A Cultural Trip in Nantou

A Cultural Trip in Nantou

By Josephine Alvina (instagram: @joaru)

Contrary to popular belief, during Chinese New Year (中國新年), Taipei (台北市) is a ghost town. Due to being the capital city of Taiwan, most of Taipei’s citizens are immigrants from smaller towns all over the country. They take the opportunity to return home and reunite with their friends and families during CNY, just like most Muslims in Indonesia during Hari Raya Idul Fitri.

What about people like me, who are foreign students? Well, some of us decided to return home and renew their single entry visa. Some of us decided to stay for the sake of getting ARC as soon as possible. I’m the latter. Luckily, another friend of mine decided to stay in the country as well, so we promptly planned a trip to Taichung (台中市), an industrial city located southwest from Taipei. There is nothing much at Taichung except for good and cheap food, so in this article, I decide to write more about our time at Nantou (南投縣), which is about an hour bus ride from Taichung.

Photo: Josephine Alvina

Our first stop was Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), famous for its beautiful scenery and Assam tea. If you are a tea enthusiast, you’d enjoy the selection of tea-based delicacies over there, from ice cream to rice cakes. There is an option to take ferry to all 3 different piers of Sun Moon Lake, but since we are more interested to see the sceneries at Formosan Aboriginal Village (九族文化村), we took the one way ferry from Shuishe Pier (水社碼頭) to Itashao Pier (伊達邵碼頭). You can actually go to Formosan Aboriginal Village by driving, but we opted to take the cable car from Itashao.

Photo: Josephine Alvina

It was the season of plum blossoms (a close relative to cherry blossoms), so Formosan Aboriginal Village also held a festival during the time we went there. You could see girls dressed up in yukata (a lighter, less formal version of Japanese kimono) nibbling on sugar paintings on a stick (糖画). But what the aboriginal village serves us with all year round is the reconstructions of traditional, tribal style buildings and wax dolls based on the historical findings around Taiwan’s aboriginal tribes and culture. The staff are also dressed in traditional costumes to preserve the atmosphere, and there are plenty of souvenirs and gifts in aboriginal flavors to bring home.

If you have gotten tired of the traditional feel of the village, there is also a theme park and a European style garden towards the exit. The theme park, however, is mainly marketed for kids, therefore it might not be for youngsters who are into thrilling rides and games. Overall, I really liked the place because I got to learn a lot about the aboriginal tribes in Taiwan, but if you aren’t into history and culture, it might not be the best place to visit for holiday.

Photo: Josephine Alvina

Photo: Josephine Alvina

Photo: Josephine Alvina

Photo: Josephine Alvina

Photo: Josephine Alvina

Photo: Josephine Alvina

Photo: Josephine Alvina

Photo: Josephine Alvina

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