Guanshan rice is renowned far andwide and tasty Guanshan railway lunchboxes should not be missed when travelingthrough by train. The paddy fields here take on a different appearance throughthe four seasons. Cycling, strolling through Guanshan Water Park or wanderingaround the small town are the best ways for visitors to experience Guanshan’sbeauty.
Getting There: From Guanshan Railway Station walk or ride a bicycle to places of interest.
Guanshan Township Loop Bikeway
The Guanshan Township LoopBikeway was Taiwan’s first dedicated bikeway. The 12-kilometer route circlesthe town and can be divided into river and mountain sections, offeringever-changing views of riverbanks, fields, and high mountains. The bikeway’sstarting point is at Guanshan Water Park, which has many bike rental stationsnearby. It is suggested that you rent a bike and set off from here.
Guanshan Water Park has variouswater play facilities, a manmade lake, a viewing platform, bird-watching hides,and a fountain plaza. It is especially suitable for water play to cool down insummer. When riding past Hongshi River at the side of the park you can spotcute water buffalo resting by the river. From the highest point on thehigher-elevation mountain section, Zongguan Sun Moon Pavilion, you can enjoy abird’s eye view of the natural rural village scenes of Guanshan.
Location: Longsheng Road, Guanshan Township, Taitung County
Guanshan Water Park (關山親水公園)
This large park, covering an areaof 34 hectares, was Taiwan’s first environment-protection park. A watersidespace with a wild feel was created using water from Xinwulu River and theabundant supply of groundwater. Here you can have fun playing in the water of amanmade paddling channel, a fountain plaza, and a water play area. The park hasa car park, rest area, food vendors, educational displays, and aneco-environment guide service. The main facilities include scenery-viewing andstar-gazing platforms and bird-watching hides. One notable feature is the800-meter band-shaped manmade lake; the banks of the lake are covered in grass,and the trees that provide a hiding place for wild animals are the perfect spotto watch birds and fish. From the scenery-viewing platform, the countrysidescenery of Guanshan can be taken in.
Location: Longsheng Road, Guanshan Township, Taitung County
Getting There: Take a train to Guanshan and from the station walk along Longsheng Road for about 15 minutes.
Guanshan Lunchboxes (關山便當)
Both Guanshan and Chishang are well-known rice growing areas inTaitung County. With the East Coast railway line passing through Guanshan, itsrailway lunchboxes have become renowned far and wide. Located in front of therailway station, Yuanchang Lunchbox is very popular with locals; the simple butdelicious taste of the combination of chewy rice, pork slices, sausage, andgreen leaf vegetables is unforgettable.
Add: No. 1-5, Minquan Rd., Guanshan Township, Taitung County
Hours: 8:00 ~ 20:00
Guanshan Tianhou Temple (關山天后宮)
This temple on Zhonghua Road enshrines the Holy Heavenly Mother (Mazu). Believers include different ethnic groups such as Taiwanese, mainland Chinese, Hakka, and members of the indigenous Pingpu and Amis tribes. It is not just the belief center for Guanshan residents; the temple provides spiritual comfort to the people of nearby towns as well and is the main Mazu belief center in the Taitung part of the East Rift Valley.
Add: No. 1, Ln. 2, Zhonghua Rd., Guanshan Township, Taitung County
Guanshan Police Historical Museum
Located beside the Guanshan Police Bureau of the Taitung CountyPolice Department, this Japanese-style wooden building exudes an air ofhistory. Displayed are various cultural relics related to the police force duringthe Japanese Colonial Period, including uniforms, implements of punishment,communications equipment, tables, bookshelves and stationery, and even anantique hand-operated telephone.
Add: No. 27, Zhongzheng Rd., Guanshan Township, Taitung County
Hours: 10:00 ~ 11:00, 15:00 ~ 16:00 (closed on Monday)
Also read: Biking in GUANSHAN, Taitung
Hong Chang Hakka Restaurant (宏昌客家菜)
Now run by the third-generation of owners, this long-establishedrestaurant was originally a place for passing drivers and travelers to rest andeat, later becoming a famous local Hakka restaurant. Always looking forimprovement, the proprietor has renovated the old restaurant front and thedishes have been adapted by reducing the amount of oil and salt used to satisfythe modern desire for healthy eating and by making creative use of fruit andvegetables. Known for creatively adding new twists to traditional Hakkaflavors, this is now one of the most popular restaurants on Provincial Highway9.
Add: No. 6, Shunxing Rd., Guanshan Township, Taitung County
Tel: (089) 811-321
Hours: 11:30-14:00, 17:30-21:00
Chishang is located in the beautiful East Rift Valley. The flatpaddy fields that stretch as far as the eye can see produce the Chishang ricethat is renowned throughout Taiwan. The blue skies, the mountain peaks, and theabundant and diverse natural ecology make Chishang worth visiting time andagain. No matter if cycling through the sea of rice ears on Mr. Brown Avenue orpicking lotus flowers on Dapo Pond, and then tasting Chishang’s famous rice,here you can enjoy some slow time in a place where time seems to have stoodstill.
Getting There: Take a train to Chishang; not far from the railway station are Dapo Lake and the Chishang Riceball Museum; for places like Mr. Brown Avenue and the Hakka Cultural Park renting a bicycle is recommended.
Chishang Bikeway (池上環圳自行車道)
Due to the large temperature differences and fewer hours of sunshinereceived caused by the East Rift Valley terrain, Chishang rice ripens laterthan rice grown in other parts of Taiwan. It is also especially fragrant andsweet. When visiting Chishang, make sure to take in the scenery of endlesspaddy fields. Each year, May-June and November-December are harvest times;during these periods, a vast sea of golden-brown rice stalks can be seenswaying in the wind. In winter, after the rice harvest, the fields are full ofGarden cosmos and rape seed flowers.
The best way to experience Chishang at a slower pace is by riding abicycle. Follow the Chishang Bikeway until there are no telegraph poles orbuildings on either side of the road; you have arrived at Mr. Brown Avenue,made famous by a TV commercial starring Takeshi Kaneshiro. Make sure to stop atthe solitary tree where the commercial was shot and enjoy the expansive viewswith vast fields and majestic mountains in the distance.
Dapo Lake (大坡池)
Dapo Pond is a natural pond not far from Mr. Brown Avenue; it is a must-visit attraction. From atop the Grand View Tower viewing platform, the fetching scenery formed by the vast fields and the Rift Valley can be viewed. In July and August each year, the Bamboo Raft Festival is held here; enjoy a fun and leisurely time, fishing for fish and shrimp on a raft, just as the locals once did, and picking lotus flowers at the center of the pond.
Hakka Cultural Park (客家文化園區)
At the entrance to this park, you will see an image with anoil-paper umbrella theme. The buildings in the park have the architecturalstyle of rural eastern Taiwan. On the first floor of the main building is anaudio-visual classroom and the Hakka Cultural Relics Exhibition Hall; thesecond floor has the Special Exhibition Room, which holds more than 100 Hakkacultural relics, and the Hakka TV Hall, which was established in cooperationwith Hakka TV. Onsite, program scenes are recreated and visitors can experiencewhat it feels like to be a TV presenter. Adjacent to the building is also ashop run by the Chishang Farmers Association where you can buy gifts enjoy acup of coffee.
Add: No. 1, Xinguang Rd., Xinxing Village, Chishang Township, Taitung County
Tel: (089) 865-038
Hours: 8:30 ~ 18:15 (closed on Monday)
Chishang Riceball Museum (池上飯包博物館)
Due to the excellent quality of the local rice, Chishang riceballs have become a famous lunch box brand in Taiwan. The Chihshang Riceball Museum, at the side of Provincial Highway 9, has the dual functions of passing on culture as well as serving as a rest stop. The display area on the second floor shows the course of development of Chishang riceballs using real-scene simulation, giving visitors an understanding of life and culture in the past. Special products of Chishang, traditional snacks, and children’s toys are sold on the first floor, and visitors can also sit down and enjoy a steaming-hot Chishang lunchbox.
Add: No. 259, Zhongxiao Rd., Chishang Township, Taitung County
Tel: (089) 862-326
Hours: 8:00 ~ 21:00
No. 9 Gourmet Coffee (九號咖啡館)
Not just boasting fine rice, Chishang also has a place to enjoy goodcoffee. No.9 Gourmet Coffee is within a short distance of Dapo Pond. The uniquehand-drop coffee served here has a warm and mellow texture, fills the mouthwith aroma, and isn’t bitter or sour. The café has a very comfortable spaceinside, the red bricks and industrial-style iron object decorationscomplementing the green rice fields outside perfectly. This is a place to findvisual, olfactory, and gustatory satisfaction.
Add: No. 56, Neighborhood, 6, Qingfeng Village, Chishang Township, Taitung County
Hours: Weekday 8:30 ~ 18:00; weekend/holiday 8:00 ~ 21:00
Also read: The Treasures of SOUTHERN TAITUNG COUNTY
Luye is a travel destination in Taitung that has become the focus ofattention in recent years. The Luye Highland is a major center for paraglidingin Taitung and Taiwan. Also, the annual Taitung International Balloon Festivalattracts a large number of visitors each summer. At Luye, even if you don’ttake a ride on a hot air balloon or try paragliding, standing on the highland,you can take in the magnificent landscape features and countryside scenery ofthe East Rift Valley. Luye is also a good place for bicycling, best suited toriding slowly while admiring the tea plantations and fields on either side ofthe road.
Longtian Village (龍田村)
Looking down from the Luye Highland, the neat and flat fields below at Longtian Village appear like a green chess board. Longtian was a Japanese immigrants’ village in the Japanese Colonial Period and retains many Japanese-style buildings to this day. Longtian Elementary School has quite a few of these buildings and century-year old trees, which make the school appear like a forest elementary school.
Longtian is also where a brand of Luye tea, Fulu Tea, is grown; the brand’s most famous teas are Bu Zhi Chun and Red Oolong. Due to its flatness, Longtian is also the landing ground for paragliders; watch as they descend from on high and land. The green tunnel formed by Madagascar Almond trees, the tung blossoms of March-April and other natural scenes also attract many visitors.
Getting There: Take a train to Luye and rent a bicycle to explore the community.
Luye Highland (鹿野高台)
It is said that Luye, today one of the main animal husbandry andfarming areas in eastern Taiwan, is so named because it was once the home of a herdof deer (lu in Chinese). Follow the signs up fromLongtian Village, the elevation continually rising, and you will see a largearea of lush grass not long after passing the Exhibition Center of Hill TeaIndustry. Walk to the highest point of the grassy area and enjoy views of theentire highland and the East Rift Valley.
At Luye Highland you can do paragliding and grass skiing. In recentyears this has become Taiwan’s center for hot-air ballooning and paragliding.Visit at weekends and holiday time and you’ll see brightly colored paragliderssoaring through the sky, adding to the natural beauty of the scenery.
Getting There: From Luye Railway Station take Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus No. 8168A (East Rift Valley Line) and get off at Luye Gaotai (鹿野高台) bus stop.
Taiwan International Balloon Festival
Held every summer at Luye, this festival lasts two months withpilots and specially shaped balloons from all over the world taking part,filling the summer sky over Luye with interesting sights. There are alsovarious themed events held including hot air balloon free flight performances,tethered and free flight hot air balloon experiences, light sculpture concerts,and family fun activities. This is the biggest annual large-scale internationaltourism event in Taitung.
Zhengyi Tea Farm Restaurant (正一茶園餐坊)
This restaurant is located behind the Yong’an Agricultural ProductDisplay Center. The proprietress is a Hakka from Zhunan who moved to Taitungwith her husband to make tea. An expert cook for most of the dishes she uses locally-sourcedingredients. The restaurant is most adept at turning local wild fruit andvegetables into tasty dishes. As well as serving Hakka homestyle dishes,indigenous cuisine and Hakka cuisine are creatively merged.
Add: No. 588, Yong’an Rd., Luye Township, Taitung County
Tel: (089) 551-818
Hours: 11:00-14:00, 17:00-20:00
Getting There: From Luye Railway Station take Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus No. 8168A (East Rift Valley Line) and get off at Yong An Community (永安社區) bus stop.
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