A walk or bike tour around Lotus Lake is a must do if you are visiting Kaohsiung City.
Walking around the lake allows visitors to take in a peaceful part of Kaohsiung City with pretty temples and lake views. Walking may take around 2-2.5 hours allowing time to stop for pictures or a snack along the 3km route. If you rent a bicycle in town, riding around the lake is a pleasurable ride. The paths are perfect for bikes or walking and bikers can cross the Cuihua Bridge that connects back onto the main bike path towards the Love River and Kaohsiung Harbor.
About 1 kilometer from the southern end of Lotus Lake is the East Gate/Wall of Old Zuoying. Zuoying is now the most bustling part of Kaohsiung City, however, the old part of Zuoying still retains a slower pace, less hectic charm.
The Kaohsiung City government refurbished this historic location in1991 which is also called the Feng Shan City Wall. The Old City of Fengshan was the first county after the Qing’s rule in Taiwan. It had been the Qing’s policy not to build city walls in Taiwan. Therefore, Fengshan had no city walls until the insurgence in 1721; an improvised earthen wall was built and later on, in 1760, fortified with four guns.
Another insurgence broke out in 1786 and the Old City fell twice. After the insurgents had been driven out, the Qing government found the Old City had been ruined and decided to move the county to today’s Fengshan District, which gave rise to the Fengshan New City. The Old City faded away.
In 1826, the wall was rebuilt and Fengshan became the first fortified city of the Qing Dynasty. Visitors can view the wall at the North, East, and South locations. Through the East Gate, pictured below, visitors walk into an open field dotted with beautiful willowy trees. Steps lead to the top of the wall that can be walked for about 1km. At night, lights shine along the wall giving it an old yet modern artistic feel.
Lotus Lake is located in North Kaohsiung in the old section of the Zuoying district. Zuoying has always been a historical section of Kaohsiung whether it be the old walled city from the Qing Dynasty, to a large community of Nationalist Chinese who fled to Taiwan from China after the Communist takeover of China in 1949.
Because of this history, Lotus Lake has a few buildings and relate more to older Chinese culture.
The lake is surrounded by a foot/bike path and road that winds around the lake for about 3km. It is a destination for tour buses these days and many elderly locals who want to find a quiet place to relax with pretty views of the lake. There are also 8 busy temples in the area, some along the lake, that hold various activities and ceremonies throughtout the lunar calendar year.
Starting at the southwest end of the lake, vistiors will enter the windy road and encounter the two Dragon Tiger Pagodas. You can enter the pagodas through the dragon's mouth and come out through the Tiger's mouth. A little further down are the Spring Autumn pagodas. The foot bridge leads visitors out to the Wuli Arbor in within the lake. Here, one can get great views of Lotus Lake, the city, and Turtle Mountain.
The Dragon/Tiger Pagodas above. The Qi Ming Tang temple above. The Wuli Arbor below.
There are plenty of signs in English and Chinese showing you the way to go.
Tian Fu Gong temple.(above)
The walking/bike paths are well maintained and clearly marked.
The entrance to the pagodas through the Dragon's mouth and the walking through the dragon. (below)
As visitors continue along the path, they will encounter several Taoist Temples. The Yuandi Temple has a walkway to let visitors walk out amidst the lake to the North Point Pavilion under the large deity statue.
A street map of Lotus Lake.
Vendors selling local foods and snacks are peppered along the bike path route. It gets busier in the evenings and during big temple ceremonies.
As one continues along the path, the beautiful Confucian Temple grounds appear. The original Confucian Temple was built in 1684 in a different location of Kaohsiung. After the Sino-Japanese War in 1895, the temple was left to rust without proper maintenance.
In the 1960's, the ROC government mandated that 11 Confucian Temples be renovated and reopened around the country. In 1973, the Kaohsiung mayor chose a new piece of land next to Lotus Lake to build the temple. It was completed in 1976. The grounds are well maintained along the lake shores. It is full of corridors, stone pillars, and gardens. It is seldom busy here and is a great place to sit and relax while enjoying the lake views.
Above is the main Ta Cheng Palace of the Confucian Temple. Inside the temple are many descriptions about Confucius and the history of Confucianism in both Chinese and English.
Picture above are the Hong Gate and Ta Cheng Gate. The Confucian Temple has many corridors and ornate designs.
The Kaohsiung Confuncian Temple is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00am-5:00pm.
After passing the Confucian Temple, the path starts to wind back around east and heads south. If it is morning time until about 11:00am, there will be a bustling fruit and vegetable market here. It is called the Hello Market. If you want to see a large Taiwanese market in full motion, this is a good one to visit.
The bike path continues around the east side of Lotus Lake. Here, it is quieter and there are fewer cars and people. There are plenty of benches along the way to rest and enjoy the view.
Bikers can cross the Cuihua Road bridge to connect to the paths back to downtown Kaohsiung.
As the loop comes around, visitors can stop at the Lotus Lake Visitor Center. Inside there is a little information about Kaohsiung and Lotus Lake. On weekend mornings there is an organic farmers market selling the fresh fruits and vegetables.