Tao Yuan Shien Valley

By Li Ssu-hui
Translated by Yvonne Chen

       The name "Tao Yuan Shien Valley" derives from the cloud spiraling place on the fairy tale island Penglai. Like its fairy tale counterpart, the place has dreamlike and picturesque scenery. Located off the Loma Highway, the spacious grounds include stunning rice fields, streams, a hidden valley, and woodlands. The white tulips by the entrance will entrance visitors the moment they arrive. A tunnel leads straight into the grounds, where a beautiful tulip garden awaits. Along the road, dazzling tulips and exotic plants have been planted and meticulously labeled.

       Tao Yuan Shien Valley covers a large area. Besides the cherry blossom, yellow maples, plum and pine groves, there are also herb gardens, the Chieh-tung Aged Tree, the Intelligent Dog Fall, a stream wading area, and a series of stone sculptures collected by the owner. The owner sculpts according to the natural shape of the rocks: If a rock resembles a hawk, he sculpts it into a hawk following the lines on the rock.

       Flowers bloom here throughout the year. January and February have cherry blossoms, tulips, freesia, iris, hyacinth, and chrysanthemum. The tulip field always attracts large crowds. Peaches, plums, calla lilies, snapdragons, strawflowers, carnations, pansy, and azaleas bloom from March to May. Fireflies set against the moonlight are a beautiful sight. The July and August Flower and Plant Festival features cleomes, fancy-leaf caladium, and zinnia among hundreds of others; children chase dragonflies and butterflies. September through December is the maple and lily season. Green maples, red maples and yellow maples along with lilies, gladiolus, tuberoses and fall chrysanthemums paint a beautiful picture. Come winter, the snow plum waits to bloom, as Tao Yuan Shien Valley turns poetic.

       Because the different seasons impart different feelings, tour guides can provide further insights. Mr. Chu, who has been here for 18 years, cautions about the poisonous plants and not to handle fragile flowers.

       Visitors tired from walking can rest and enjoy desserts and delicious dishes. The Nourishing Garden Barbeque (NT$2000 for 10 servings) includes beef slices, bamboo herb rice, sausages, sweet curds, green bell peppers, and sweet corn. Meal sets include herb chicken thigh, rosemary steak, assorted grains rice, grilled salmon, broiled bamboo chicken, and vegetarian cuisine. Quench your thirst with tapioca pearl milk tea, herbal tea, fresh pine juice, iced or hot coffee, mesona tea and special mixers. There are also group specials; the Shien Valley Family Meal for NT$2200 includes free-range chicken plate, steamed fish, roasted konnyaku, nourishing soup, grated bamboo shoots with meat, preserved vegetable with bamboo shoots, stir fried vegetables, country rice noodles, Hakka stir fry, and herb jello.

       Because Tao Yuan Shien Valley is such a large place and does not offer rooms, stamina is required. The resort continues to expand and offer visitors new sights each time they visit. It is said that the kind favor mountains, and the smart favor water. This place has both hills and streams to appreciate.

Arriving by car:
1. Take the Guanshi Exit on the Northern Second Freeway. Turn left towards Guanshi, then turn left at the post office. Go 18 kilometers along Provincial Highway No. 118 towards Jingshan. The Valley's parking lot is by the 41-km mark on No. 118.
2. Take Provincial Highway No. 3 to the Formosa Gas Station at the 60-km mark. Turn onto Provincial Highway No. 118, and drive towards Jingshan (Golden Bird Theme Park) for 15 minutes.

Reference points:
The Valley's address is Taoyuan County, but it is closer to Guanshi in Hsinchu County, and easier to reach from Guanshi. The Valley is off the 41-km mark on Provincial Highway No. 118. President Health World is at the 32-km mark, and Golden Bird Theme Park is at the 37-km mark.

By Bus:
1. At Dashi, get on the Taoyuan Bus heading towards Fuhsing, Lofu, Little Wulai, and Paling. At Fuhsing, transfer to the Hsinchu Bus Company bus heading towards Guanshi, and get off at Shangkaojao. Note: Buses to Guanshi are infrequent.
2. At Guanshi, take the Hsinchu Bus Company bus heading towards Lofu and Fuhsing. Get off at Shangkaojao. Note: Buses are very infrequent.

-Tao Yuan Shien Valley
(03) 382-2661
Hours: 8 am-5 pm, open year around