Known as Longtan Township’s famous landmark, the Longtan Lake covers a total area of about 0.17 square kilometers. A statue of Qu Yuan can be seen near the pond. Qu Yuan is a devoted Chinese poet who committed ritual suicide during the Warrring States period by jumping off the Milou River while holding a great rock. Every year, the dragon boat race takes place in this vast pond, gathering many spectators from different parts of Taoyuan County and nearby cities. While the original Dragon Boat Festival was established to symbolize a rescue mission for Qu Yuan, it became a festival to pay tribute to Qu Yuan himself.
In Chinese, ‘Longtan’ means dragon pool, which perhaps perfectly describes the Longtan Lake. This 18-hectare span natural lake functions as an irrigation and flow regulator for the plains in the area. In 1971, the pond was turned into a recreational area by the Longtan Township Office in an effort to boost local tourism. Surrounded by lofty mountains, verdant greenery and gleaming water, this is an interesting destination for relaxation and recreational purposes.
Also known as Long Lake Tourist Pond, there are a couple of interesting places that this lake boasts of. The arching Zhongyu Bridge of the Tourist Pond and the lakeside park add beauty to the entire lake, particularly during evening because of the installed lightings. This is also a popular place with dating couples. The night view at the lakeside park is strikingly beautiful with the bright blue light from the lookout reflecting through the water. The golden light of the temple and the rainbow-colored lighting from the suspension bridge keep the lake vibrant even during nighttime. After enjoying the lake view, visitors can take their dinner at nearby cafes and restaurants, sample the popular Longtan peanut candies or spend the night in recommended hotels.
One interesting sight at Longtan Lake is the magnificent temple called Nantian, which is located at the heart of the pond. While the pond was originally used for irrigation, it became a favorite tourist spot after the locals built the Nantian Palace on the little man-made island inside the lake. Visitors can access the temple by crossing through a red suspension bridge or taking the traditional Chinese-style white bridge. These bridges also enhance the overall beauty of the lake, making it a major recreation area in Longtan Township. The park consists of a bike trail, a kiddy pool with a dragon figure, a kid’s playground, a lookout, a walking trail, a memorial hall, a water plant area, an outdoor fitness facility and several pavilions.
Built at the center of the lake, Nantian Palace, as it is detached from the humdrum world by water, appears like the Nantian Gate (south gate of Heaven), which is how it got its name. The temple is devoted to Guan Sheng Di Jyun, Guan Yin, Jade Emperor, San Guan Da Di or Three Officials of Heaven and more. The temple has Taiwanese-style of architecture, and is richly decorated with glazed tiles and sculpted beams.
Longtan Lake is located at No. 100, Shanglin Village, Longtan Township. If you take public transport, take the Yalan Bus with Taipei-Longtan-Hsinchu Route. Get off at Zhongzheng Road in Longtan Township and take a cab to Longtan tourist pond. If you drive, take the National Freeway 3 and after getting to Longtan Interchange, turn left to Beilong Road and go straight ahead.