Emei Lake (峨眉湖), Hsinchu county

Taiwan has many little picturesque spots to go for a relaxing afternoon or evening.  One of these is Emei Lake (峨眉湖) in Hsinchu county.  It was originally built as a reservoir (named Dapu).  Emei was the first reservoir to be built by Taiwanese, but is no longer used as such.  It is now a beautiful, scenic little area with lots of greenery and a very calming vibe.

The first thing that one notices at Emei is the big-massive-gigantic Buddha statue:

He is the tallest of only 4 such statues in Taiwan.  This happy little guy tops off at 72 meters.  He is called a “Maitreya” buddha which apparently means “future” buddha.  He has the world in his right hand, prayer beads in his left and a big, teddy bear smile on his face.  This definitely gives me hope for humanity because if the future buddha is smiling, we are going to be ok.

Right beside him is what looks like a temple (it was closed when I went, and I couldn’t read the Mandarin description):

The temple itself is a huge structure, but it is dwarfed by the statue.  Standing up close to the buddha made me actualize it’s immensity and stirred vague philosophical thoughts of how infinitesimally small my life really is.  And then I got distracted by a very colourful bug that flew by.

The actual lake rings around the temple and statue:

There is a walkway that runs along the side of the lake;  perfect for a romantic stroll with that special someone, or a solitary jaunt for the lone wolf.

Emei is a great place if you want to get away from the bustling, noisy crowds and spend some time in quiet rumination or self reflection.  One can spend hours sitting in the company of gorgeous surroundings:

These are plants growing on the surface of the lake.  It looks like solid ground, but there is actually water under the blanket of green.

In the early summer, the tung flower blossoms here covering many of the trees, and the fireflies come out in the evening.  I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s supposed to be a beautiful sight.

While Taiwan has many enchanting places,  I found Emei to have that extra little “je ne sais quoi”.  Somehow the combination of the statue, temple, water and green life creates more than just a pretty picture.  The area possesses a sense of spiritual timelessness.

It really is amazing how the Taiwanese turned a plain old water reservoir into this serene paradise.  Definitely worth a visit.  Here’s where it is:

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