There are many parks in Keelung to suit all types of visitors. Keelung parks offer temples, museums, natural scenery... You name it, and there's a park to suit your needs. But which of Keelung's parks is the most beloved? For nature lovers or lovers in general, the top one is inevitably Lover's Lake Park.
Lovers Lake Park is probably my favourite place in Keelung, and undoubtedly the most romantic of Keelung's parks. I could easily spend an entire day here sitting by the lake reading or writing, or hike up one of the many surrounding mountains.
It’s a breath of fresh air—a quick escape from the city when it starts to get suffocating. Spending a day out surrounded by lush greenery away from constant stimulation of the city, and breathing in air so fresh that it could almost be green itself works absolute wonders. I always leave feeling revitalised and ready to take on the world.
This time, I visited on a sunny weekday afternoon in December, and apart from the front of the lake where families and couples were gathered, I had pretty much the whole place to myself.
Walking around Lovers Lake Park
There are two main walking routes you can take. The first is a footpath that leads around around the perimeter of lake, which is a good option for those who prefer not to walk long distances. It’s a short and gentle walk, and very pleasant.
The second option is a path around the surrounding hills—great for those on the lookout for sweeping views or those who would rather go a bit off the beaten track. Although longer and less sedate than the lakeside route, it’s not a difficult walk by any means. The route is well marked, and is split into smaller sections so you have the option of just doing one or two sections. I started off on the lakeside route because I wanted to cross the Lover’s Lake Bridge (unfortunately the bridge was closed for maintenance work and would only be reopened the day after I leave Keelung) and then veered off to the hill route because I was in the mood for a little adventure.
Climbing the hills and mountains of the Lovers Lake Park
On the hill route not far from the lake is Eagle Rock, from where you get a stunning view: cars speeding up the freeway that winds around the mountains, and the patch of gold that is Dawulun Beach, with its fishing port and the clear blue sea beyond. There is a walking path that takes you down by the beach if you’d like to walk along there.
I wanted to climb higher, so from Eagle Rock I headed in the direction of Dawulun Mountain. Let’s just say that there were many, many stairs. I couldn’t go all the way up because I had to catch the last bus home, but I managed to go just over halfway. Even so, the views from the many observation decks on the way up were absolutely magnificent. If you have the time and energy, it's definitely worth the climb.
Practical tips for getting there
Getting there: Bus 509 from right outside Keelung Train Station. It only takes about 20 minutes, but these buses run very infrequently. If you miss the 1040 bus, the next one doesn’t leave until 1410 (see full bus timetable here). The last bus back to Keelung leaves Lovers Lake at 1720, so keep an eye on the time.
Another note: even though I speak passable Mandarin, I still found it tricky to keep track of the stops. Bus drivers tend to make an extra effort to give you a shout if you look foreign, but you might want to politely ask the bus driver to remind you when you’re at the right stop to be sure (just say “qing ren hu” to your driver when you board; he or she will get the memo). That said, even if you do miss your stop it’s actually quite a nice walk back, especially when the skies are blue and the sun is out.