Baihe Lotus Park
Baihe Lotus Park Introduction
The flat plains of Baihe District are one of the best places in Tainan for biking. The area is crisscrossed by bike paths that make everything here very accessible, and it’s a very laid-back ride—you won’t wear yourself out getting where you want to go. It is on these trails that you will find Baihe Lotus Park. Like the nearby Silk Cotton Tree Road and Xiaonanhai Wetlands Scenic Area, Baihe Lotus Park is a world away from the noisy buzz of Taiwan’s urban areas.
The park, which opened in 1996, sits on about four hectares of land, and is best seen between June and September, which is lotus season in Baihe District. Lotus is a major crop in Baihe—in fact, if you come here by bike, you’ll pass a veritable checkerboard of rice paddies and lotus plantations all along the route. Local farmers have long made a practice of rotating two crops to help replenish the nutrients in the soil.
This same system of crop rotation is practiced in the lotus ponds in the park, so the scenery changes every year. Several varieties of lotus are planted, and when the flowers bloom each year, it’s a beautiful sight. A universal favorite is the King Lotus pond. Generally planted somewhere near the center of the park, the King Lotus is impossible to miss. The leaves look a bit like gigantic green pie pans. Growing nearly two meters in diameter, they can hold up to 60 kilograms, and for a small fee, you can try sitting on them if you dare. A bridge over the ponds offers visitors a view of the pastoral scene and leads to a low, lushly planted hill on the other side complete with walkways, gazebos, and picnic areas.
Next to the ponds, the Lotus Explorer Museum has poetry and art displays celebrating the beauty of this iconic Chinese plant along with loads of information about its importance as a food crop—and as a food crop, the lotus is quite impressive. Almost every part of it is edible. The flowers are used to brew tea, and the seeds added to soups and desserts (check out the lotus-seed popsicles on sale here). The roots are cut into slices and cooked or ground into lotus-root powder, which makes a naturally sweet breakfast jelly. Even the leaves can make a wrapping for steamed rice.
In the end, though, Baihe Lotus Park is all about the scenic views. Come armed with a camera, if possible on a weekday when the park is generally uncrowded and you can enjoy the peace and quiet.
No. 7-22, Dingshanjiao, Yufeng Vil., Baihe Dist., Tainan City