Last Updated on July 11, 2020 by Tom Shu
The Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village in Sun Moon Lake is by far one of the most unique places you can visit while you’re there.
It’s a strange mix between a culture center highlighting the different aboriginal tribes in Taiwan and a theme park.
At first, you would think this combination wouldn’t work together, but it does a good job.
I had a chance to visit on my last trip to Sun Moon Lake in May of this year and here is everything you need to know about the culture village to decide if a visit is right for you!
There is one thing I want to say before getting more into the guide, though.
I have visited Sun Moon Lake 3 different times now and in my opinion, the natural beauty of the lake and its surrounding area should be your primary focus.
So, if you’re short on time, or are visiting Sun Moon Lake for nature, you should pass on the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village.
If, however, you are traveling with young kids, have extra time, or want to learn more about the 16 different indigenous tribes in Taiwan, then the culture village is worth a visit.
The ticket prices for the Aboriginal Culture Village are not cheap when you compare to other activities in Sun Moon Lake, but it is at a good price range if you compare it to other theme parks around the world.
Plus, the ticket price to the culture village, includes unlimited rides on the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway, aboriginal dance shows, and unlimited rides on its theme park attractions, so a lot of activities are included in the price of admission.
Pro Tip: Tour guides can purchase tickets for you at an extended discount through their travel agency, so if you go to Sun Moon Lake with a tour group, make sure to ask your tour guide. Our tour guide was able to purchase our tickets for NTD $720, which is even cheaper than the student ticket price.
What to do in the Aboriginal Culture Village?
There are a ton of things to do in the culture village.
The name of this place is kind of misleading as the culture village is more of a theme park with the culture village part being only a portion of the entire park.
The theme park with the different rides you can go on has nothing to do with the aboriginal culture in Taiwan. Let me explain a little.
The park is split up into two main areas:
- The first area is the aboriginal culture village which is made up of different areas with each area showcasing a different indigenous tribe in Taiwan.
- The second area is the Amusement Isle, which is the amusement park. This area is split into 6 different themed areas with a huge selection of theme park rides you can ride on. For the most part, each theme area has one primary attraction and smaller rides to choose from.
Both areas of the park are worth exploring and if you want to see everything, you will probably need to spend the entire day at the park.
The best way to explore the park is to take the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway up the mountain and then explore the park from the top of the mountain to the bottom.
The path in the park can get kind of steep at certain points, so walking down the mountain will be much easier and enjoyable.
If you are not staying in the Sun Moon Lake area and want to make a day trip from Taichung City, I found a great package on Klook.
Their package to Formosan Aboriginal Culture Center includes round trip transportation from Taichung City, tickets to the Culture Center + Sun Moon Lake Ropeway, a tour guide, and a stop at the beautiful Sun Moon Lake Wenwu Temple on the way back.
Aboriginal Culture Village Area
If you take my advice and explore the park from the top of the mountain to the bottom, the Aboriginal Culture Village area will be the first section that you will explore. On the map above, you will see this area at the very top of the map.
In this area, you will be able to visit 10 different aboriginal villages that have accurate life-size recreations of traditional homes that you can walk through to learn more about the different aboriginal tribes that the home is based on.
The tribes that are included in the park are the Paiwan, Ami, Tao, Rukai, Puyama, Thao, Tsou, Seediq, Atayal, and Saisiat, tribes.
It’s a bummer that they were not able to include all 16 of the indigenous tribes in Taiwan, but I understand why they had to do it this way.
I was surprised to find so many traditional homes that you visit. Although each home was small and only took a few minutes to walk through, it gave you a better sense of what living in these homes was like.
My favorite homes that I visited were the village elder homes. These homes were usually bigger, had more intricate wood carvings, and also had a dedicated space for where community meetings would take place.
In some of the homes, they even had exhibits to show you what it might have looked at if one of the elders got sick and a witch doctor had to be called in to heal them
In addition to visiting the traditional homes, you can also try your luck at the blow dart game and take part in some traditional arts and crafts like weaving or pottery making.
Other than visiting the traditional homes, the main attraction of this area is the traditional aboriginal performances that take place throughout the day at the 7 different theaters in the park.
When you visit, make sure to plan your trip to the park around these performances as some of them only happen once a day.
On my visit, we were able to catch the early performance at the Naruwan Theater, which is the largest theater in the park. This theater is located in the Paiwan village so the performance we saw was based on the Paiwan people’s culture.
Overall, I thought the performance was pretty good, but it was shorter than I expected it to be.
For this performance, we got to see a traditional game is played, a dance by the men in the group, and then dance between the women and men in the group.
My one big complaint about the performances at the park is that it was not clear what we were watching.
There is an announcer during the performance, which helped provide some background information, but it would have been nice if printed information was also included.
The other thing I was not clear on is if the performers are actors or actual members of one of the indigenous tribes in Taiwan. At one point, we saw a performer from the Naruwan theater perform in another show which was in a different aboriginal village.
After thinking about it, though, I guess that the performers all have aboriginal heritage, but do not perform only based on what tribe they belong to.
Once you make it down the mountain, you will enter the next area of the theme park, Amusement Isle, which is where you will find all of the theme park rides.
To be honest, I was pretty impressed with the selection of theme park rides in the park and disagreed with many of the negative reviews that I found online complaining that the rides at the park are limited and small.
Yes, the rides and other attractions within Amusement Isle cannot compete with bigger theme parks like Universal and Disney or even some small local theme parks in the US, but this is in Taiwan we’re talking about.
Amusement Isle in the Formosan Aboriginal Village can definitely compete with these theme parks in the quality of the rides you can choose from.
What rides are in Amusement Isle?
Let’s just say there are enough rides in Amusement Isle that you could spend an entire day here.
I ended up spending most of my time in the Culture Village section of the park on the day I visited, but I did have a chance to look around and go on some rides.
As I mentioned before, Amusement Isle is split up into 6 different themed areas and each area has a main attraction plus smaller complimentary rides. These themed areas and the main attraction in each area are:
- Spanish Coast: A coastal themed area like the name suggests and where you’ll find the Wild Raft Ride and Caribbean Splash, which is a water coaster ride. There is also a water balloon battlefield that I’m guessing is more popular in the summer months.
- Mayan Adventure: A Mayan themed area where you’ll find the Mayan Adventure Roller Coaster, which was one of Taiwan’s first suspended roller coasters.
- Gold Mine Adventure: A frontier and wild west themed area where you will find the Gold Mine Adventure log flume ride. This area reminded me a little of Frontier Land in Disney’s Magic Kingdom just on a much much smaller scale.
- Aladdin Pavilion: Honestly I’m not sure why they named this area Aladdin Pavilion as it has nothing to do with Aladdin :). This themed area, for the most part, is a giant building with a bunch of kid-friendly rides in it like the merry-go-around and rocking pirate ship.
- Space Adventure: I’m not sure if they call this area Space Adventure or not, but I thought it was a fitting name given its obviously space-themed. Here you will find the UFO ride, which is the fastest free fall tower in Taiwan and Space Mountain, which is a roller coaster ride based on the Space Mountain ride in Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
- European Garden: A European themed area with the largest European Garden in Taiwan. There is also a train that you can ride around the garden which looked pretty fun. This section of Amusement Isle is great for pictures but other than that there is not much else.
Remember, these are only the main attraction rides in Amusement Isle, so you could easily spend an entire day here going on the main rides multiple times and going on as many of the smaller rides as you can before the park closes.
Pro Tip: Some of the main attraction rides have a rest period of 30 minutes in the middle of the day. Also, some of the rides like the Spanish Armada and Wild Raft Ride close before the park closes so make sure to check the operating hours of the rides when you enter and plan accordingly.
Sun Moon Lake Ropeway – The Best Way to Get to the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village
By far my favorite part of the entire trip to the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village was taking the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway to the theme park.
Plus, by using the ropeway to get to the culture village you will be able to explore the park from the top to the bottom, which is easier physically and more efficient in my opinion.
Just to remind you again, the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway is included in the ticket price for the Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village. If you don’t want to visit the culture village and you want to save some money, you can also choose to only purchase tickets for the ropeway.
Here are the prices for just the ropeway if you’re curious.
The entrance to the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway is located at the Ita Thao Pier, so if you’re staying around this pier, then it’s just a short walk over to the ropeway station.
It’s not too bad transit wise if you’re staying near one of the other piers either as you would just need to take a short ferry ride before walking over.
Reminder: The ferries on Sun Moon Lake that shuttle you between Shuishe Pier, Xuanguang Temple Pier, and Ita Thao Pier do not go directly to the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway station.
Once you get to the ropeway station and have purchased your ticket for the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village or for just the ropeway itself, then you get to choose which type of cable car you want to ride in.
The two cable cars you can choose from are the glass bottom cable car and the regular cable car without the glass bottom. You’ll see two different lines, one for the glass bottom cable car and one for the regular cable car.
I got lucky on this day as it wasn’t very busy so we only had to wait about 10 minutes to get a glass-bottom cable car.
Usually, on weekends or long holidays, the line to the glass bottom cable car is much longer than the regular cable car, so it’s up to you if you want to wait.
To be honest, although the glass bottom car is cool, the best views are through the windows of the cable car which is in the same placement in both of the cable car models.
So, if the line is much longer for the glass bottom cable car, my advice is to skip the line and choose the regular cable car as the scenery is just as good.
The ride up the ropeway really does give you such a beautiful perspective of Sun Moon Lake and the surrounding mountains. After getting the chance to visit almost every ‘must-see’ spot in Sun Moon Lake, I can say this is easily one of the best views you will get.
In total, the ride up the mountain will take about 10 minutes and the highest elevation you will climb to during your ride up is close to 3,500 feet.
Hours of Operation
|Day||Operating Hours||Ticketing Hours|
|Weekdays||10:30 am – 4:00 pm||10:00 am – 3:30 pm|
|Weekends||10:00 am – 4:30 pm||9:30 am – 4:00 pm|
When is the Best Time of Year to Go?
If at all possible, the best time of year to visit the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village is during its cherry blossom season.
The cherry blossom viewing at the culture village is labeled as some of the best in Taiwan and you can even get an aerial view of the cherry blossoms from the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway.
This year, in 2019, the Sun Moon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival took place from February 1st to March 10th so you can expect the festival to take place around this time in upcoming years.
The crazy thing is that around 5,000 cherry trees bloomed in the Sun Moon Lake area including 2,000 of them in the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village, which gives you a sense of how many cherry blossom trees are in the area.
As you can see from the park map, there is even a cherry blossom boulevard which is lined by cherry blossoms.
I can only imagine how beautiful it must be to walk through and to take pictures when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom there.
Here is one of the most useful blog posts I have found describing all the cherry blossom spots in Taiwan including a status tracker of the cherry blossom bloom in each spot in Taiwan if you want to try to make it here for cherry blossom viewing.
If you are not able to make it to the culture village during its annual cherry blossom season then the best time to visit Sun Moon Lake and the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village would be from September to April.
By this time of year, the crazy summer heat is dying down and school is back in session so you won’t have to compete with many Taiwanese taking a family trip to the area during the weekdays.
Whenever you do go, though, make sure to avoid the weekends of holidays as much as possible.
Sun Moon Lake is one of the most popular destinations in Taiwan so you can expect huge crowds during the weekends and holidays. You can also expect hotel rates to increase too.
There you have it! Everything you need to know to help you decide if you want to visit the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village.
It is one of the unique attractions to visit in the Sun Moon Lake area and Taiwan. With that said, though, I still don’t think its the most important place to visit especially if you don’t have much time or if you are more interested in nature and the history of the area.
Plus, the admission ticket to the culture village is more expensive than many of the other activities you will find in the area, so it might be more worthwhile to spend your money elsewhere.
But, if you do have extra time or have young kids who are bored with what you can do around the lake, the culture village is a great way to add some variety to your time here.
You should also make sure to visit if you end up in the area during the cherry blossom season as the culture village has one of the best collections of cherry blossoms in all of Taiwan.
Whatever you end up choosing, though, I would still highly recommend that you make time to take a ride on the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway. It’s well worth the ticket price for the aerial view and the pictures you’re able to take on the way up.
Have you visited the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village? If you have, what did you think?