Lotus Lake is a manmade lake in the north of Kaohsiung which has several interesting temples.
We got to this lake by taking the metro to Zuoying Station. When you arrive at the station, go to exit 2; walk straight ahead until you come to a fairly large road. At this road go right. You will arrive at a park. Cross the park and cross one more road, you will be at the lake at the Confucius Temple end.
(Although we did not do this, I believe if you get off at Ecological District Station you can walk to the dragon/tiger temple end of the lake).
The Confucius Temple is a fairly simple but pretty temple. It dates from 1977.
Continue walking round the lake and you will come to the temple of the emperor of the dark heaven. There is a walkway lined with statues which leads to an enormous statue of the emperor of the dark heaven.
Walk further round the lake and and you will reach the Spring Autumn Pavillion. These are two towers dating from 1953. Between them is a huge dragon and on its back stands Kuan Yin - goddess of mercy. You can enter the dragon's mouth, walk through its body and exit its tail. Inside the dragon is lined with various paintings. Behind the Spring Autumn Pavillion a walkway leads to a pavillion in the lake.
Walk further on and you will reach the Dragon Tiger Pavillion. This was built in 1965. Go in through the dragon's mouth and leave through the tiger's mouth. This is supposed to turn bad luck into good luck. There are good views over the lake from the dragon and tiger towers.
Each pavillion in the lake is opposite an ornate temple on the shore. We walked all the way round the lake and back to Zuoying Station. The other side of the lake has a temple with a huge statue on its roof. Other than that it is a fairly pleasant walk past fishermen and the occasional patch of waterlilies from which the lake takes its name.
We stayed in the Ambassador Hotel which is located on Love River, so we saw a lot of this river. At one time Love River was very polluted but in recent years it has been cleaned up and has become a beautiful area for the population of Kaohsiung to enjoy.
We did not have breakfast included in our hotel deal and bought breakfast each morning from one of Kaohsiung's many convenience stores; we then sat on the banks of Love River to eat - a very pleasant and relaxing start to the day.
The river is lined with walkways and cycle tracks. There are many conveniently located seats. Several cafes and restaurants are situated on the river banks. There are several interesting temples overlooking the river. The Film Archives Museum and History Museum are by the river. The Holy Rosary Cathedral is not on but close to the river.
At night the river is lit up in many different colours. There are riverboat trips up and down the river. These last for about 20 minutes. Some of the cafes and restaurants by the river have music. Well worth visiting.
As you go farther north of the Lotus Pond, you'll come across the temple to Confucius. Though he was a philosopher and teacher, devotees revere him like a god. However, no image nor statue of him can be seen inside this structure.
The layout of the temple complex is reminiscent of Beijing's Forbidden City, where the central building is in the middle of a square courtyard with rows of smaller rooms on all sides.
There's nothing spectacular about this former British consulate building. Other than it served as a diplomatic post, prison and as a strategic lookout point (it's on a mountainside at the mouth of the Kaohsiung harbor), what's so special about an old brick edifice? Sure, it was the first western infrastructure built in Taiwan but nothing much else history-wise. You won't miss much skipping this place, you'll even be spared an exhausting stair climb to reach it from the street. Good thing admission is free.
The national park is Taiwan's first and from the looks of it this is where many Kaohsiung residents head off during the weekend for hiking, cycling, dive or frolic in the beaches. The main attraction is the drive itself, with the sea on your right and the mountains on your left. You can stop at the main town of Kenting to sample the fresh catch of the day and buy some of the locally produced foodstuff (commercially packed and sealed) to take home. The few sights to come across are the lighthouse and southernmost marker at Eluanbi.
The Fo Guang Shan monastery is a big complex comprised of a temple, schools, museum and art gallery and even a hotel. It is ran by monks and nuns, and the food served here (whether at the cafe or hotel) is entirely vegetarian. Being a religious place, one would expect of course to find statues of Buddha gracing the temple as well as every nook and corner. But here, you'll get to see THOUSANDS of statues from small ones that can fit your hand to one that's 10 stories high! Check our the photos.
Kaohsiung is a hot and noisy city, so Chijin Island is the perfect getaway for some relaxing peace and quiet! It's best to go in the afternoon beacuse the sun is very hot and you will need to walk about to get anywhere. After you've walked for a while, go to one of the delicious sea food restaurants.
There are several sights to see, such as the light house and the bustling colorful little temple. There's even a little hotel, but I think this might be a bit too limited a destination for an overnight trip.
Warning! Don't get confused on the way there. Sometimes the name is spelled differently, Cicin, Chichin, or Chihu, or Chinchin! But their all the same place!
It is a island that worthwhile to expense a half day there, it get some busy street, but also you can walk away from the crowd and see the Lighthouse.
Chichin is a long, narrow island that forms a natural breakwater protecting Kaohsiung Harbor. This small but scenic island features a 300-year-old Tienhou Temple, devoted to Matsu, Goddess of the Sea, which is designated as a third-grade national historic site. Chichin is also the only place in Taiwan where you can still ride a three-wheel Pedicab powered by man in traditional Chinese costume. Yet another favorite attraction here is fresh, delicious and reasonably price seafood.
In fact, I take nap under tree there and feel complete refresh for another walk :-)
The light house is designed by John Reginald Harding, and it was built at 1883
Height - 15.2 m, and light distance is 25.2 mile!
Cijin island is a small island which among other things, provides the protective barrier for the Kaohsiung Harbor. (See my two lead pictures on my Kaohsiung page).
The island is also home to a strong fishing community and has some great seafoods (see my restaurant tip).
But the island also has a historic lighthouse, World War era military bunkers and artillery battery, as well as a nice promenade walk along the coast and cliff line. All are within easy walking distance of the Cijin Ferry terminal.
When you arrive at the ferry terminal, look at the tourist map and begin walking.
While I was in Kaohsiung, I was visiting several local friends. They all recommended Lui-Ho night market above all others in the city.
The places is completely vacant during the day, except for a few stalls under plastic and locked tight. But during the night, they come alive!
There are ample choices of local foods, and cheap too!
There are discount clothes, souvenirs, jewelry, etc. There are even arcade areas for the kids.
This is a popular destination for travelers, this area contains 20 or more temples along the shoreline and nearby area. The pond is more of the size of a lake, it was under renovation and the pond was drained during my visit. There are various Chinese style structures located in and around the pond and have a traditional Chinese feel.
The top floor of Kaohsiung's immense Dream Mall has a small amusement park, including a Hello Kitty-based Ferris Wheel that offers a spectacular view over the city of Kaohsiung. The 15-minute ride costs NT 150. I happened to catch the sunset during my ride on the Ferris Wheel, making it a very notable experience. Views extend in all directions, including the Kaohsiung 85 Tower and many other of Kaohsiung's high rises and nearby mountains. You can also see Kaohsiung's Harbor, the busiest in Taiwan.
Probably the best view of the city of Kaohsiung is from the 74th floor observation deck of the Kaohsiung 85 Tower (Tuntex Skyscraper). For an inexpensive NT 100 (compared to NT 350 for Taipei 101), you can take a modestly fast elevator for about 1 minute up 75 floors, where you come out at a bar/lounge. Descend the staircase to the observation area, which offers views west, north, and east; the view to the south is blocked off. The observation deck is rarely visited (at least when I was there. But that was an overcast day); I stayed there for an hour and at times I had the entire floor to myself. The amenities here are not as expanded as Taipei 101; there is no gift shop, no mass damper to see. There are also no labels/plaques of the view.
Some notable features visible from the tower are the Kaohsiung Harbor, Love River, and Chengcing Lake.
True Love Pier (Jin-ai Matou) (真愛碼頭) is at the southern end of Love River. This is a rather interesting place; you can board the short boat rides on the river here (though not if its raining). There's also a pedestrian bridge here that crosses the Love River. From the bridge, you get views of the pier, the Tuntex Skyscraper, and much of the rest of the Kaohsiung skyline; you can even see the port of Kaohsiung.
Tuntex Skyscraper (Tuntex Sky Tower) (Kaohsiung 85 Tower) is the tallest building in Kaohsiung at 348 meters (1,140 feet) tall. It has 85 floors and has an observation deck, which I didn't visit. The shape of this building is noteworthy: the building is designed to look like the Chinese word Kao (高),the first part of the name Kaohsiung. Tuntex Sky Tower is the second tallest building in the Republic of China; when it was completed in 1997, it replaced Taipei's Shin-Kong Life Tower as the tallest on the island, and was the tallest building in Taiwan until 2003, when Taipei 101 surpassed it. Tuntex Sky Tower contains the second highest hotel rooms in the world, surpassed only by Shanghai's Jin-Mao Tower.