Whilst staying in “Kaohsiung”:http://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/accommodation/156359-review-85-sky-tower-hotel Southern Taiwan, our itinerary said ‘your city tour will include the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas and Spring and Autumn Pavillions’. We didn’t know what to expect and neither merited more than a few lines in Lonely Planet.
Gordon our guide parked the car beside Lotus Pond which, although relatively dry, had some spectacular open pink and purple lotus flowers. However, we were entranced by a unique zig-zag bridge which led to two pagodas guarded by a green dragon and black and yellow striped tiger. The animals were huge, colourful and made from stone. We’d been told to enter through the open dragon’s throat and exit through the mouth of the tiger as this symbolizes turning bad luck to good fortune. Inside the dragon we found wonderful paintings and ceramic reliefs depicting China’s 24 most obedient sons as well as scenes of heaven and hell to provide examples of what to do and the consequences of not doing so. To look at them fully would have taken hours. On exiting, we climbed the six storey pagoda to get high level views of the lake, bridge and the ceramic tigers on the opposite pagoda. It was then back down and across to the Tiger which I insisted on climbing before we came out through the tiger’s mouth. We reluctantly left having taken an enormous amount of photographs.
We then walked along the lake’s edge to the Spring and Autumn Pavilions with an equally long, large green dragon and statue of the Goddess of Mercy in white.
We bought a plastic bag of chunks of fresh pineapple and two sticks from a shop opposite and ambled slowly further along the shore enjoying the sunshine to reach the third landmark: a large 24m statue of a bearded Xuantian Shang-di, the Supreme Emperor of the Dark Heaven.
Whilst Lonely Planet may not rate the sights, they were one of the highlights of our trip to Taiwan and one that we will never forget.