Taiwan’s Sun Moon Lake has inspired artists and poets for centuries with its crystal blue waters, lush forests, bamboo, and encircling mountains. Its enchanting mist, cable car rides, accessible pagodas, temples and indigenous culture have made this attraction an Instagrammable dream for tourists for all ages; thus it’s no surprise that it has become Taiwan’s most visited destination in Nantou county. Although there are numerous activities for tourists, only a handful provide a level of luxury so exclusive that, until recently, was reserved only for locals. Below, we share some of Sun Moon Lake’s best kept secrets that provide for the ultimate luxury experience.
Sun Moon Lake’s Private, eco-friendly Yacht
Though there are dozens of boats on Sun Moon Lake, only a select few promote environmental conservation while offering extreme luxury at the same time. This private yacht experience provides modern decor, home-made refreshments, drinks, and a relaxing cruise around the beautiful lake. Guests have an entire vessel to themselves and can enjoy the beauty of Sun Moon Lake either inside or outside of the cabin. Learn how to book this private yacht in advance here.
A Hidden Coffee Manor in the Hills of Nantou
The soil surrounding Sun Moon Lake provides an ideal environment for growing both coffee and tea. Newly built by Taiwan’s century-old tea producer and tucked away in the hills, Lugao Cafe offers amazing, local coffee with unparalleled views of local coffee and tea farms. Coffee trees are planted around the elevated, cabin-like coffee house for visitors to learn about the “self-planted, self-made, and self-selling” philosophy. Coffee connoisseurs will be impressed with the espresso, tall ceilings, glass windows and calming, wooden decor that allow visitors to slip into luxury. Guests can even sip their coffee outside on the beautiful viewing deck. Learn more from a local expert here. (Read Also: Not Another Hipster Café: Taipei’s Old-School Coffee Shops)
Taiwan’s Best Local Whisky, made from Sun Moon Lake’s Mountain Water
Taiwan’s Kavalan whisky brand may ring a bell for visitors, especially after winning three international awards. But if you ask any local Taiwanese about their preferred whisky, many will be inclined to name “Omar.” The Omar Single Malt Distillery is located in the hills of Nantou, surrounded by 41 mountains over 3,000 meters high. Omar whisky has also won numerous international awards, though their spirits are only available in limited quantities. Surrounded by crystal clear lakes, including Sun Moon Lake, this distillery is located off the beaten path and difficult to reach. Visitors can take a tour to learn about the Scottish whisky making method they use, and, of course, sample some of the island’s finest whiskies. (You might also like: Things Every Drinker Should Know about Taipei’s Bar and Nightlife Scene)
Sun Moon Lake’s 5-star Hotel: The Lalu
Formerly a palace-style building for Japanese Crown Prince Hirohito, the Lalu hotel in Sun Moon Lake has retained its elegance after a renovation in 2000 by an award-winning international design team. Inspired by Zen design, this secluded villa sits atop Sun Moon Lake and provides the best views of the lake’s natural beauty. Much thought and attention to detail went into the design of this former palace; seven different lighting changes occur during the day, and the illumination of the property’s branches and leaves at night were inspired by an ancient Chinese poem. The Lalu makes all guests feel like royalty and has been recognized as Sun Moon Lake’s most luxurious hotel, both locally and internationally.
Sun Moon Lake’s beauty is well known around the world, but only a handful of places will allow you to enjoy this tourist destination in style and away from the crowds. For more information about how to indulge in these private destinations, click here.
This article originally appeared on Taiwan-scene.com.