Hiking to Ci’en Pagoda, Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan

Cien Pagoda

Hiking the Qinglong Trail to Cien Pagoda, via Xuanzang Temple, and Xuanguang Temple

The Ci’en Pagoda can be reached by following the Quinglong Mountain Trail from Xuanguang Pier, one of the 3 piers visited by frequent passenger ferries that zigzag Sun Moon Lake, then by picking up Tsen Pagoda Hiking trail at Xuanzang Temple.

We took the ferry to Xuanguang from Shuishe Pier, near the Shuishe Visitors Centre at the north side of the lake. The one day boat pass cost us 300 TWD (unlimited use for one day), however we later discovered that these can be picked up from as little as 100 TWD if you ask around. (It’s worth checking with your hotel, before heading down to the pier).

Qinglong Mountain Trail.

The Quinglong Mountain Trail begins at the Xuanguang Pier and climbs the mountain for 850 meters passing Xuanguang Temple, soon after leaving the pier and ending at Xuanzang Temple.

Qinglong Trail Sun Moon Lake

Unfortunately during our visit Xuanguang temple was being renovated, so our first stop was something of an anticlimax.

The trail is well-defined, paved and flanked with heavy foliage at either side. We saw plenty of creepy crawlies, and some enormous butterflies along the trail as well as one particularly scary spider. Apparently there are also snakes, so watch your step, and remember the mosquito repellent, you’re going to need it.

Xuanzang Temple

Xuanzang Temple was built in 1958. The relics of a famous Tang Dynasty Buddhist monk, Xuanzang, are enshrined here, along with a golden idol in is image.

Xuanzang Temple Sun Moon Lake

XuanzangTemple Sun Moon Lake

The temple has a large viewing platform with magnificent views across the lake, and there are some small shops selling snacks, drinks and fruit directly across from the entrance so this is the perfect place to take a refreshment break before continuing your hike via the 750 metre Tsen Pagoda Hiking Trail to the Ci’en Pagoda.

Ci’en Pagoda

Built by President Chiang Kai-shek, in memory of his mother, the Pagoda was completed in April 1971 and sits at the top of the 954 metre-high Shabalan Mountain.

Cien Pagoda Sun Moon Lake

Visitors can climb to the top of the 46 metre pagoda to enjoy some of the best views of Sun Moon Lake.

Cien Pagoda Sun Moon Lake

We really enjoyed the hike up to Ci’en Temple and would recommend you make time to do this if you visit Sun Moon Lake. The area around Xuanguang Temple, and the Xuanguang Pier were packed with tourists, but once we past the Temple the trails were deserted and very peaceful.

For more information on Sun Moon Lake visit http://www.sunmoonlake.gov.tw/English/

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