Taoyuan District's Scenic Areas

【◎Written by Chen Ting-fang ◎English translation by Hou Ya-ting ◎Photos by Huang Jing-wen】

 Taoyuan is Kaohsiung's most northern district. It has a spectacular mountainous landscape and rich indigenous culture. Two thirds of the district is situated from 1,000 to 3,000 meters above sea level.

 The Hla'alua tribe were Taoyuan District's earliest residents, and now the Bunan tribe makes up the largest part of the population within the region, migrating elsewhere on the island like Nantou, Hualian, and Taidong. Taoyuan District is comprised of eight villages, including Baoshan, Jianshan, Gaojhong, Taoyuan, Cinhe, Fusing, Lafulan, and Meishan.

 Comprised of approximately 200 households, Jianshan is the district's most populated village. Ms. Jin A-mei is the Chief of Jianshan Village. She points out how the Bunan people's cultural identity is illustrated through the totem poles that mark the village's entrance. One of these customs is still practiced in the fall and winter when males must go out hornet hunting. They then brew the hornets into a medicinal alcoholic beverage. This custom is illustrated through hornets' nest sculptures situated at the top of the totem pole.

 Gaojhong Village hosts the annual Miatungusus, which means Ceremony of the Sacred Shells. During this time the tribe worships the deities, prays for peace, bountiful harvests, and a flourishing community. Legend has it that the ancestors of the Hla'alua and black hanitu had established a deep friendship. Before the black hanitu left the village, they were given a large shell, which signified a bountiful harvest. Every year, the Hla'alua commemorates this event.

 Following the devastating 2009 Typhoon Morakot, the South-Cross Highway was completely destroyed. It took the Highway Commission over ten years to completely repair it. The road was of particular importance as it runs by Meishan, the entrance to Yushan National Park. Finally, in January of this year, after more than a decade, the Meishan Kou-Tianchih section of the road was repaired and reopened to the public.

 Meishan has spectacular views and hiking trails. Visitors come to hike the Jhongjhihguan Trail, up to the famous Tianchih Highland Lake. Tianchih is a heart-shaped lake, which is located at the top of the mountain, 2,280 meters above sea level. The walking trail is located at the South-Cross Highway's highest point. It is a great place to see Taiwan's various flora and fauna, such as the Trochodendron aralioides, cypress trees, and various other trees. The Jhongjhihguan and Tianchih trails provide visitors with gorgeous views of Taiwan's central mountain range.

 However, it is important to note that this section of road is closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Currently it is only open from 8:00 AM to 01:00 PM. No traffic is allowed into the Meishan Kou entrance after 01:00 PM, and all visitors must be out by 03:00 PM.

 Taoyuan District is full of scenic beauty and distinct native culture. It is highly recommended to check out some of the local festivals and explore the areas' natural surroundings. However, remember driving in the mountains should be approached with caution, so be sure to follow the government's stipulations in terms of road safety and visitor's hours. A trip out to Taoyuan's cultural villages and scenic areas will indeed be a unique experience.

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獅山胡椒園

 六亀区新発里にある獅山胡椒園は、台湾で唯一の胡椒農場である。この農場は「胡椒おじさん」の愛称を持つ陳振山によって創立され、1973年、屏東東農専(現在の屏東科技大学)と共同で台湾原産の胡椒を生み出した。農場は現在約1.45ヘクタールの栽培面積を持ち、二代目の陳裕隆に引き継がれている。

天池―海抜2,280メートルの風景

 桃源区に入ると、高く連なる山々が見えてくる。道中、いくつかの吊り橋を通り過ぎる。目に入る風景はまるで桃源郷のように美しい。旅人を引きつけてやまない、原住民の集落を訪ねた。

桃源区宝山集落 茶園での茶席体験

 桃源区の寶山(宝山)は海抜1,300メートルから1,500メートルの場所に位置している。年平均気温は18度から24度だ。焼けつくような暑さの夏でも涼しく、気持ちよく過ごせることから、台湾でも屈指の避暑地となっている。また、宝山と聞いて多くの人がイメージするのは、桜だ。さらに、宝山はキャンプ場としても人気がある。それだけではなく、最近は茶畑での茶席体験や遊歩道なども評判になっている。

蚵仔寮小漁村

 梓官区にある蚵仔寮漁港は、台湾で最も海岸線から近い場所にあり、かつ最も人口の多い漁村集落である。蚵仔寮の漁船は、沿海と近海で漁業を行う。朝方3時から4時に海に出て、正午前、蚵仔寮魚市場での時間に間に合うように帰ってくる。蚵仔寮魚市場は高雄市最大の獲れたての鮮魚を扱う市場だ。漁港の年売買高は4,000トンに達する。毎年冬にボラが増えるが、それ以外にもシラス、サバ、アジ、タチウオ、イカなど、蚵仔寮漁港で獲れる魚の種類は多い。

Kezihliao Fishing Village

 Zihguan District's Kezihliao Fishing Port is situated in a densely populated area. Local fishermen leave before 4 a.m. every day to go out fishing and return around noon. When they return, they take their catch to Kezihliao Seafood Auction. The Kezihliao fish market is Taiwan's biggest auction site. Annually, they sell 4,000 metric tons of fish and other seafood. Common catches include mullet, whitebait, mackerel, Japanese horse mackerel, hair-tail and squid.

Ciaojiang Clogs

 Ciaojiang Clogs is Kaohsiung's only clogs shop. Mr. Yuan Yong-jyun, founder and clog artisan, launched this business around twenty years ago. At first, he sold his wooden clogs from a street stall.

Shihshan Pepper Plantation

 Shihshan Pepper Plantation, which covers 1.45 hectares of land in Liouguei District's Sinfa Village, is the only pepper plantation in Taiwan. Founder Mr. Chen Jhen-shan has been dubbed “Uncle Pepper.”

Taoyuan District's Scenic Areas

 Taoyuan is Kaohsiung's most northern district. It has a spectacular mountainous landscape and rich indigenous culture. Two thirds of the district is situated from 1,000 to 3,000 meters above sea level.

Baoshan Village Lures Visitors with Tea Tasting Experiences

 Baoshan Village, in a mountainous part of Kaohsiung City's Taoyuan District, is located 1,300 to 1,500 meters above sea level. The village's average temperature is between 18°C to 24°C. During the summer, when the lowlands are sizzling, Baoshan remains cool and comfortable, making it an attractive travel destination.

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