Tea Gardens and Hot Springs in Kaohsiung's Countryside
【◎Written by Li Guei-sian ◎English translation by Lin Yu-ciao ◎Photos by Zeng Sin-yao, Lin Yan-yi】
From time to time, it is important to leave the city and go out into the countryside. Kaohsiung's numerous mountain villages offer fantastic hot springs, delicious cuisine, and great places to rejuvenate.
※Tea-tasting in a Baoshan Tribal Village
The Baoshan Tribe live in Kaohsiung's Taoyuan District, where Taiwan's indigenous tea is produced. Visitors can enjoy numerous tea gardens that surround the mountain. The Baoshan Tribe not only grow tea, but also brew it. The tea industry really began to flourish after participating in tea ceremony competition, which is held by Maolin National Scenic Area Administration. Tourists can come to Baoshan, enjoy the tea gardens, and get a peek into the unique Bunun culture.
The Baoshan Napu Indigenous Organic Tea Garden has won the tea ceremony competition for three years in a row. Its owner, Sie Guo-hua, uses the Bunun traditional three-stone stove to boil water and brew the tea. He also built his outdoor shed from Formosa Sugar Palm and that is where he heats the teapots and awakens the tea.
Napu is Sie Guo-hua's Bunun name. He has been operating the organic tea garden for more than 20 years. The wild indigenous tea is grown in his garden, along with the tea seedlings. Visitors can book half-day or one-day experiences at Napu Indigenous Organic Tea Garden in order to learn about indigenous plants, pick the two-leaved tea, and try samples. It is recommended that bookings be made at least two weeks in advance.
※Hot springs in Bulao
Meilunshan Hot Spring Resort is located in Liouguei District. It has a red Japanese-style torii at the entrance. It is a relaxing place to enjoy hot springs and spend the night. Bulao's hot springs are clear alkaline carbonic acid and are nicknamed “beauty soup”. Meilunshan Resort has 22 “all wood” spa suites that have different themes.
After relaxing in the hot springs, enjoy the local cuisine, which has been listed in Kaohsiung's 100 Best Delicacies and Eastern Kaohsiung's Slow Food Restaurant Magazine. Chefs use local, seasonal vegetables and offer a variety of delicious dishes, which include free-range pheasant roast chicken dishes, Cordyceps flower chicken soup, and golden trout soup. The trout comes from the local mountain spring water. They also offer fusion dishes including Western-style blueberry yogurt mixed with Gracilaria. Chefs integrate traditional cooking methods. Vegetables are grown from their own traditional farming methods. All dishes are worth trying. A visit to Bulao will leave visitors feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Baoshan Napu Indigenous Organic Tea Garden
No. 383-1, Baoshan Sec., Taoyuan Dist., Kaohsiung City
Meilunshan Hot Springs Resort
No. 86, Sinkai Road, Sinfa Village Liouguei Dist., Kaohsiung City