumplings (小米粽), bamboo rice tubes (竹筒飯), roasted boar meat (烤山豬), and millet wine (小米酒). Most stalls are open in the afternoon but close around 7-8 in the evening.

Sun Moon Lake is also known for its tea eggs (茶葉蛋). The tea eggs at this stall at Xuanguang Temple are legendary.

The region is also known for its unique Ruby Red black tea (紅玉紅茶), which has a subtle mint and cinnamon flavor. Try or purchase it from shops in Shuishe or Ita Thao, or at Antique Assam Tea Farm.

A vendor with many bottles of aboriginal millet wine and woman standing behind the stall
Aboriginal millet wine in Ita Thao

One of the highlights of visiting Cingjing Farm is the collection of Yunnan food stalls at the Food Court in the farm. Also try the fried cabbage (高麗菜) there – Nantou’s high mountain cabbage is famously delicious. The food court is located at the lower entrance to the farm, which is in between the upper sheep shearing area and lower horsemanship pavilion.

You can also try Yunnan food at this restaurant just north of Cinging, on the way to Hehuanshan. The restaurant is in Bowang Village, where most of the descendents of the original Yunnan settlers still live today.

Dongding oolong tea (凍頂烏龍茶) is lightly roasted and nutty. You can buy it from shops along the highway in Lugu, on the drive up to Xitou or Sun Link Sea.

A girl holding up a pink cookie shaped like a wtch finger
My daughter with a witch finger cookie

At Xitou Monster Village, there are some fun treats like severed witch finger cookies, eyeball chocolates, and poison ivy buns (with a real, but edible, poison ivy leaf on top).

If you love chocolate, don’t miss Nina Chocolate Dream Castle (Cona’s妮娜巧克力夢想城堡) in Puli or Nina Nina Chocolate Workshop (仁愛鄉清境創始店Cona’s 妮娜巧克力) at Cingjing.

Sunny Hills Nantou Store (微熱山丘南投三合院) is practically a place of pilgrimage for die-hard pineapple cake fans. This is the famous chain store’s original location. It’s set in a lovely old Taiwanese sanheyuan (courtyard house). It’s located here on Highway 139 west of Nantou city near the border with Changhua. The cakes made by Sunny Hills are less sweet and made with real pineapple.

Vegetarian options in Nantou may be limited. Learn how to say you are vegetarian or vegan here.

Nantou Events

Thousands of people swimming across a lake, with a dock leading out onto the lake and balloons in the sky
The Sun Moon Lake Mass Swim event

Cherry blossom viewing is a big deal in Nantou. The most famous spot is Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village at Sun Moon Lake. The cherry blossoms here are a darker pink variety. Come in February.

Here’s a map of other cherry blossoms spots around the lake. You can also see cherry blossoms at Cingjing Farm, Aowanda, and Sun Link Sea in February.

The annual Sun Moon Lake Mass Swim (日月潭國際萬人泳渡) is the only time that swimming is allowed in Sun Moon Lake. The event takes place in September and requires registration.

In October to November, the Sun Moon Lake Cycling, Music, and Fireworks Festival usually takes place, with various events at Shuishe Pier, usually on weekends.

In December, Aowanda and Sun Link Sea becomes hot spots for autumn foliage viewing.

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