The Sun Moon Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Taiwan. It attracts people not only because of its scenic beauty and unique landscape, but for biking, marathons, and a swimming competition. Every year around the Mid-Autumn Festival, swimmers from Taiwan and other countries gather at Zhaowu Wharf to participate in this grand event and swim 3000 metres. Anyone who is over 10, healthy, and able to swim long distances can take part in this competition. This brings together thousands of enthusiasts for a fun and healthy event.
Sun Moon Lake is a major tourist destination. Locals think that the east side of the lake looks like a sun while the west side resembles a moon. The lake is famous for its magnificent sunrise and sunset views, attracting crowds of tourists. However, swimming in the lake is only allowed during the Sun Moon Lake Swimming Carnival. It is the biggest and oldest event in Nantou County, that started in 1983. The event usually takes place on a Sunday with about 25,000 swimmers participating.
The Sun Moon Lake Swimming Carnival is included in the Top 50 Open Water Swims in Asia and the World's Top 100 Open Water Swims.
The area around the Sun Moon Lake is home to the Thao tribe, who have lived in this area since ancient times. Visitors can stop by the town of Ita Thao located across the lake not far from the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway. A small island named Lalu in the middle of the lake is used for aboriginal religious practices.