Lotus Lake, Taiwan

Lake Locations:

Taiwan -

Lotus Lake is a spectacular cultural destination in the midst of a modern city. Taiwan is a delightful mixture of old and new, and Lotus Lake certainly fits that description. This man-made lake is within the city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second-largest city. Originally it appears that Lotus Lake was an irrigation pond in the Zuoying District before the city grew to envelop it. Now a city of nearly three million people, Kaohsiung is a leader in manufacturing, refining, shipbuilding, and other light and heavy industries. Taiwan’s largest and busiest harbor, the Port of Kaohsiung, lies immediately to the west of the city on the Taiwan Strait. Lotus Lake, with its brightly-lit ring of pagodas and palaces, lends a sense of history and enduring culture to this industrial center of China.

Rimmed by vibrant pink lotus blossoms, Lotus Lake becomes the stage upon which several Taoist monuments bare the dramatic focal points. The Spring and Autumn Pavilions form a temple complex, while the Ciji Temple holds court nearby. At the north end of the lake, the Confucius Temple (Taiwan’s largest) welcomes respectful visitors. The southwestern tip of the lake holds the Dragon-Tiger Pagodas, a major tourism attraction. The twin seven-story pagodas form a complex over the lake that allow for excellent views of the surrounding city. The entrances are a dragon and a tiger. According to the ancient rules of Feng Shui, visitors must enter through the left entrance, in this case, the dragon’s mouth. The symbolic dragon imparts good luck. Visitors enter through a tunnel brightly painted with the images of gods and containing religious tracts for their edification. Visitors are then free to climb to the top of the pagodas and look out over the lake and the city. When leaving, visitors should exit through the tiger’s mouth as the tiger symbolizes bad luck, and one wants to be departing bad luck whenever possible. Just in case visitors need more information about their futures, the approach to the complex holds a mechanical fortune-telling machine; visitors can ask a question in any of several different categories, and a mechanical woman comes out and drops a scroll containing the answer into a chute for retrieval. Those with repeat experience with the mechanical oracle state the fortune is always a good one.

There are no swimming or fishing facilities at Lotus Lake, although some tour boats are available. Apparently locals do some fishing in the lake, but this isn’t considered a tourist attraction. Those who have visited suggest a walking tour as the best way to experience the sights of Lotus Lake. The shoreline is over two miles, so good walking shoes are suggested. Other temples are spread throughout the district but away from the lakeshore. Bicycles are a suggested means of travel and can be rented in many places in the area. At night, the temples and the wooden walkways over the water leading to them are ablaze with brightly-colored paper lanterns, and the beautifully lit scenes are a favorite of photographers. One of the walkways has nine corners to be turned before the passage becomes direct. This is in keeping with the traditional belief that evil cannot negotiate the particular pattern of turns required, thus protecting those who pass through them.

Lotus Lake was the site of several events in the 2009 World Games which were held in Kaohsiung, including water skiing, canoe polo and dragon boat racing. Many of the facilities were upgraded for the event. Scientific studies of the watershed state that the Lotus Lake irrigation pond existed by 1704, when it was dredged, enlarged and improved. These same studies show the lake being connected to the Tsao-Gung Canal which gained water from the Kaoping River in 1837 during the Qing Dynasty. A dredging and improvement project took place in 1951. Since that time, efforts at improving opportunities for natural habitat and recreation have resulted in the creation of the Zhouzi Wetland Park near the eastern shore and a bicycling park at the south end of the lake. Only a mile or so from Lotus Lake, Shou Shan Nature Park is a natural area containing what the Dutch originally called Ape Hill, a refuge for Formosan rock monkeys.

Because Kaohsiung is a major manufacturing and trade center, there are many business travelers here. Near Lotus Lake the Kaohsiung American School teaches grades K-12 an International Baccalaureate degree program in English, so many in the area speak English. Travel to Taipei via high-speed rail is easily accomplished from the Kaohsiung Terminal, and a subway system facilitates getting around this sprawling city. The Formosa Boulevard station displays a ‘dome of light’ ceiling light sculpture in the station that is worth visiting even if not taking the rail. The city holds several museums that are worth an afternoon’s perusal: the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts is a part of the Neiweipi Cultural Park, and the Kaohsiung Astronomical Museum holds an 18-foot diameter sky screen, an astronomical science exhibition hall, the largest constellation map ever created in the Mandarin language, and the Temma Mewlon 300mm reflector telescope, largest in Taiwan outside of research facilities. And no visit would be complete without taking the ferry to Qijin Island to enjoy a day of cycling, carnival-style booths, street food, games and diversions and the landmarks, Cihou Fort and Cihou Lighthouse. Windmill Park on QiJin has an interesting collection of wind machines working to garner electricity from off-shore breezes.

There are multiple types of lodgings available for Kaohsiung visitors. Besides elegant hotels and spas, many guest apartments and bed-and-breakfast style guest stays exist in the city. A well-recommended home-stay can be just the solution for travelers who are unsure of where to go and what to see; many proprietors are willing to direct their guests to the best eating establishments and even go with them to evening entertainment venues to smooth language barriers. They also know the best shopping hotspots and can facilitate transfers from city to city. So, come enjoy this very modern city with a very old culture. Lotus Lake is lovely, and the temples and pagodas are mysterious and picture-worthy.

*Size of the lake is only a rough estimate.

Things to do at Lotus Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Canoeing
  • Biking
  • Museum
  • Shopping

Lotus Lake Photo Gallery

Lotus Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Surface Area: 100 acres

Shoreline Length: 2 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 30 feet

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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