Thinking about seeing the beautiful meadow lands and green fields of New Zealand? Well, forget about New Zealand and go to Taiwan. Travel down the long winding road of Provincial Highway 9 and confront the magnificent wonder of the East Rift Valley. While not as famous as Taiwan’s cities, the East Rift Valley Natural Scenic Area is no less awe-inspiring or fun. The area is frequently referred to as the “land of milk and honey”, because of the land’s fertility. It is covered with fields of green, pastures of grazing animals, plantations and other scenes of rural tranquility.
The East Rift Valley is situated between the Mugua River in the north, and Taitung City in the south. It is hypothesized that the entire valley could have been an entire gigantic water body. Stretching over 1383.86 square kilometres, the East Rift Valley is truly a natural wonder. Rugged mountains stretch towards the horizon, offering an stunning view. Snowy white clouds troop across the mountaintops, while the sun falls onto the green and grey mountains below. Below, fields of green shimmer peacefully in the wind, while livestock graze on the verdant grass. Truly a scene of equanimity and peace. Nature has blessed the East Rift Valley with further scenes of beauty. Canyons, rivers and lakes stretch across the expanse of the East Rift Valley. Simply being there to soak in the scenery and marvel at its wondrous allure is a reward in itself.
But inland isn’t the only source of the East Rift Valley’s beauty. It’s long coastline, stretching for kilometres on end, has a wild splendour all on it’s own. The white sand of it’s beaches wind gently between the large fields and thick forests of the inland, and the boundless sapphire blue of the ocean. Near seaside towns, one can see small fisher-boats put out at sea, and even several natives fishing across the coastline. The deep azure of the ocean, contrasting so sharply with the green and white of the inland, elegantly delighting the eyes.
Along the East Rift Valley, a particular landmark to look out for is the Liyu Lake, Chinese for carp. Named because the mountain next to the lake appears like a carp, the lake is a great
place for anyone looking for a simple way to unwind. Pedal-boats can be rented to traverse across the great lake. Bicycle-renting shops are also abundant, with several bike trails and scenic spots for access. Paragliding can even be done at the top of Mount scenery, with the water lying still, forming a perfect Liyu. The lake is barely 1 square kilometre in size, yet possesses graceful mirror for the blue skies and green mountains above. Camping and picnicking at the lake will be an experience unlike any other, with the beautiful scenery and cool weather.
Several aboriginal tribes also call the East Rift Valley their home, namely the Amis, Truku, Kavalan, Bunun, and Puyuma tribes. While the hands of globalisation and modernisation can be felt just as strongly as elsewhere in the world, these tribes still hold true to their millennial-old customs and traditions. Tourists can view their festivals and dances. For example the Puyuma Great Hunting Festival, showcasing the fighting ability of their men as well as being a coming-of-age ceremony. Praying to their ancestral spirits and gods are a key feature of this festival. Colourful and intense, these festivals are a great novelty for a person unversed in East Asian aboriginal culture.
The East Rift Valley holds wonders for everyone. If you’re willing to search for them, do give a call, email or message to Taiwan Free and Easy, who can make the quest easier!