Siaonanhai Wetlands Conservation Area
Siaonanhai Scenic Area
Nature lovers would do well to pay a visit to the Siaonanhai Scenic Area, a wetlands conservation park that plays host to a large number of wild bird species, including the endangered pheasant-tailed jacana. The biking and walking trails of this wild, unspoiled nature reserve are a great place to get away from it all and experience Taiwan’s wetlands wildlife first-hand.
Straddling Tainan’s Houbi and Baihe Districts, this 26 hectare reserve is composed of three connected reservoirs that together make up a natural rainfall catchment area. As such, they are vital to flood control and to the irrigation of the region’s rice and lotus crops. Depending on the season and the rainfall, the reservoirs may be low and reed-filled or full-on lakes. They provide a protected refuge for both endemic Taiwanese and migratory bird species, making the area a paradise for bird-watchers. Kingfishers, moorhens, cattle egrets, Malayan night herons, snipes, stilts, and grebes are just some of the birds that can be found diving into the waters or wading through the reeds here. Lucky visitors may even get a glimpse of the endangered pheasant-tailed jacana, which is only seen in this part of Taiwan.
Some five kilometers of bike paths and walking trails ring Shangjiadong Reservoir, the central and largest of the three lakes, providing access to a large part of the park. Most of the ride is lightly forested, with plenty of scenic lookouts offering views of the lake, nearby rice paddies, and the mountains in the distance. A boardwalk that runs along the edge of the lake provides up-close access to the water and allows visitors to enjoy the views and watch for local wildlife. The occasional shaded picnic tables provide a place to take a break and have something to drink.
If you’ve used other means of transportation to get to the Siaonanhai Scenic Area but would like to take a bike ride through the park, head to Putuo Zen Temple on the north side of the lake. There you can find T-bikes for rent next to the suspension bridge. A map nearby marks the route, which you can take in two different directions from this point. Crossing the bridge will take you directly to the wooded route that runs around Shangjiadong Reservoir; heading back to the temple entrance and taking a right will eventually bring you out to neighboring Jiangjun Reservoir, which in springtime is known for its flowering cherries. Baihe Lotus Park and Silk Cotton Tree Road are also an easy ride from here; these three scenic spots together make a great day-trip for visitors seeking a break from city crowds.
Houbi District, Tainan City