The Lotus Pond in Zuoying District of Kaohsiung is one of the most beautiful scenic areas in Taiwan. Much of the lake is full of traditional Chinese temples, gardens, and architecture. Because of its size, it cannot be properly appreciated by only going there for one afternoon; there are simply too many things to see and do there. In this blog, we will provide you a detailed virtual tour of the entire lake.
Lotus Pond was originally a small natural pond next to what is now the Zuoying Confucious Temple. Starting from 1686 after the Qing Dynasty captured Taiwan from the Kingdom of Tungming, the pond was gradually expanded for water storage and irrigation purposes. Also, lotus plants were cultivated on the pond, giving it its name. It was known as one of the eight beautiful scenes of Fengshan Old City. It also became a hotbed for temple building, and now over 20 temples stand by the lake.
In 1951 the Qiming Temple, Spring and Autumn Pavilions, and Guanwu God Temple were completed.
In 1976 the Dragon and Tiger pagodas were completed.
In 1978 Wuli Pavilion was completed.
Every year over a million visitors come to the park, although these numbers have gone down in recent years due to aging infrastructure and lack of new attractions. It is a haven for retired Taiwanese people to come and relax.
Due to its close proximity to the Zuoying Jiucheng TRA station and Zuoying HSR station, it is also a popular attraction for tourists in Kaohsiung.
Hours: 8 AM - 6 PM (Dragon and Tiger Pagodas)
How to Get There:
By Car/Scooter: From central Kaohsiung, go north on provincial highway 17 and then turn north on Xinzhuang 1st Road. The pond is on your left and is hard to miss. There is free and paid parking all around the lake.
By Train: From the north you can walk to the pond from Zuoying HSR station, or from the south you can walk there from Zuoying Jiucheng TRA Station.
The Fulong-Coaling-Sandiao Cape- bike route is one of the most biker friendly routes in Taiwan, the roughly 2 hour loop is something that the whole family can enjoy. It includes a 2KM ride through the Old Coaling Railroad Tunnel, as well as a ride along the Sandiao Cape coast on an enclosed bike path, where one can enjoy great views of the ocean, Turtle Island, wavy geological features on the coastline, and historical stone villages along the way. This bike route is highly recommended for people of all ages.
The area around Fulong was originally inhabited by the Basay indigenous tribe who has a village and hunting grounds there.
In 1626, the Spanish landed near Fulong and renamed the location Santiago (transliterated from Taiwanese as Sandiao 三貂, as in Sandiao Cape). After the Qing colonized Taiwan, many Fujianese fisherman relocated to the area and began to build the iconic stone houses you can see today.
The Old Caoling Tunnel was built in 1924 during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan, and is 2,167 meters long. At the time it was built, it was the longest tunnel in Taiwan.
The tunnel took 3 years to build due to delays from Malaria, remoteness of the location, and digging accidents killing 11 people and injuring over 300.
The tunnel was only one lane wide, too narrow for electric trains, and so was decommissioned in 1985 and lay waste for 22 years.
The tunnel was reopened when the Coaling Bicycle Loop was created in 2007, using the old Caoling Tunnel as its main looping point.
Also, along the northeast coast are some old fishing villages that have been around since the Qing Dynasty, including traditional stone houses. One of these historical villages called Magang (馬崗) is in threat of destruction to make way for a resort. however as Li Yongping out it "The thing that attracts modern travelers most is not 5 star hotels, but history and culture!" Save the Magang Stone Houses!
Besides these historical sites, there is amazing scenery along the bike ride, such as views of Turtle Island and long flat sections of layered rock (see below to know what I am talking about).
Bicycle Rental: 100-500 NT depending on the bike
Electric Bicycle Rental: 300-400 NT
The whole bike route is about 20 KM and takes 1-2 hours to complete.
We were going really slow with many pit stops and it took us 2 hours.
The Old Caoling Tunnel is open from 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM.
It is okay to walk through the tunnel on weekdays, but on weekends only bike traffic is allowed for safety reasons.
When to go:
May to October when the weather is nice and the water is warm.
Winter on the northeast coast is cold and windy.
How to get there:
By Train: Take the TRA train to Fulong Station. Walk straight from the station and you will see tons of bike rental shops.
By Car/Scooter: Take provincial highway 2 from Qidu in Keelung through the mountains past Shifen and Shuangxi until you reach Gongliao on the coast. The beach is right in front of the train station, and there is free parking in front of Dongxing Temple. From there you can walk to the train station where there are bike rentals everywhere.
Please see below:
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.