Climbing Mountains: Travel Chiayi, The Largest Reservoir in Taiwan, Dapu Lakeside Park

January 4, 2020

An Accidental View: Dapu Lakeside Park

We sat on top of a mountain watching the lights from the sleepy village of Dapu flicker on below us. Night mist rolled over the green and as we wondered how exactly we ended up here. Still, we don’t really know, but we are certain of one thing. Broken roads, if you keep going, can lead to some beautiful places. Take a look at our adventure and travel Chiayi, Taiwan, Dapu Lakeside Park.

A Few Hours Before…

We’re ready. Johan, me and Thula, with some guidance from Follow Xiaofei, were going to take a trip to the largest water reservoir in Taiwan, Tsengwen Reservoir (曾文水庫).  We had images of a day in the sun, floating on inner tubes by the waterside, and exploring some of the scenes that Tsengwen Reservoir has to offer. But, that didn’t exactly happen. However, in our accidental adventure, we did stumble into something quite spectacular. 

What to do When Traveling Chiayi Taiwan, Tsengwen Reservoir (曾文水庫) 

Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung, but what about Chiayi? Travel Chiayi and take a visit to Tsengwen Reservoir (曾文水庫). It is located in Chiayi County, Dapu Township, and is the largest reservoir in Taiwan. With beautiful waterfalls and dams surrounding the water, views of wildlife (like eagles and wild boars if you’re lucky), and the many camping spots spotted around the community makes it a great place to spend a weekend camping in the outdoors of Taiwan. The Taiwan Tourism Bureau also offers  boat rides and other water based activities like fishing, swimming, and kayaking.  You can also attract the wild mountain boar to the lakeside by calling to them with Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma. Really, you can. All unique and rare experiences in Taiwan. We didn’t do that though…we were on another mission. 

A Weary Start 

The water levels were too high from the heavy rains these past summer weeks. Two men sat by a waterside temple and watched us confused foreigners drive our van through heaps of puddles (Thula drooled a little…she loves diving into puddles) and down paths  that led to…well…water. Johan and I quickly realised this camping day was probably not going to go as expected. 

No Map Nomads: GPS Signal Lost

So, what to do? 

The sun was going to set in a few hours. We were still determined to find a spot to camp out for the night. We remembered that Xiaofei said there were many camping sites around the water. Blindly, Johan and I picked a spot and took off. Except our GPS kept taking us in a big circle. We waved to the two temple men as we went by, again..and again. 

The Climb 

We finally veered into an inlet called Guan Yin Pavilion that took us into the mountain. We began to make the climb. A very steep and winding climb, like the kind where we had to make some 3-point turns to get around the bend. I remember looking over the passenger side straight down. Way down into tiny palm trees and bamboo below. 

Up, up, up. The Delica almost overheated…twice. (Yes, Delicaworks Int., we will take your advice about the cooling system next time). But, while Delica was cooling down, it gave us a chance to get out and explore a bit. 

Almost There…Maybe

“There has to be a top of the mountain, right?” I said to Johan. Right

It took us some time, about an hour, driving on the broken road into the ‘we don’t really know where we’re going’.  Then, to our amazement, there was indeed the top of the mountain, and a small well lit campground…with bathrooms, a pavilion overlooking the stretch of the water, and even garbage cans. 

I don’t know how to describe the feelings we had. What exactly went through our minds during that climb. I do know we thought about turning around but somehow decided to keep going. Maybe it was the curiosity of the unknown, or this relationship we have with each other that gives us the confidence to pursue. I don’t really know. But, I do know that together (including Thula) we end up in some quite interesting and beautiful places. Travel Chiayi, or Kaohsiung, or anywhere and see what you can discover.