Where is Nantou County? It is located in the middle of Taiwan, and records show that a number of foreign tourists come to here primarily to see the scenic Sun Moon Lake. Getting to Nantou is quite simple since so far the only practical way to getting there is by bus through Freeway No. 1 or No. 3.
Where is Nantou City? The capital city of Nantou County is situated between Maoluo River and the Bagua Mountains at coordinates 23°55’N 120°41’E / 23.917°N 120.683°E / 23.917; 120.683. It is one of the smallest cities in Taiwan and could easily be considered as just a town. It may be humbler than most of Taiwan’s cities and leading tourist destinations but Nantou City has hidden gems and natural charms that make foreign tourists want to come here.
Obviously, this tiny city does not have an airport of its own. Getting to Nantou by air means getting on the bus anyway when coming in the country from any of Taiwan’s airports. The country’s main international airport is the Taipei Shongshan Airport in the capital city of Taipei. From here, there are quick and easy routes to the bus and rail stations that service Central Taiwan. The airport has different facilities such restaurants and shops for tourists who might want to rest for a while and think through their travel itinerary.
Getting to Nantou by land is very scenic. Tourists driving in by private car from the north normally take Freeway No.1 to Johngcing Interchange to Tai 21; from the south, through Freeway No.3 to Caotun Interchange and then to Tai 21. Some prefer traveling by train to Taichung and nearby cities in Central Taiwan, and then taking a short bus trip to downtown Nantou. There are also a number of buses that travel straight from Taipei to some tourist spots in Nantou.
The most important tourist attractions in Nantou are Sun Moon Lake, Cingjing and the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village. Sun Moon Lake is the biggest natural inland lake in Taiwan. The mighty sun creates a spectacular scene over the lake, turning it into a golden oasis as the sun rises and sets. The surrounding mountains add to its beauty. The lake is called “Sun Moon” because one half of it is shaped like the sun while the other is like a crescent moon. The lake is also called Shui-sha-lian, which means “connecting water and sand”.
Cingjing, on the other hand, is Taiwan’s version of the Alps. It is the country’s highest plateau, about 1,600 to 2,100 meters above sea level. Tourists come here to watch the sheep show at Cingjing farm, mingle with the local Dai people, and purchase authentic Dai jewelry, clothing, accessories and handicrafts. Foreign tourists also enjoy trying out the very hot and spicy local dishes.
And finally, getting to Nantou is worth the trip for the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village. The experience is truly an immersion into authentic Taiwanese (or Formosan) culture since Nantou is home for the Bunun, Thao, and Atayal tribes. Found near the Sun Moon Lake, the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village is a theme park that primarily displays aboriginal culture. Visitors are treated to aboriginal singing, dancing and socializing.