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Exploring Nan’ao (Yilan)—Taiwan is an island full of nature

When you think of Taiwan, how much does the indigenous culture come to mind?

If you’ve come to Taiwan to learn Chinese, you may be interested in Chinese culture. But there is so much more to discover and learn.
Taiwan’s indigenous are considered part of the large Austronesian culture which ranges from Madagascar to South East Asia and Hawaii. Within Taiwan, there are 16 officially recognized groups, although many others exist. In Nan’ao (南澳), Yilan, the most predominant group is the Atayal people.
Here, our outdoor adventure team that has been exploring Nan’ao for over six years will share with you their favorite sites worth visiting.

Ropwe river, Jinyue Waterfall 鹿皮溪、金岳瀑布 (Jinyue Village)

In summer time, it is always enjoyable to get into the water or even make a river-tracing trip. The Ropwe river is surrounded by the mountains, there are small waterfalls to climb and wide river pools to spring, and natural waterslides are also there waiting for you. After a 3 hour hike, you will reach the 30-meters-high Jinyue Waterfall, the end of the Ropwe river-tracing trip.

Jinyue Waterfall is always dynamic. It sends powerful energy to all of us.

Mystery Beach 神秘海灘 (Nan’ao Village)

An easy 40 minutes walk from the Nan’ao train station can get you to the Mystery Beach of Nan’ao. After waking up from nap, we usually jog to the beach and play beach-baseball alongside the ocean. The 40 minute walk is never boring as the country road scenery is peaceful and you can always find fields fun. Camping on the beach is another romantic activity.

You can never find another peaceful beach like Mystery Beach in Taiwan.

Nan’ao Old Trail 南澳古道 (Jinyang Village)

The whole Nan’ao Old Trail is 27.5 km long, and was built during the Japanese colonial period for Atayal people to migrate from the Nanhu Mountain. Today, there is a 3.8 km part of the trail that has been renovated and takes 3-4 hrs to complete. Enjoy walking in the humid “Amazon rainforest of Taiwan”!
Mysterious fog in the morning time is the best moment for meditation. Trees in various form, shape and size are the best company on the trail.

Laka River 拉卡溪 (Gong Abacibay in Atayal language)

Laka River is a secret tributary to the Nan’ao North River. There is an open-air natural hot spring on the riverbed of the mainstream (Nan’ao North River). It is called “the most dangerous terrain” since no one can pass by it successfully without stopping by and take a long bath. After entering the Gong Abacibay, you will be fully surrounded by the canyon.There are 18 hidden waterfalls hidden behind after you get over the first one. Go get connected with the Atayal people in Nan’ao, they will be willing to share you this beautiful hidden spot that is rarely known or explored. ;)
The most predominant group in Nan’ao, Atayal people, are all willing to share their stories with you.
Atayal people showed us a natural swimming pool with crystal clear water.

River Maliqui - Nan’ao based outdoor team 激流勇士

Not only can you see the natural beauty in Nan’ao, the indigenous culture is also rich and vibrant. By following the footprints of the Atayal hunters for more than 6 years, the River Maliqui Group has learned a lot about the wisdom of the indigenous people. The seasonal Hunter tours are held by us.
Hunters tours bring a chance to experience the way Atayal people set up bonfire, make traps, go mushrooms hunting, make vegetable dyes, ramie plant weaving and etc. By experiencing these, you can see how they persevere and use natural resources and how careful they are in nature to find the footprints of prey or edible plants for survival. Most importantly, we can see how they view the land so differently than the modern world but also maintain a balance living with it today. It is hard way of life, but experiencing the essence of the cultures gives us a broader horizons in our lives.

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Author: Weiren

Chinese Class Introduction
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