The Incredible Temples of Lotus Pond, Taiwan


lotus park kaohsiung

Looking more like a lake than a pond, Lotus Pond is Kaohsiung’s relaxing getaway inside the city. It is an entirely man-made body of water with over twenty bizarre looking temples surrounding the waters edge. It gets its name from the fact that it is almost always coated with a layer of lotus blossom.

I’d read online that it was possible to walk to the park but upon arriving at the closest subway station and looking at my map I realised that it was ridiculously far to walk.

Fortunately the people in Taiwan are amazing, and when a girl spotted me looking confused she grabbed me and threw me on a bus filled with Chinese tourists who stared at me in silence. The elderly bus driver pressed a large bag of prunes into my hand.

With no better plan, I shrugged and took my seat next to a young girl.

lotus pond kaohsiung

view of lotus pond lake from above in kaohsiung

The tour that I found myself on was a hop-on hop-off tour which is definitely the best way to see the temples as the “pond” is SO large and would take hours to walk all the way round if you’re as unfit as I am.

I would suggest taking the bus to the south west side of the lake where the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas are and then spend the rest of the day walking along the western side of the lake, as this is where the most unusual temples are located.

The Dragon and Tiger pagodas were some of the wildest temples I’ve ever seen.

tiger dragon temple in lotus pond kaohsiung

tiger dragon temples lotus pond taiwan

As you approach the temple there are threatening signs ordering you to enter through the dragon’s mouth first, and exit through the lion as this supposedly symbolises turning your bad luck into good. Inside the body of the dragon there are garish paintings depicting scenes of heaven and hell to encourage visitors to perform good deeds.

dragon temple at lotus pond kaohsiung

Roughly 500 metres north of the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas the Spring and Autumn pavilions are located, which also feature a dragon’s mouth that you could walk through.

spring autumn pavillions at lotus pond kaohsiung

In front of the pavilions is a statue of the Goddess of Mercy riding a dragon.

goddess of mercy at lotus pond taiwan

In between the Spring and Autumn pavilions is the Wuli pavilion, which was unfortunately under construction while I was there.

pathway at lotus pond kaohsiung

The final stop on my tour around the lake was the Beiji Xuantian Shang Di Pavilion, which has a huge painted statue of the Emperor of the Dark Heaven.

Beiji Xuantian Shang Di Pavilion lotus pond taiwan

Lotus Pond was one of the most unique experiences during my time in Taiwan. I’d never seen anything like it before and it has made every other temple visit ever since seem boring in comparison.

What’s the strangest temple you’ve ever seen? Have you ever seen something crazy that was so completely out of place from your surroundings?

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38 Comments

  1. Mike
    November 6, 2011
    Reply

    Great post…really cool pictures!!!

    • Lauren
      November 7, 2011
      Reply

      Thanks so much! :)

  2. Andrew
    November 6, 2011
    Reply

    Everything is so colorful. It almost seems like out of a coloring book instead of architecture. I guess I’m used to the European idea of religious buildings being intricate but not colorful.

    • Lauren
      November 7, 2011
      Reply

      Yeah, I’m the same. One of the things I love most about Asia is the amazing colourful architecture.

  3. Alouise
    November 6, 2011
    Reply

    This temple looks so cool. It’s definitely more colorful than the temples you normally see.

    • Lauren
      November 7, 2011
      Reply

      I really loved the colours too :)

  4. Gerry
    November 7, 2011
    Reply

    Nice pictures! Funnily enough, my mum just went to Taiwan and visited this park. Looks totally fun.

    • Lauren
      November 7, 2011
      Reply

      Oh, that’s awesome, especially as it’s not a place that many people have been to. It was SO fun!

  5. Toni
    November 7, 2011
    Reply

    Gorgeous photos sweet – so pretty =) At least your camera is one thing you haven’t lost ;)

    • Lauren
      November 7, 2011
      Reply

      Thanks hun! It’s only a matter of time before I lose my camera hahaha!

  6. Elizabeth
    November 7, 2011
    Reply

    Wow… these are really cool pictures! Great Post.

    • Lauren
      November 7, 2011
      Reply

      Thanks, Elizabeth!

  7. jill
    November 8, 2011
    Reply

    Crazy looking temples!! This place looks like something out of children’s story book.

    • Lauren
      November 23, 2011
      Reply

      Thanks Jill! I couldn’t believe a place like this actually existed!

  8. Globetrottergirls
    November 8, 2011
    Reply

    Wow, that’s a very unique temple!! Love all the pictures.

    • Lauren
      November 23, 2011
      Reply

      Thanks so much! They were definitely different to anything else I’d ever seen before.

  9. Audrey
    November 8, 2011
    Reply

    They must’ve known you are famous! Haha, I love those moments when the tourist becomes the attraction. Great snaps!

    • Lauren
      November 23, 2011
      Reply

      It happened way too many times in Taiwan and China! Fun at first but quickly became irritating :)

  10. Jordan
    November 8, 2011
    Reply

    This temple is incredible! I can’t believe that pond is completely man made!

    • Lauren
      November 23, 2011
      Reply

      I know, it was SO huge!!

  11. Sam
    November 9, 2011
    Reply

    Looks kind of what I’d expect a Taiwanese Disney Land to look like. Were these places of worship?

    • Lauren
      November 23, 2011
      Reply

      Hahaha exactly! They were supposedly places of worship… But I only ever saw excited tourists in them :)

  12. Jen
    November 9, 2011
    Reply

    The pictures are beautiful!! That’s proper funny about them all taking photos of you, I don’t know why it tickled me so much. I had some fella do the same to me in Bangkok, but he was just trying to kidnap me I think… xx

    • Lauren
      November 23, 2011
      Reply

      Hahahahahaha, THAT’S funny! Kidnap you?! What?! Hahaha.

  13. Changes In Longitude
    November 20, 2011
    Reply

    This story is too funny. Are these temples old or fairly modern? Oh, and how were the prunes?

    • Lauren
      November 23, 2011
      Reply

      They are pretty modern, and the prunes were surprisingly nice!

  14. Amanda
    November 29, 2011
    Reply

    Holy cow, the colors are ridiculous!! Nice use of HDR to make them pop. This sounds like such a cool place to visit. Also, I loved your description of the Chinese tour bus! Haha, I could totally picture it in my head.

  15. Kelsey
    December 14, 2011
    Reply

    Wow, those are amazing!

  16. Kungwan
    April 17, 2012
    Reply

    Great to hear that you had a good time in my hometown. My family has been there for generations as farmers/traders- the Lotus pond is actually not man-made, but part of a marshland with a very shallow lake/pond (great for rice planting and water chestnut). It was re-zoned and contained in a concrete barrier to develop into a tourist destination (read: ecological disaster). It’s a shame that you didn’t have a local to show you around this historic place.

    The high concentration of temples actually reveal how old the place is. The temples are built over the years by locals who fund them to pay homage. A little further inwards, you’d find a Presbytarian and Catholic church built by missionaries. Every month, there are celebrations that pay homage to temples at different times. You’d expect the deities to fight with one another for our attention, but they coexist peacefully. :)

    That huge statue of the Emperor is very new and built by generous donations from locals (who have their names carved onto the bridge- mine included). Remains of the old city wall, a fine example of neglected Minnan style architecture, can be found on the Dragon & Tiger pagodas end. The Spring and Autumn Pavilions are the most authentic works to the locals on the pond. You can still find old houses, like the Beijing hutongs, further inward. On the other end, is the largest Confucius temple in Taiwan- often used as location for old kung-fu films.

    But what is most alluring for Taiwanese tourists is the food there. The influx of mainland Chinese immigrants from all over China for the naval base offers a great variety of food in the area. Immigrant brides from all over SE Asia has seen Thai and Vietnamese restaurants popping up in the surrounding areas. A culinary experience is waiting to be had there.

    Hope you will consider visiting again!

  17. Todd
    May 8, 2013
    Reply

    Great pictures, the lotus pond temples of Kaohsiung truly are something special.

    The strangest temple I’ve ever seen is definitely Tzude Temple in Nantou County, Taiwan. It sits on a hilltop that I drive past every day on my way to and from work [http://thedailybubbletea.com/2009/08/23/tzude-temple/].

  18. Chris
    May 26, 2013
    Reply

    Such wonderful pictures! I discovered the Lotus Pond purely by chance while playing GeoGuesser (a game that shows you street views on Google maps and you have to figure out where you are). Your page was one I found while hunting down the pond’s location!

    • Lauren
      May 26, 2013
      Reply

      Awesome! I love GeoGuesser and think it’s so cool you found my post through it! :-)

  19. Emily
    September 10, 2013
    Reply

    hey, there, i am a Taiwanese who now is traveling in North Europe. I happen see ur blog, and love ur post about Kaohsiung. it reminds me of my a few months life there.

    • Lauren
      September 18, 2013
      Reply

      Thanks, Emily! I’m jealous you got to live there for a few months :-)

  20. Anja
    February 20, 2015
    Reply

    I’ve only visited Taipei and I loved it. Those temples look awesome! That destination goes on my bucketlust for my next visit to Taiwan;-).

    • Lauren
      March 8, 2015
      Reply

      Yay! :-)

  21. Borna
    August 21, 2017
    Reply

    I am going to Taiwan to attend a conference . I have only one day for city tour . Could you guide me to best use of my day. I wish to visit Taroko Gorge Any other two place . I am in budget. If possible please make a plan for me . Thanks in advance

    • Lauren
      August 22, 2017
      Reply

      Oh man, there’s no way you can do that in a day, Borna! It takes around three hours just to get from Taipei to Taroko Gorge, so that’s six hours in transportation, and you’d need another 6 or so to actually see the place. I think you’ll struggle to see Taroko Gorge as a day trip, and that’s without adding two other destinations into the mix!

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