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COMPASS MAGAZINE, December 2006.

Hot springs, waterfalls and other scenic wonders in Dong Pu

-- By Lishea Zheng Translated by Mei Lee

With the arrival of winter, a visit to a hot springs is suddenly very tempting. One attractive option is located in Dong Pu, at the entrance of Yushan (Jade Mt.) National Park, where one can also enjoy waterfalls, swinging bridges and the Bunun Aborigine culture. From Taichung, taking New Central Cross-Island Highway makes it a convenient one hour and 40 minutes to get there.

If you leave in the morning, you can stop and visit Nantou county's Jiji (Chichi), Shuili, and Xinyi before finally arriving at Dong Pu. Go to Sweetheart Valley and the Rainbow Waterfall in Dong Pu's backyard for a chance to see the real rainbows. Taking the steps by the Sheng Hua Hotel (049-270-1851) will take you along a route that allows you to experience plum trees trails, Rainbow Bridge and campers' favorite Fountainhead Hot Springs(049-2701841). A round trip takes approximately two hours. However, you will need four hours to visit the Fuzi Cliff, in the Yushan foothills, and Yun Long Waterfall.

After you experience this natural beauty, it's time to visit the Bunun Aborigines in Dong Pu and other communities like Wang Xiang, Jiu Mei, Luo Na and Xin Xiang to experience the cultural features of the tribe. You can also access Dong Pu's Aborigine sites via a fun, exciting trip across a majestic, newly-built bridge by the visitor center.

Various hot springs promotions make visits even more attractive. In December, Hotel Tilun Tonpo Spa (049-270-1616) has promotion packages for NT$2,700 (weekdays) and NT$3,700 (weekends), which include a double room, sumptuous morning and evening meals, hydropathy room, outdoor spa and children's hot springs. Every weekend, they offer nightly tours, a dumpling-stuffing DIY session, and guided tour to the Rainbow Waterfall. The log cabin courtyard-style Da Gu Lan Farm (049-270-1000) has become well-known thanks to Chien-Ming Wang . Another establishment, opening on Dec. 1, is Cicadas Place (049-270-1809), featuring authentic, Japanese-style ambiance.


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