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September 23, 2017

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Sun Moon Lake has it all for tourists

Smaller, more remote and less visited than Wen Wu is the Hsuanchuang Temple (玄狀寺). The temple enshrines some small stones, said to have been found among the ashes of the historical Buddha. The stones, which are called ssu-li-tzu, are apparently often found among the remains of devout Buddhist teachers after their cremations. The ssu-li-tzu at Hsuanchuang Temple are regarded as very important Buddhist relics.

Sun Moon Lake has some strong aboriginal influences and is historically the home of the Thao, or Shao, aboriginal tribe. For aboriginal souvenirs and cuisine, and to get a look at a working aboriginal village, you should go Idashao, also known as Dahuasho (德化社), about halfway around the lake. For a more comprehensive and touristy view of aboriginal culture, head to the nearby Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village (九族文化村). With amusement park rides, exhibits, recreations of aboriginal villages and entertaining live shows that display the culture of a variety of Taiwan's aboriginal tribes, this place is a day out all by itself.

Back at the lake, if you're still not tired, there are a wealth of places where you can go walking or hiking. Some of the more interesting trails and parks include: the Mount Maolan Trail, which starts opposite the bus station in Sun Moon Lake's main town and which takes you past a tea plantation and up to the weather forecasting center; the Peacock Garden, which you'll find near the Youth Activity Center and the campsite; and the Mount Shuisho trail, which, despite its beauty, is not for the fainthearted as it takes about seven to eight hours to complete.

So, for a holiday destination that really does have it all, you can't look too far past Sun Moon Lake.

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