Emei Lake is a relatively quiet tourist spot down in southern Hsinchu. We went out on the bicycles looking for somewhere leisurely to ride around, but instead found a large mess of disjointed paths that didn’t really lead to anywhere in particular. As we tried to navigate our way through the mess, one of things we stumbled on was a neat little reservoir dam.

At one end of Emei Lake (also referred to as Tai or DaPu reservoir), the path sort of curves around and opens up to DaPu Dam:


Something about giant concrete structures clashing with the natural setting they intrude upon always catches my eye. I guess it’s a reminder of the direct impact we can have on our environments, for better or worse.

Construction on DaPu Reservoir began in 1954 and finished up in 1960, with the dam supplying industrial and irrigation water to neighboring BaoShan, XiangShan and Jhunan Townships.


Emei Lake itself is a catchment area of 100 km sq, with the lake itself being 1.3 km sq in area and able to hold 9 million cubic meters of water.

Possibly what caught my eye before I saw DaPu Dam itself, was the great big yellow sign painted onto the wall of concrete next to the dam:


It reads “水是大地之母 木本水源”, which roughly translates into English as

Water is the mother of earth, from which we can trace back our initial roots with original simplicity.

Deep… (no pun intended).

The red characters under the yellow sign indicate that DaPu Dam is a “forbidden area” (no swimming!).

There’s a small seating area near the dam which is the main viewing area. It’s marked with a sign that reads “制天而用”, or ‘Nature is made by god, you can’t change it but you can understand it and then utilize it to your advantage‘:


Getting to Emei Lake is pretty straight forward, just head off south east from Hsinchu, or head east along Provincial Highway 3 from Toufen or Jhunan. There’s big brown “Emei Lake” tourist signs everywhere so it’s pretty hard to get lost.

Navigating around Emei Lake itself is a bit of a challenge, but that’s a story for another time…