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FYI SOUTH Magazine, October 2005


By John Matthews Translated by Annie Liu

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 edge...

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.

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 No. 79.
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 lake.
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


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