TAIPEI — About 30,000 people swam a 3.3-kilometre (2.2-mile) route across a scenic lake in central Taiwan on Sunday in celebration of a Taoist sea goddess.

An idol of the goddess Matsu was placed on a one-tonne wooden vessel painted in gold which then sailed across Sun Moon Lake, pushed by dozens of swimmers. Among the estimated 28,400 people taking part were more than 1,300 from China, organisers said.

The idyllic lake has emerged as a must-see attraction for the more than 1.8 million Chinese who have visited Taiwan since 2008, when Ma Ying-jeou became president on a platform to boost ties with Beijing.