Let's Go To Taitung

By Nancy Tu
Translated by Yvonne Chen

       SARS may have caused a tourism slump, but with summer vacation here and super-value travel packages from hotels and travel agencies to be had, leisure activities are bouncing back. There's never been a better time to head for Taitung.

National Museum of Prehistory
       Opened in 2001, the National Museum of Prehistory was originally founded to protect and present Beinan cultural ruins, the best preserved prehistoric tribal ruins in Taiwan and the largest stone burial site in the Asia Pacific. The museum's exhibits follow three themes: the natural history of Taiwan, the prehistoric history of Taiwan, and Austronesian tribes.

       Located next to the Prehistory Museum is the Beinan Culture Park. Centered around the Beinan ruins and along the Beinan River's bank, it is Taiwan's first archaeological park. The place has beautiful views of the ocean and mountains. The main attraction here is the onsite dig, where visitors can observe excavation in progress and imagine aboriginal living conditions from recovered artifacts. In the future, the park hopes to combine cultural exploration with leisure activities and introduce traditional handicrafts from Austronesian tribes to visitors.

       The museum is at No. 1, PoWuKuan (Museum) Road, FengTienLi, Taitung City, and is a seven-minute walk from KangLe Railway Station, or a ten-minute walk from the Dingdung Bus Company's Beinan Middle School stop. For those driving their own vehicles, take the road next to the Yuen Foong Yu Paper Plant on ChungShing Road, Section 4, in Taitung City. This leads directly to the museum's parking lot.
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9 am to 5 pm, and is open on holidays, but closed the day after consecutive holidays. Call (089) 381-166 or (089) 382-000 for information.

       Ligioti, the exposed mountain ridges across from Taitung's YenwanLi, is regarded as a geological treasure. It originally belonged to a sub-group of the Ami Tribe, called the Ligiligi. The geographical features include valleys, sedimentary layers, and the renowned "lunar crust" formation. At the top of Ligioti is a great view of Xiahuang Mountain and Dulan Bay. The unique geographical conditions have allowed local diary farms to become tourist farms with vista points, grass-boarding areas, campsites, pottery kilns, sheep shows, and a goat pen where visitors can feed and milk goats or enjoy coffee with goat milk (NT$80), or goat milk tea with tapioca pearls.

Luye Kaotai
       Luye Kaotai is located about 30 kilometers north of Taitung City. To get there by bus, get off at Luye bus stop, go along Provincial Highway 9, turn left to go up the mountain, and the road to the right will lead to a vista point for a panoramic view of the village basin with Dulan Mountain across the way. Because the vista point rests on a precipice, it is great for hang-gliding, especially during the summer and fall's southeasterly winds. Flights take in a view of the entire Beinan river valley. For those who want to experience flying, the Taitung Flying Activity Association is planning a flight park next year. The teahouse inn is a nice stroll from the vista point. Come here at night, see the stars, sip the famous "fulu tea," and breath in the essence of Luye.

Special thanks to National Museum of Prehistory and Beinan Culture Park for supplying information, and to Fulu Teahouse Farm and Hsinli Farm for providing assistance in the photo shoot.