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Below I will compare Sun Moon Lake tour options provided by two different popular tour websites, GetYourGuide and 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, I tell you 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.
GetYourGuide and Klook
Sun Moon Lake Tour 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 (see below).
It’s very easy to get to Taichung on your own by HSR, bus, or regular train. From Taichung, it only takes about 90 minutes to reach Sun Moon Lake by shuttle bus, so you will have more time to enjoy the lake.
There are two excellent choices for a Sun Moon Lake tour from Taichung on Klook. The first one is a little more relaxed, while the second one is more “adventurous” (and in my opinion the best choice, see why below).
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).
See the best of Sun Moon Lake in one day from Taichung.
Convenient and easy, pickup from anywhere in Taichung.
Boat ride on lake included.
Combination of popular and quieter sights on the lake.
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).
You get to cycle, ride a boat, and take the gondola all in one day.
Cheaper than first tour, and Sun Moon Ropeway tickets are included.
Fewer “sights” than the first tour, but more adventure.
You still see Wenwu Temple, the most beautiful temple on the lake.
Option for English (or Japanese) guide at no extra charge.
Convenient pickup and drop off in Taichung, just like the first tour.
None that I can see. This tour isn’t as popular on Klook for some reason. Maybe it’s just newer.
Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village Sun Moon Lake Tour From Taichung
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 also famous for cherry blossom viewing in late winter. It is one of the most popular theme parks in Taiwan.
You get there by riding the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway, which offers incredible views of the lake. (Note: You can take a ride on the ropeway without visiting the theme park in the “adventure tour” above). Personally, I didn’t really like this theme park (you can see why in my Sun Moon Lake Guide).
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 to see Sun Moon Lake.
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.
Even if you want to take a tour to Sun Moon Lake, I would not advise doing a day trip from Taipei all the way to Sun Moon Lake. It’s about three hours each way, which is a lot of time to be on the road a quick visit. What’s more, you don’t want to miss the lake at its most beautiful, in the early morning or around sunset. If you have no other option, then the best idea would probably be to take a super early train or HSR from Taipei to Taichung, then take one of the Sun Moon Lake tours from Taichung. Just make sure you can get there early enough!
GetYourGuide offers this popular 2-day Sun Moon Lake Tour from Taipei by coach. You can get picked up from any hotel in Central Taipei. The tour includes a stop at a Paper Factory in Puli on the way to Sun Moon Lake.
At Sun Moon Lake, you see the main sites of Wenwu Temple, Ita Thao (they call it ‘Te Hua” on GYG), Tse En (Ci En) Pagoda, and Holy Monk Shrine. After a night on Sun Moon Lake, you go to Lugang, a cool village in Changhua County that has many temples, for a guided tour. Finally you return to Taipei by bus or train. For meals, only breakfast on the second day is included.
Fast and convenient way to see Sun Moon Lake
Stay in four star hotel
See the best of Sun Moon Lake (Wenwu Temple, Ci En Pagoda, lake views)
Get a chance to see Lugang, a rewarding destination that few tourists visit
It’s a tour bus
Hotel room doesn’t have lake view
No boat ride on lake
Do you care about seeing a paper factory in Puli?
Doesn’t visit Puli’s more interesting sights, like Chung Tai Monastery, Paper Dome, or Antique Assam Tea Farm
Longer Tours from Taipei 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 (see the 3-day tour option below).
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’s” version of Sun Moon Lake.
There’s no boat ride or stop in aboriginal Ita Thao village.
The same company’s 3-Day Tour of Sun Moon Lake, Puli, Lukang, and Alishan is appealing to me because it takes the 2-day Sun Moon Lake tour, and adds Alishan and Lukang, two of my favorite places in Taiwan.
In terms of costs, it doesn’t seem like as good of a deal though. It’s only $150 cheaper than the five-day Taiwan tour, but you see way less of Taiwan. Still, if your main goal is to combine a tour of both Sun Moon Lake and Alishan, then this is the choice for you. The addition of the southern branch of the National Palace Museum on the final day seems like an anti-climax to me (sorry, I’m not much of a museum person), but it may be a welcome addition for you.
The same company also offers a 4-day tour, but I don’t recommend this one. It’s basically a combination of the 2-day tour and 5-day tour options. It’s almost as expensive as the 5-day one, but one day shorter.
You miss out on the whole east coast of Taiwan and Taroko Gorge, but the total traveling distance is almost the same because you go all way to the southern tip of Taiwan and back, so you spend more time on the bus. I would say it’s better to stick to only Sun Moon Lake or Sun Moon Lake and Alishan, or go all in with the five-day tour.
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: