Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area
The Sun Moon Lake, located in the middle of Taiwan, with an elevation of 748 meters above sea level, is the only natural big lake in Taiwan. The southern part of Lalu Island is shaped like a new moon, and the northern part is shaped like a sun; hence the name Sun Moon Lake.
The most famous sights around Sun Moon Lake are the Itashao, Lalu Island, the Xuanzang Temple, the Ci-en Pagoda, and the Wenwu Temple and so on. The natural forests bordering these roads are good places for bird watching. There are a lot of birds that live on the mid-elevation, such as the Grey-cheeked Fulvetta, Grap-throated Minivet, Formosan Yuhina, Gray Tree Pie, Bamboo Partridge, Chinese Bulbul, Muller's Barbet, and the Black Bulbul.
Colonies of Black-crowned Night herons and Egretta garzettas , and birds such as the common kingfisher and the Green-winged Teal can be seen at the Dazhuhu water reservation, situated around the water gate. Besides these birds, fish, insects and wild vegetables are flourishing in the region as well. These are all natural resources of the Sun Moon Lake region.
The Shao Clan is the earliest clan that lived in the Sun Moon Lake region. The Harvest Festival, Sowing Festival and their special handicraft fair every year, as well as their articles have helped to preserve the particular culture of the Sun Moon Lake region.
Sun Moon Lake Lalu Island
Located in the center of Sun Moon Lake, Lalu Island was called Guanghua Island in the past. Sun Moon Lake is the most famous water reservoir in Taiwan. Lulu Island is known as the island on the water. This area was dwelled by the Shao tribe in the past and the island had been called Lalu until 1946, when the government renamed it Guanghua Island. In the severe earthquake in 1999, Sun Moon Lake reservoir was damaged and a historic site of the Shao tribe was discovered. Thus, in 2000, the island was renamed Lalu again. The Shao tribe considers the island a sacred place and thus tourists cannot visit the island; however, you can still learn about the Shao tribe along the tracks surrounding the lake.
Lalu Island is said to be a sacred place for the Shao tribe. Witch candidates of the tribe would have to come to the island to seek approval of the ancestors' spirits. The witches are in charge of incantation and rituals. The Japanese also left a stone monument, remembering the development of Sun Moon Lake during Japanese occupation.