After visiting 2 of the most beautiful academic institutions in Taiwan, we proceeded down south to Taimali Township, also known as the “Village of Sunrise”. Situated in the southeastern part of Taitung County, the rural township is populated mainly by the Paiwan indigenous people. Its original Paiwan name is “Ja bau li”, which means “where the sun rises”. Blessed with splendid views of the east coast, mountains and Taitung plain, Taimali gained recognition as it was where the millennium sun rays first shed in Taiwan. Thereafter, it earned its reputation of being the Sunrise Township.
Our first stop at Taimali was the pristine beach in the township, known as Shu Guang Park (which means sunrise park in Chinese). The seaside park became famous because it was the place where Taiwan received the first ray of sunlight on 1 January 2000, aka the start of the millennium. Since then, the seaside park hosts the annual new year countdown event here, an iconic event for Taiwanese to welcome the new year from the Sunrise Township.
At the memorial park, visitors can find walking trails, little huts to take a breather, & even beach volleyball courts, alongside the commemorative wall & art displays to remember the special millennium event back in 2000. Despite being such a famous attraction in Taitung, there was hardly anyone along the pristine beach when we were there. But we had a short chat with an old chatty uncle at the little hut, who told us he was already 103 years old & had been staying nearby for a long time. Apparently, he was a retired soldier from China who came to settle down in Taimali.
So thankful for the unexpected bright & sunny day, so that we could take clear pictures of the awesome sea view in different shades of blue. While taking a leisurely stroll along the cool beach, we spotted a mountain in the background (see photo in the bottom right side of above collage) covered by a sea of fluffy clouds. Mr Wang said that would be our next destination for the day – Daylily Mountain, about half an hour drive up the mountain (around 1,000 m above sea level).
Word of caution: the drive up the mountain, while not through extremely steep terrain, could prove to be somewhat nauseating for those who are prone to motion sickness. So don’t try to read, surf net or message with your mobile on the uphill ride or you may feel dizzy. I decided to let my eyes rest & close them after a while for fear of throwing up. Luckily it was just a 30-min ride, & we soon reached Qing Shan Farm, or Green Mountain Farm (direct translation from its Chinese name) where we would tuck into a hearty lunch. 😉
Above photo is Green Mountain Farm’s main reception cum restaurant area. We placed our order for a 2-pax set lunch (500 TWD, ~S$23.35) which comprised of 4 dishes & 1 soup, all prepared using fresh farm produce.
The soup of the day was the clear Daylily soup mixed with cabbage, while the 4 dishes were pan-seared fish fillet, stir-fried cabbage, fried river prawns and boiled chicken meat, served with healthy mixed red rice. All dishes were prepared using natural seasoning with no artificial flavouring or MSG, which I liked! Great to have a hearty lunch with all natural farm produce that didn’t leave us feeling thirsty. It was my first time eating Daylily petals, but personally I found it didn’t really have much taste, except it was quite crunchy. The chicken meat was tender & delicious. Loved the pan-seared fish filet too which tasted somewhat like Teriyaki-style fish. The prawns were tiny but my friend said they were crispy.
After a satisfying lunch, as we walked out of the restaurant to take a stroll around the farm compounds, we spotted pictorial maps of the farm near the entrance as well as unique orchids. The farm looked huge, & there were several sections for different types of flowers such as cherry, apricot, daylily & hydrangea where visitors could enjoy the blossoms at various times of the year. June to July is the season for hydrangea bloom.
Time to walk off some calories & admire the beautiful blooming flowers at the hydrangea section. The long stretch of violet, blue, pink & yellow hydrangea formed a picturesque sea of blossoms.
Thereafter, we moved up a gentle slope to the bamboo forest. The scene that greeted us ahead made me feel I had stepped into a period drama or the Kungfu Panda movie. 😛
On our way out of the farm compounds, we were fortunate enough to catch the huge fluffy clouds, so enchanting! The phenomenon made us feel like we were walking on cloud (nine) hehe.
Last stop in Taimali was none other than Duoliang Station, touted as the most beautiful railway station in Taiwan.
Located at the southern tip of Taimali Township, Duoliang Station had ceased passenger service since 1 July 2006 due to lack of ridership. This was 1 of the stations along the southern railway line, where we passed by on the slow train from Fangliao to Taitung. Built on a slope, the 2-storey station has the platform on level 2, where passengers could look out to the crystal blue Pacific Ocean. Coupled with the bright red barrier gates along the platform, the panoramic view at Duoliang Station is so mesmerising it has attracted lots of railway fans. Indeed, the view was awesome, especially on a bright & sunny day like the day we visited. This sort of made up for the disappointment I had when I didn’t manage to take proper photos of the enchanting view while on the slow train the other day.
The popularity of this station was evident from the throngs of visitors we saw, as well as big groups of tourists being led by tour guides to the so-called best lookout spots. To get superb views for photo-taking, we had to “fight” & standby prime spots prior to the arrival of trains (check the train schedules from the board).
The 4-hour tour in Taimali Township ended as we left Duoliang Station. Despite not having planned Taimali into our itinerary initially, it was a fruitful visit to the Sunrise Township. At least we could get up close to the crystal clear beach on a clear day, taste daylily for the 1st time, tuck into a wholesome lunch, & make a trip to Taiwan’s most beautiful railway station! It was certainly a lovely half day in Taimali to add to my awesome travel memories. 🙂