Cheng Ching Lake (aka Cheng Cing Lake or Ching Qing Lake) in Kaohsiung is one of the most beautiful parks in Taiwan. Much of the lake is full of traditional Chinese 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.
People often don’t realize that Kaohsiung has a lot to offer to tourists. Many of the places down south aren’t represented as well in English as other sites in Taipei, which is why we want to help everyone realize what a great place it is. I used to live in Kaohsiung and exercised at Cheng Ching Lake daily, and it was like living in paradise every day. There are many Kaohsiung residents that visit the lake daily for free, and I envy them.
Cheng Ching lake is the largest lake in Kaohsiung. Originally it was only a small irrigation pond, but in 1940 the Japanese diverted water here from the Gaoping River to act as a water supply for the surrounding area. During that time it was called Dabei Lake (大埤湖), however Chiang Kai-Shek (the leader of the ROC) renamed it Cheng Ching Lake (澄清湖) in 1963.
The ROC army used the lake as a base shortly after the Chinese Civil War, and built an underground tunnel and bunker to prevent against nuclear attack, which has now been converted into the Cheng Ching Lake Exotic Marine Life Museum. The lake contains a number of memorials to ROC soldiers, such as memorial plaques, army veterans mausoleum, and Fuguo island to commemorate soldiers that fled to the island of the same name in Vietnam during the Chinese Civil War.
The lake is meant to resemble Xihu (西湖, west lake) in Hangzhou, China. Chiang Kai-shek built a winter chateau on the lake, one of 30 guests houses that were built for him in Taiwan.
Surrounding the lake are a number of other notable sites including the Kaohsiung Yuanshan Hotel Resort, Cheng Ching Lake Baseball Field, Cheng Ching Golf Club, Kaohsiung number 7 waterworks station, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, and Cheng Ching Lake Youth Activity Center.
Chengqing Lake is also a water source for a large area of Kaohsiung. Because of this (as well as risk of drowning), fishing and swimming in the lake are forbidden.
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, and more and more young people seem to forget it exists.
100 NT per person
50 NT for students, 60/100 NT for cars (there is a discount for cars on weekdays), and 30 NT for scooters.
Kaohsiung residents: free!
Hours: 4 AM - 9 PM (no entry after 6 PM)
How to Get There:
By Car/Scooter: There are two entrances to the park, one on the north side and one of the south side. There are plenty of places to park once inside. The price is 60/100 NT for cars (there is a discount for cars on weekdays), and 30 NT for scooters.
By Bus: From the Weiwuying MRT station, you can take the 70A bus straight to the main entrance.
You can also check out our drone footage of the lake below:
Chengqing Lake 8 Areas/Scenes 澄清湖八景
According the the Chengqing Lake Website, there are eight main areas and attractions around the lake as follows (we will cover these in detail below):
Area 1: Plum Blossoms and the Dawn of Spring 梅隴春曉
-Main entrance 觀光大門
-Old Aquarium 水族館
-Freedom Pavilion 自由亭
- Magpie Bridge 鵲橋
- Chiang Kai Shek’s Residence 蔣公行館-澂清樓
- Chengching Lakeside Resort 水漾會館
- Cheng Ching Lake Exotic Marine Life Museum (Ocean Fantasy Museum) 澄清湖海洋奇珍園
Area 2: The Winding Bridge Catches the Moon 曲橋釣月
-Nine Turn Bridge九曲橋
-Cuihui Building 慈暉樓
-Wishing Pond 許願池
-Tao Ran Court 陶然閣
-Feng Yuan Court 豐原閣
-Gratitue Pavilion 飲水思源紀念亭
-Picnic Area 野餐區
-Blissful Garden 幸福花園
Area 3: The Willow on the Shore Observes the Lotus 柳岸觀蓮
-Industrial Waterworks Memorial 工業水廠紀念碑
-Boat Pond 原划船場
-Renzhi Pavilion 仁智亭
-Tea Area 泡茶區
-Sister Pavilion 姐妹亭
-Tatsuko Takeshi Fountain 辰子飛翔
-Shuanglian Pavilion 雙蓮亭
Area 4: The Tall Hill Looks Toward the Sea 高丘望海
-Bell Tower 鐘樓
-Suspension Bridge 吊橋
-Fuguo Island 富國島
-Siyuan Pavilion 思源亭
-Zhongxing Pagota 中興塔
-BBQ area 烤肉區
Area 5: Deep in the Woods Birds Sing 深樹鳴禽
-Thousand trees forest 千樹林
-100 year old tree 百年合歡
-Lanxiu Building 攬秀樓
Area 6: Pristine Air Flows Over Lake and Mountain湖山佳氣
-Zhongling Tower 忠靈塔,
-Zhengqi Pavilion 正氣亭
Area 7: Three Pvilions Support Victory 三亭攬勝
-Youru Pavilion 有如亭
-Danru Pavilion 淡如亭
-Qingru Pavilion 清如亭
Area 8: Peng Island Pouring out Gold 蓬島湧金
-Deyue Building 得月樓
Okay, let's get started on the detailed virtual tour of Chengqing Lake!
Area 1: Plum Blossoms and the Dawn of Spring梅隴春曉
If you are like me and searching for the signs of these eight areas like Pokemon, the "plum blossoms and dawn of spring" sign is to the right on the main entrance on the left side of the road. It's pretty easy to find.
Main entrance 觀光大門
The main entrance is the place where most people enter the park. There is a large gate and multiple guards and ticketing stations. It is nearby Chengxiu University and Changgen Hosptial and there are multiple busses that pass by. You can click on the gallery below for more photos of the main entrance.
Old Aquarium 水族館
The aquarium is no longer open to the public, but I visited back before it closed. It consisted of freshwater and saltwater exhibition halls. Currently it is under renovation and hopefully it will open again soon. I think the fish have been moved to the Ocean Fantasy Museum. The building on the left is in similar style and has been converted into a visitor's center, but was not open when I was there last.
See below for photos of when the aquarium was open in 2011, and some more recent photos. They also has some large freshwater fish, with one dead fish that once held the world record for largest freshwater fish.
Freedom Pavilion 自由亭
Freedom Pavilion is up on the hill above Magpie Bridge. It is a nice place to stop and relax, and usually there is no one else there.
Magpie Bridge 鵲橋
Near the old aquarium you can find a small garden and magpie bridge, which is not really necessary but it looks nice. Nice place for a photo. Other photos of the bridge are shown below.
Chiang Kai Shek’s Residence 蔣公行館-澂清樓
From the sign in front of the residence: "The construction of the late President Chiang's Residence in Chengcing Lake Scenic Area began on May 1, 1958 and was completed in January 1961. The original name was called "Big Shell Lake Villa" and then renamed as "Big Shell Lake Guest House." Late President Chiang granted it the name of "Chengcing House" on January 4, 1961. Since 1967, late president Chiang came to Kaohsiung every year to host the anniversary celebration of the R.O.C. military academy on Hun 16, and would stop over at Chengcing House. Every winter, when it was cold in Taipei, he would often come to the south and use Chengcing House as a winter resort. After he passed away in 1975, the house was reconstructed as the Memorial Hall of the Late President Chiang, with the bedroom and most of the partitions and decorations maintained in their original state." Please note the building is closed on Tuesdays.
For more photos of this residence, check out our blog post here and the slideshow gallery below.
Chengching Lakeside Resort 水漾會館
Chengqing Lakeside resort is one of the most affordable and best value hotels in Kaohsiung. For about 1000 NT, you can stay a night here and enjoy a free entrance ticket and free parking. Also the resort has a free breakfast buffet. You m can find more photos of the resort below.
Cheng Ching Lake Exotic Marine Life Museum 澄清湖海洋奇珍園
The Exotic Marine Life Museum is made from an old nuclear bunker on the site. Inside there a quite a few rare marine species, so its worth it to check out if you have time.
Price: You will have to an additional fee to enter the aquarium. Adults are 200 NT, children 150 NT, and Kaohsiung Residents are 100 NT.
Location: On Southeastern edge of the lake, left of the Cheng Ching Lakeside resort before Chiang Kai-shek’s Chateau (see map above).
For an in-depth look at this place, check out our blog here or the photo gallery below.
Area 2: The Winding Bridge Catches the Moon 曲橋釣月
"The turning bridge catches the moon sign is easy to find. It's right next to the nine turn bridge.
Nine Turn Bridge 九曲橋
This is a picturesque bridge over the lake connecting the south and north sides. Built in 1960, the bridge is 230 meters in length and 2.5 meters wide. Nine-sided bridges are popular features of Chinese gardens that began during the Song Dynasty, and allow patrons to slowly enjoy many different viewpoints. For more photos of this bridge, check out our blog post here or the photo gallery below.
You can also see our full drone footage of the nine turn bridge below.
Cuihui Building 慈暉樓
The Cihui building was originally built for Chiang Kai-shek as a place for recreation and art exhibitions. Currently it is closed for renovation which has gone on for many years. Hopefully it will open again soon. For more photos of this building, check out the gallery below.
The playground at Chengqing lake is pretty amazing. There is a large sand pit, multiple slides, and a giant pirate ship and dragon. It's a pretty good children's park for Taiwan's standards. For more photos of this park, please see the gallery below.
Wishing Pond 許願池
There is a whishing pond with a golden buddha that is popular for throwing coins into to make a wish.
Tao Ran Court陶然閣
Taoran Court is one of the most secluded and peaceful pavilions at Chengqing Lake. The fastest way to get there is by walking across the nine turn bridge.
Feng Yuan Court豐原閣
Feng Yuan Court is also a nice quiet pavilion in the forest behind Taoran Pavilion. For more photos of this pavilion, see the gallery below.
Gratitude Pavilion 飲水思源紀念亭
The gratitude pavilion is another small pavilion with this fountain in front of it.
Picnic Area 野餐區
There is a nice picnic area near the lotus pond with quite a few tables. For more photos of the picnic area, see below.
Blissful Garden 幸福花園
The blissful garden is one of the newly renovated parts of the park, and is basically romantically themed. For more photos of the blissful garden, see below.
Area 3: The Willow on the Shore Observes the Lotus 柳岸觀蓮
You can find the sign for area three near the boat pond on the south shore.
Industrial Waterworks Memorial工業水廠紀念碑
This is a large plaque commemorating the names of workers who built the waterworks around Chengqing Lake. Part of it was damaged during Typhoon Nepartak in 2016. Fore more photos of the plaque, see below.
Boat Pond 原划船場
The boat pond is the northwesternmost body of water at Chengqing Lake. I think there used to be paid boat rides from Renzhi Pavilion (middle) but not anymore, which is a shame. For more photos of the boat pond, see below.
Tea Area 泡茶區
Near the boat pond is a slope of land with many tables that is popular for making tea and picnicking. For more photos of the tea area, see below.
Sister Pavilion 姐妹亭
Sister pavilion is a another small pavilion next to the boat pond.
Renzhi Pavilion 仁智亭
Renzhi Pavilion is another pavilion on the boat pond. There is also a small pier next to it that has been blocked off. I think boating has been banned here which is sad, it would be a great place to paddle boat. You can see more photos of this pavilion in the gallery below.
Tatsuko Takeshi Fountain 辰子飛翔
The statue of Tatsuko Flying, along with a fountain display at Chengqing Lake, Niaosong District of Kaohsiung. The Taiwan water company placed the statue here to attract Tasuko, the dragon god, to bring good luck. For more photos of the fountain, see below.
The Shuanglian Pavilions are another beautiful set of pavilions on the north side of the lake. For more photos of the pavilion, see below.
You can see our full drone video of Shuanglian Pavilion and Tatsuko Takeshi Fountain below:
Area 4: The Tall Hill Looks Toward the Sea 高丘望海
The sign for "Tall Hill Faces the Sea" is the hardest to find. It's located right under the Zhongxing Pagoda next to the main road.
Bell Tower 鐘樓
The bell tower at Chengqing Lake is the second highest tower here besides Chungxing Pagoda. It sits on a forested hill directly across the suspension bridge. The tower was built in 1969, and the bell was replaced again in 1980. It is 3 stories high and holds a bell at the highest level.
From the sign near the tower: "The bell tower was constructed in January 1969. It's a three-floor tower with one copper bell hanging on the top floor. The graceful sound of the bell could spread far and wide throughout the whole Chengqing Lake Scenic Area. Late president Chiang enjoyed listening to the bell, when he stopped over at Chengcing lake during his southern inspection, the bell would be struck 105 times specially for him. However, since his passing away in 1975, the magnificent sound of bell would no longer be heard. The original copper bell had been worn down by the years and was in a state of disrepair; so another new copper bell was molded in September 1980 to replace the original one. The bell represents peace and dignity in Buddhism, and the Bell Tower is located at a peak on a peninsula deep inside the Chengcing Lake Scenic Area. The view looking down from the Bell Tower is magnificent and the surroundings are quiet and dignified, therefore, so that many Buddhist organizations come, strike the ball, and pray for blessings. "
For more photos of this tower, check out our blog post here or the gallery below.
Suspension Bridge 吊橋
The small man-made Fuguo Island is connected by a pedestrian suspension bridge that is about 40 meters long.
Fuguo Island 富國島
Constructed in 1955, this island holds particular historical significance because it was named after the retreat of the R.O.C. to an island of the same name off the coast of Vietnam.
According to the sign near the island:
"Originally, Fu Guo Island was a small island in Chengqing Lake, with an area of 100 square meters. It was reconstructed in November 1955, and denominated as Phy Quoc Island, in memory of General Huang, Jie and the national army's loyal and patriotic deeds under arduous conditions, after the Mainland fell under the control of the Communist Party, General huang, Jie led tens of thousands of national army soldiers to Vietnam, and they were stationed at Phu Quoc Island. Later, the whole team moved to Taiwan."
For more photos of this island, check out our blog post here or the gallery below.
You can also see our full drone video of Fuguo Island below:
Siyuan Pavilion 思源亭
The Siyuan pavilion lies on the east side of Fuguo Island, with a 3-part bridge connecting it. In my experience, there is pretty much always some elderly people here enjoying the scenery.
Zhongxing Pagoda 中興塔
Standing at 43 meters high, the Jhongsing Pagoda is the highest structure around the lake. it provides the best view of the surrounding area, and one of the best views of eastern Kaohsiung. There are winding stairs to the top, and 360 degree views from all 7 levels. The entire tower is very photogenic, inside and out.
Pagodas originated from the Indian Stupa, and the design spread through Asia as a popular building type for religious worship. Chinese pagodas （八角塔） have eight sides, which has to do with good fortune and dispelling evil.
For more photos of this pagoda, check out our blog post here or the gallery below.
BBQ area 烤肉區
Near the bell tower there is also a BBQ area with tables and grills for you to barbeque on. I imagine it is a popular place on mid-autumn festival.
Area 5: Deep in the Woods Birds Sing 深樹鳴禽
The "Deep in the Woods Birds Sing" sign can be found deep in the woods where the birds sing, which is to the northeast below Chungxing Pagoda. The sign was damaged in 2016 by Typhoon Nepartak.
Thousand Trees Forest 千樹林
If you go far enough and deep enough into the thousand trees forest at the northern side of the park, you can find lots of trees, but also all sorts of abandoned park related areas, such as this disused picnic area. The northern part of the park is the place where the least amount of people go because it is so far from either entrance.
100 Year Old African Locust Tree 百年合歡
Now we are getting out of the park. There is a tree in front of the Lanxiu building that is said to be over 100 years old, planted by a Japanese farmer back in the day when everything around it was farmland. Now it is the oldest and largest tree in Niaosong, at 20 meters high, three meters thick, and 8 meters in diameter.
Lanxiu Building 攬秀樓
There used to be three African Lotus Trees in front of the Lanxiu Building, but two died due to floods. Originally the building itself was built by Chiang Kai-Shek's wife, Song Meiling as a recreational retreat and art studio. Now it has been converted into a Taiwan folk religion temple dedicated to Matsu, called Sanhua Zhumu Head Temple (三花主母縂堂).
Area 6: Pristine Air Flows Over Lake and Mountain 湖山佳氣
The sign for "Pristine Air Flows Over Lake and Mountain" can be found in front of the Veteran's Memorial Graveyard.
Army Veteran's Memorial Graveyard 國軍忠靈塔
The veteran's memorial graveyard building is located on the northeast side of the lake, and is only open from 9 AM to 4 PM. There are names of army veterans carved here as well as the ashes of some honored veterans. Funeral services are often held here for army veterans. For more photos of the memorial, see the gallery below.
Zhengqi Pavilion 正氣亭
Zhengqi Pavilion is a small pavilion on the northeastern shore of the lake. There will always be a grandpa here playing his music loudly.
Area 7: Three Pavilions Support Victory 三亭攬勝
This place is outside of the park. You can find the "Three Pavilions Support Victory" sign underneath the pavilions near the shore on the east side of the lake.
These pavilions were built in 1960 and represent different Chinese architecture from various dynasties.
If you want to enjoy Chengqing Lake without paying for an entrance ticket, this is the place to go. This place is outside of the park boundaries.
Youru Pavilion 有如亭
Youru Pavilion is built in classic northern China style and is in the shape of a circle.
Danru Pavilion 淡如亭
Danru Pavilion features a crane and is in the shape of a hexagon.
Qingru Pavilion 清如亭
Qingru Pavilion is in the shape of a hexagon and has a deer on top of it.
You can see more photos of the area in the gallery below.
Area 8: Peng Island Pouring out Gold 蓬島湧金
You can find the sign for "Peng Island Pouring out Gold" right underneath the Deyue Building.
This name comes from the famous West Lake (Xihu) in Hangzhou, China. The Deyue Tower looks similar to Peng Island, and if you stand at the south end of the lake, the sun sets over the tower every evening.
Deyue Building 得月樓
Deyue tower was built in 1971 after the Qing Dynasty stile, originally meant to act as a museum holding ancient Chinese pottery, jade, and bronze artifacts. However, due to lack of visitors, it was closed in 1996 and reopened in 2002 as a coffee house and art gallery. There was a fire there in 2017 . Before it looked like this. Now it has reopened again as a restaurant.
Fore more photos, please see the gallery below.
Other notable scenery around Chengqing Lake 澄清湖其他出色的景點:
There are many notable scenic spots around the lake not covered by the eight areas above. Here are some below:
Kaohsiung Yuan Shan Grand Hotel 高雄澄清湖圓山大飯
Just outside the lake park is the Kaohsiung Yuan Shan Grand Hotel (not actually part of the lake park), a 4 star hotel that is the sister hotel to the Yuanshan Grand Hotel in Taipei, another similarly built hotel with Classical Chinese architecture. The current building was completed in 1971. The hotel can be seen from many parts of Cheng Ching Lake Park, including the nine turn bridge. Even though the hotel is smaller than the one in Taipei, it is still one of the most beautiful buildings in Kaohsiung.
As you can see from the photos above, I also stayed a night in the hotel. It was nice, and everything is made in traditional Chinese architecture and furniture, but if you don't plan to stay inside the hotel all day, use the swimming pool, eat at the buffet, etc. it is not really worth staying there. The Chengqing Lakeside Resort is a much better deal for the money.
Yuan Shan Grand Hotel Skybridge 高雄澄清湖圓山大飯天橋
To make it easier for guests at the Yuanshan Hotel to visit the Chengqing Lake Park, they recently built a wooden bridge to the hotel to near the 9 turn bridge.
It is a beautiful wooden bridge and it even lights up at night. There are people on either side that check your ticket into the park.
Niaosong Wetlands Park 鳥松濕地公園
One of the best places to go bird spotting around Chengqing Lake is Niaosong Wetlands Park. It is located just outside the main entrance of the park (outside of the park) on the right. This place usually always has a few bird spotters with telephoto lenses. It is also highly recommended by Richard Foster.
Lotus Pond 蓮花池
There is a lotus pond near the picnic and tea area in the middle of the park, with the Yuanshan Hotel in the background. This pond didn't always have lotus in it, it was only planted in the last few years. The lotus flower has been an important symbol in Chinese culture for thousands of years. It represents purity and virtue as well as long life and prosperity. The lotus is also a symbol of the Buddha in Chinese Buddhism.
Bee World 蜜蜂世界
Surprisingly in the park near the playground (not that near) is a beehive area. I think they have activities here and make honey.
Lion Veterans Memorial 獅子軍人紀念碑
Near the BBQ area is another veterans memorial for soldiers that died in the Chinese Civil War.
Chengqing Lake Waterworks Tower 澄清湖水塔
Behind Chiang Kai-Shek's former residence, you can see the waterworks and water tower for Chengqing Lake. The Lake is connected to the Gaoping River via underground tunnel, and water from the Gaoping River spouts up here. This is why silting is a such a problem, because water from the Gaoping River is usually super muddy.
Northern Entrance 北方入口
To the north, there is a less used entrance. It is just as functional as the main entrance, but less people enter this way. Therefore sights at this side of the park are less visited.
Kaohsiung Golf Club (Cheng Ching Lake Golf Club) 高雄高爾夫俱樂部(澄清湖高爾夫俱樂部)
As you can see from Chung Hsing Pagoda, there is a golf course right next to the lake. If you have time you can play some holes.
Random Art Near Chiang Kai-Shek's Residence 蔣介石住宿旁邊的藝術
Next to Chiang Kai-Shek's former residence, you can find a bunch of new pieces of art. There is also this love statue.
Bird Pavilion 鳥舘
Some years ago there used to be birds kept in this bird pavilion, however I have never seen any birds inside here. This is right behind the old aquarium.
Turtle Pond 烏龜池
I don't know if this is the real name of the pond. There is a pond between the lake and Chunghsing Pagoda that is full of turtles. Here are some photos I took.
Large Field Near Boat Pond 划船池旁邊的大田
There is a large field near the boat pond, which is a nice place to walk a dog or play some frisbee. There are also some benches behind it. If you go further back, you will find a forgotten wasteland.
Large Field Near Blissful Garden幸福花園旁邊的大田
There is also a nice large field near blissful garden.
Tree Pavilion 樹亭
Near the BBQ area, there is a large tree with places to sit underneath.
Sheild Statue 盾牌像
There is a piece of art that looks like a woman with two shields near Siyuan Pavilion.
Mud Barge 泥巴船
Because of silt coming from the Gaoping River, Chenqing Lake has a major silting problem. So they are constantly digging mud near Deyue Tower with a backhoe and putting it on this barge. If they didn't do this, I believe Chengqing Lake would have disappeared years ago.
Garbage Dump 垃圾場
Yes, there is a garbage dump inside Chengqing Lake Park. The door was open one time. Also there are tons of feral dogs around the less travelled parts of the park.
Work Sheds 鐵皮屋
There are a number of work sheds around the park for volunteers and cleaning workers. Not hard to find these.
Typhoon Nepartak in 2016 颱風尼伯特
Typhoon Nepartak ravaged the park in 2016. Here are the photos 4 years later. Basically all leaves from trees were knocked down, the lake had huge waves, many trees fell down, landslides happened, tables broke, etc.
Other random photos not previous mentioned 其他照片:
Enjoy the rest of the photos, which are mostly just random views of the lake.
You could say Chengiqng Lake is mostly enjoyed by old people. That's true. Kaohsiung Elderly residents come here daily to exercise and occupy their favorite spots on the lake. The same old men will go to the same pavilion every day. To be honest, when I retire I want to do the exact same thing. This lake is awesome. Things around the lake are falling apart and some are in disrepair. But to me that is part of what gives the lake its charm.
Thanks for reading and hopefully I have convinced you to come visit my favorite park in Taiwan!
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.