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Below I will compare Sun Moon Lake tour options provided by Klook, my most recommended website for tours, tickets, and other activities in Taiwan. In the original version of this article, I also covered tours by GetYourGuide, but all of these were canceled during COVID. I’ve also recently added some tours by KKDay, Taiwan’s version of Klook.
To be 100% transparent, I have never taken a tour to Sun Moon Lake. I usually travel independently, and in my super detailed Sun Moon Lake guide and my free Taiwan Travel Planning Group, I tell you exactly how to do it all by yourself.
If you are looking for a more serious, multi-day, professional tour of Taiwan, feel free to contact me and I can recommend the most suitable local tour operator for your needs.
Sun Moon Lake Passes & DIY Options
Why I Recommend Klook
Below, I will however recommend one KKDay tour simply because Klook doesn’t have that one.
Sun Moon Lake Tours from Taichung
For semi-independent travelers, or people who want to have a more complete experience of Sun Moon Lake specifically, I think that the tours offered from Taichung are better than those from Taipei. Most of the Taipei to Sun Moon Lake tours were canceled during COVID, anyways. From Taichung, the options are better, and you’ll get more time at the lake.
The first is best for adventure, second is more relaxed but comprehensive, and the last one is for theme park (or cherry blossom) lovers.
Klook’s “Sun Moon Lake Adventure Tour” (Top Choice)
The tour starts with a pickup from one of three locations in Taichung (Miyahara Ice Cream near Taichung Station, Taichung HSR station, or Feng Chia Night Market). The pickups and drive to the lake take about 90 minutes. Arriving at Sun Moon Lake, you go mountain biking (keep in mind that SML has been called one of the world’s best cycling destinations!)
After an aboriginal lunch, you take a boat ride across the lake, ride the famous Sun Moon Lake Ropeway (cable car), and finally visit Wenwu Temple, the most beautiful temple on the lake.
The same tour is offered here on KKDay, but you may find that it is slightly cheaper.
You get to cycle, ride a boat, and take the gondola all in one day.
Option for English (or Japanese) guide at no extra charge.
Convenient pickup and drop off in Taichung.
You don’t get to visit quite as many places as the next tour.
Klook’s “Day at Sun Moon Lake” tour
For the Day at Sun Moon Lake Tour, starting at your hotel or the train or HSR station in Taichung, you drive to Sun Moon Lake in a van (there may be other guests, or could be just you).
You start with an easy hike on Shuiwatou Trail (Water Frog Head trail), which takes you through a bamboo forest right down to the lake. Then you visit beautifully designed Xiangshan Visitor’s Center before taking a 1-hour boat ride on the lake. Heads up that it can be very hot in summer in Taiwan, even at higher altitude Sun Moon Lake, so wear adequate protection!
You get to visit the aboriginal village of Ita Thao (my favorite place to stay on Sun Moon Lake), as well as the famous sights of Xuanguang (Syuanguang) Temple, Ci En Pagoda, and Wenwu Temple (learn about these sights in my Sun Moon Lake article). The exact program may vary slightly.
More individual stops that first tour.
More relaxing and suitable for kids/elderly (i.e. fewer adventure activities).
Will even pick you up from your hotel in Taichung.
Guide is Chinese speaking only.
Must pay extra NT900 for an English speaking guide (in my opinion, you don’t really need it to enjoy the sights).
Sun Moon Ropeway (Cable Car) not included.
Klook’s “Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village” tour
Are you into amusement parks? Then the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village Day Trip may be for you. The Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village is a combination of aboriginal culture village, with aboriginal songs, dance, and costumes, and amusement park with wild rides. It is one of the most popular theme parks in Taiwan.
Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village is also famous for cherry blossom viewing in late winter, usually late February to early March (the exact dates vary by year).
After pick-up in Taichung, you go directly to the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway on the lake shore, which offers incredible views of the lake as you go up. When you get to the top, unlike the adventure tour above, you will get to ride a second gondola, which goes down the backside of the mountain to the theme park.
After visiting the theme park, you’ll have one more stop, which is the beautiful Wenwu Temple overlooking the lake.
Great for theme park lovers.
Fast and convenient way to enjoy some great Sun Moon Lake views.
English, Japanese, or Chinese speaking guide at no extra cost.
Also includes Wenwu Temple, the most beautiful temple/view of Sun Moon Lake.
Good deal, considering normal tickets to the theme park (NT850) are more than half of the total tour price.
Not much time spent beside Sun Moon Lake. Most of the time is in the theme park.
Doesn’t include any sights around the lake besides Wenwu Temple.
Not an “authentic” aboriginal experience and not one of the best amusement parks in Taiwan (in my opinion).
Lunch not included.
Sun Moon Lake and Cingjing Farm Tour
Sun Moon Lake and Cingjing Farm are two of the most famous day trips from Taichung. So why not combine them into one single day trip with this tour offered by KKDay? Cingjing Farm is a European-style farm and mountain resort village. You can enjoy the high mountain views, see real farm animals, and European-style buildings.
The tour includes pickup from various points in Taichung, drive to Sun Moon Lake (60-90 minutes) in a car or minivan, boat ride on the lake, drive to Cingjing Farm (60-90 minutes), visit the farm, then drive back to Taichung (60-90 min).
As you can imagine from the above description, there is quite a bit of driving and the day tour is long (around 10 hours total). But if you want to be efficient or have little time on your trip, you can check off these two famous Nantou attractions in a single day.
Visit both SML and Cingjing in a single day (usually requires multiple days).
Don’t need to worry about complicated transportation between these two famous attractions, or walking up the steep highway between sights at Cingjing.
Lots of driving in one day.
The KKDay page doesn’t give too many details about what you will see and do at each place.
Lunch and Cingjing entrance ticket fees not included.
Not clear whether guide speaks English.
Full Taiwan Tour that Include Sun Moon Lake
5.0 star rating based on 15 reviews.
See many of the most famous places in Taiwan in only five days.
Amazing value for money, especially considering the excellent accommodations.
It’s a bus tour.
Doesn’t go to Alishan, one of Taiwan’s top attractions.
You would spend quite a bit of time on the road. I estimate three hours or more per day.
Everywhere you go, you see the most famous (but also most “touristy”) places.
For Sun Moon Lake: you only see three sights: Wenwu Temple, Holy Monk Shrine, and Ci En Pagoda. They are three main sights of Sun Moon Lake, but you really get the “tourist” version of Sun Moon Lake.
There’s no boat ride or stop in aboriginal Ita Thao village.
I hope I’ve helped you find a good Sun Moon Lake tour! If you have any questions or experiences you’d like to share, but do so in the comments below!
I never travel without a guidebook! I recommend these: