LAKES OF KAOHSIUNG
By John Matthews Translated by Annie
It is all too easy to forget, between
busy work schedules and everyday chores, that Kaohsiung
is home to some of Taiwan's most beautiful man-made
lakes (some may prefer to call them ponds). These lakes
are important tourist attractions, sources of water
and an escape from the city life that sometimes consumes
us. So, if it is culture and tranquility that your life
is lacking, pack a picnic basket and head to the water's
Address: 1435, TsuiHua Road, TsouYing, Kaohsiung City
Transportation: Bus No. 17. (Or, take bus No. 5, No.
6, No. 18, No. 19, No. 21, No. 29, No. 31, No.38 or
No. 45 and get off at the TsouYing Farmers' Association,
then walk down ShengLi Road.)
When visiting northern Kaohsiung, you
are likely to be impressed by some significant historical
sights, not to mention a startling body of water - sidelined
with pagodas, temples and a boardwalk. Lotus Lake could
be considered the centerpiece of TsouYing District,
even though a grade one historical sight known as the
"Old Castle" and "Old Wall" shadows
it. Visitors to the man-made lake can walk along a wooden
boardwalk, cycle on bike lanes or stroll around the
lake, day or night.
During the day and on weekends visitors
crowd the areas around the lake to take in the unusual
idols and snack on local foods at the nearby farmers
market. The structures around the lake give it a traditional
Chinese look. The Confucius Temple at the northwest
corner of the lake was built in 1976, but is modeled
after an original temple that dates as far back as 1718.
Visitors can hardly miss the Spring and Autumn Pavilions
and the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas. Both sit several meters
out on the lake itself and are accessible by footbridges.
Lotus Lake covers an area of just over
75 hectares, is flanked by Banping Mountain to the north
and Turtle Mountain to the south, and is the largest
lake in Kaohsiung city. Nighttime visitors will marvel
at the lights reflecting off the water from the surrounding
monuments. Whether on foot, bicylce, scooter or from
a tour bus, Lotus Lake will inspire any visitor with
its Chinese 'old-world' charm.
Address: Main entrance is located at the corner of ChengCing
and DaBei Roads.
Kaohsiung county's most popular lake and park area,
the largest body of water in the county, with two aquariums
and countless other facilities, Cheng Ching Lake has
a lot to boast about. Although recent visitors will
find half of the lake dried-out, it's still large enough
to keep wandering feet and eyes busy. The total area
covers approximately 375 hectares of land, with 103
hectares taken up by the lake.
Considering its size, visitors can
spend an entire day visiting the fresh and saltwater
aquariums and Cheng Ching Lake Ocean World. Another
full day could be spent strolling the grounds observing
sights such as the Nine-corner Bridge (230 meters long),
ChungHsing Pagoda and several other Chinese architectural
towers and pavilions. When visiting Ocean World, don't
miss the unique underground tunnel structure showcasing
a rich variety of marine life. The tunnel was originally
built as a bomb shelter in 1961 and is still equipped
with a massive 5000kg bombproof door. Visiting hours
are from 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. daily and admission is NT$100.
Visit the seven-story high ChungHsing
Pagoda, follow the winding staircase to the top and
enjoy a panoramic view of the lake from the 43-meter
high structure. Nearby, visitors can rent rowboats or
take their children through the youth activity playground.
Cheng Ching Lake is open daily from 6:30 a.m. - 5:30
p.m. Entrance fees are NT$100 for adults, NT$50 for
children, NT$40 for your car, NT$30 for your scooter
and NT$5 for your bicycle. A discount is available to
current and former military and police personnel as
well as an 80% discount to groups of forty or more.
NiaoSong residents can enter for free by producing their
identity cards. There is a restaurant on the grounds,
nearby food and drink facilities and an on-site barbecue
park with great views.
POND CULTURAL PARK
Address: Museum of Fine Arts, 20 MeiShuGuan Road, GuShan
District, Kaohsiung City
Tel: (07) 555-0331
Transportation: Bus No. 5 (get off at Kaohsiung Municipal
Women & Children General Hospital). Bus No. 57.
Bordered by GanSu Road, MeiShuGuan Road, MaKaDao Road
and MingCheng Road, and located next to the Museum of
Fine Arts, lies NeiWei Pond Cultural Park. It is a man-made
ecological manifestation of the Kaohsiung City Government's
bid to make the city more livable and attractive. With
the Kaohsiung World Games of 2009 looming, the city
government is preparing to play host to international
visitors, and is spending great resources on creating
natural spaces for people to enjoy.
NeiWei Pond Cultural Park is clearly
one of its greatest creations. Merely twenty years ago
this area was dominated by weeds and littered with trash.
Today the 40-hectare location has been transformed into
a place where people can walk in a forest, on terraced
pathways and over wooden footbridges. Started in 1986,
the planning, design and construction of this unique
slice of paradise is now completed. The brainchild of
architects Lu You-yi and Chen Po-sen, the area's ecology
was carefully reconstructed in three stages. The first,
from 1989 to 1994, set out to preserve the wetlands,
maintain the natural themes of mountain and water and
complete the Fine Arts Museum itself. From 1999 to 2001,
the city constructed the lake and planted trees in key
areas around the lake and walkways. The final stage
realized an outdoor stage, multi-story parking facility,
observation tower, covered walkway, insect conservation
area and a services center.
People of all ages and orientation
enjoy art and culture by visiting the museum and strolling
or roller-blading through the sculptured park. Services
at the Entrance Plaza include an outdoor cafe with covered
seating, rest areas and public washrooms.
Address: SanMin District, Kaohsiung City
Transportation: Take bus No. 24 (from the train station),
get off at the MinZu stop, and then transfer to bus
This crescent-shaped lake's proximity to the largest
incinerator facility in Kaohsiung may alarm most visitors.
But Golden Lion Lake is a little gem with charms enough
to impress anyone. The Golden Lion Scenic area covers
only 25 hectares, with 11 of those occupied by the lake.
Within the area's seemingly limited
space you will find an environmental protection park,
recreational facilities, the Civil farm and a netted
butterfly garden. There is also the Pao'An Temple and
the TaoTe Temple. Both religious sights are large and
imposing structures, close to the water and approachable
via a traditional Chinese bridge. On clear nights the
lights from the bridge and temple reflecting off the
water offer an outstanding view.
Visit the 4000 square meter farm and
witness how senior citizens keep themselves both active
and busy. Bring your camera to the butterfly garden
and capture some of the many colorful species of butterfly.
Also, see one of the most significant assemblies of
Lotus blossoms clustered along the shores of the tiny
For additional information, please visit:
For more information on Cheng Ching Lake's Marine Life
Museum, please visit:
For local weather information, please visit: http://cwb.gov.tw