The first half of our Hualien private day tour seemed to be closely associated with scenic water views nestled in the mountainous region. 😅 We started the tour in Shoufeng Township’s Villa Home by a dreamy manmade lake [more details in this article: Shoufeng, Hualien: Picturesque Eco Farm Views @Villa Home]. Thereafter, we drove down south to Guangfu Township, located in mid-Huatung Valley between Central Mountain Range and coastal Range to explore 2 new mystic water sights. The Amis people account for the largest aborigines population in this rural township.
Guangfu Township is mainly an agricultural town without many tourist attractions to boast of. However, tremendous efforts have been made to boast the number of visitors here with the creation of new attractions that bring out its rustic charm in recent years. Our first stop in Guangfu was Jili Lake, situated close to the 247.5K marker as you travel down south along Provincial Highway No. 9.
Occupying an area of approximately 3.2 hectares, refurbishment works of the Jili Lake scenic area was only completed & opened to the public late last year. The natural lake is located at the foot of Mount Maxi & upstream of Mataian Creek. During the Japanese colonial period, it was used as a log storage pond, but became an abandoned site with the decline of the logging industry. In the past, whenever there was a drought in the area, the local Amis people would come here to pray for rain.
Although there wasn’t much to do at Jili Lake, except to enjoy a relaxing stroll in the picturesque park, we could see many visitors here, especially families with seniors & kids in tow. The lake reflections of its surrounding beautiful landscape were mind-blowing, & troubles seemed to drift away with the water as we marvelled at the mesmerizing sight. 🙂
For the benefit of those who don’t understand Chinese, “Jili” means auspicious in Chinese. So does it mean visiting this lake will bring you good luck? Well, I’m not sure. But as a Chinese, I believe that we will have good luck if we meet with water. 😅 Hence, although it wasn’t a sunny day with fluffy clouds to admire, the peaceful ambience & charming reflections at Jili Lake were still enough to keep us captivated. 🙂
Thereafter, we proceeded to another lake, or maybe it is better referred to as a spring due to its size. 😛 In any case, our second spot – the Laso’ay Ecological Park, is another new-found attraction that isn’t listed on Hualien tourism map too. 😉
然后，下一景点也与水有关，也是花蓮新兴景点（一般旅游地图都没把它列入） —— 拉索埃湧泉生態園區。😉
Laso’ay means “clean & sweet water” in the aboriginal Amis language. The water quality at the park is so clear that it has earned itself the reputation as Hualien’s “Blue Tears”, the equivalent of the famous Angel’s Tears at Jiaming Lake in Taitung’s mountain. There are 6 springs & 4 wild creeks in this huge 25-hectare park, & legend has it that the 6 springs each contains a teardrop of the mythical bird that protected Huatung Valley over a millennium ago. We only visited the main spring near the entrance where visitors could join in some of the fun-filled activities in the park.
I was a little surprised to see the crowd at Laso’ay despite it being a relatively new tourist development in Hualien. There was a big Taiwanese tour group when we visited that afternoon, resulting in us not being able to enjoy the hand-row boat & grass ski experiences (200 TWD/ ~S$9 for a 30 min session) as they were fully booked. There was another indoor activity that we could participate in – the Terrarium DIY experience (also priced at 200 TWD / ~S$9) in bottom left photo, but I didn’t try that. As there was a higher chance of seeing the Blue Tears if we were to go for the hand-row boat experience in the spring, I was disappointed to learn that they didn’t allow us to join in… 😦 So no choice, we tried our best to spot the bubbling tears by jumping on the rock by the spring, as well as wearing a pair of special tinted glasses that was said to enhance the visibility of this mystical blue tears.
Perhaps Lady Luck wasn’t shining on us when we visited Laso’ay that afternoon, for we could barely see the mystical Blue Tears clearly. Nonetheless, it was still an eye-opening tour of the ecological park, as it has managed to retain most of its rustic charm since the 1960s despite the increasing popularity with local tourists. I hope I will have another opportunity in the future to spend a longer time at Laso’ay so that I can check out the rich ecology in this mystical site of the Amis. 🙂