MAGAZINE, August 2005.
Escaping to Miaoli County's
Dalagang Tea Farm
For English speakers: ask for Francisca
Mark Payne Translated by Chou NaiXien
We certainly can appreciate Taipei as a place
with plenty on offer for working and playing, as aptly illustrated
in the pages of this magazine. However, we sometimes need
to escape, get away from it all, recharge the batteries and
wallow in beauty and serenity. One great place to do this
is the Dalagang Tea Farm in Miaoli County.
Dalagang Farm was the first aboriginal-built
cooperative farm on the mountain top of the Elephant-nose
Tribe's Tai-An Village. This is a working tea farm that offers
great accomodations, with spectacular views of the encircling,
lush green mountains. As you sit on the balcony on a sunny
morning, you can watch the tea-picking ladies, working away
in the fields below. As they work, there's talk, laughter,
gossip and smoking. Every now and then, the individual conversations
will dissipate and be replaced by a wave of laughter sweeping
through the tea field. You probably won't understand the joke,
but that doesn't matter.
At night, the place is also truly beautiful as the surrounding
mountains are lit up like Christmas trees by thousands of
buzzing fireflies. Despite this spectacle, though, a visit
here will remind you of what darkness is really like. Living
in Taipei, we sometimes forget how dark dark can be--and that
things such as stars actually exist. This writer actually
lost his balance (nothing to do with alcohol or betelnut)
due to the depth of darkness that surrounded him. It was almost
If you want to do more than relax and soak
up this environment, this is also a great place for hiking,
camping or cycling. The farm can organise a range of activities--trap
making, night hunting, DIY bamboo crafting, and archery. The
archery is great fun, especially if you go with a group, although
it only served to bring home the point that, in times of old,
I would have been a very hungry young man.
For beautiful scenery, good food, a taste of Aborigine life,
lovely rooms and good activities, the Dalagang Tea Farm is
indeed a hard-to-beat destination.
Getting There: As it is very remote, there is no public transport
to the farm. Visitors can drive themselves, or the farm will
pick you up at the Fengyuan City (Taichung County) train station
for NT$200. Contact the farm for more details.
Prices: Rooms range from NT$400 per person per night (in Taiya-style
bamboo bunks) to NT$3,200 a room (4 people sharing 2 doubles).
A great double room with balcony is NT$2,000. Breakfast is
included and an evening meal (Taiya-style) is NT$200.