Feb 21, 2013

[Alternative] Besides Sun Moon Lake - Jhushan

If you ask Taiwanese people “What is the first tourist attraction that comes to your mind when you hear Nantou 南投?” 

Nine out of ten would toss their answer “Sun Moon Lake”. And the last one would probably murmur with a rather rare answer --- Jhushan 竹山. 

Sunrise with cloud sea (Photo by Unlimited Sky)

But where is Jhushan anyways? What does it offer for visitors from abroad (if they have already decided to stay in already world-known Sun Moon Lake for one day or two)?

We got a chance to visit Jhushan because of International Spotlight Program held by Taiwan Tourism Bureau . The program itself is designed to introduce several attractions that might not be THAT well-known, HOWEVER, extremely rich in natural and tourist resource that offer visitors a getaway-from-the-hustle-and-the-bustle-of-the-city opportunity!

 Landscape covered by rows and rows of tea trees

Just within an hour drive, we reach Jhushan from Sun Moon Lake. Though Jhushan, a town located several hundred meters above the sea level, is not a best-known tourist attraction like Sun Moon Like, it has its own unique sites that is worth traveling to, such as a tea farm overlooking a mountain valley, a thick bamboo forest where beautiful trails interlaced in it, and more natural scenery just along the way. 

When we reached the accommodation, we immediately got a sense that it was going to be the most attractive highlight during our trip! The hostel itself is renovated from an 105 years old three-section compound flat house. The owner has spent years reconstructing the house featuring the traditional and modern design, with the courtyard and the entrance made by stone slabs and the rest of the structure made from bamboo.

Sky Yard the hostel
The best-loved  site of the hostel

With the view from the front yard, the house is overlooking a tremendously amazing mountainous valley. When we were awed by the inspiring scenery, my colleague suggested us dine at an open-air restaurant just a few minutes walk away from the hostel. Check the breath-taking view just beside the fence!

Across the fence to the left, there's the view where you can overlook the valley
(Photo by: unlimited sky)

International Spotlight Program actually does much more. Visitors not only can chill around during an illuminating journey across Jhushan, but also know more about the culture and history of this nice little town by joining a bamboo or pottery art craft workshop, do-it-your-self tea-making lesson, and many more.

Visitors can simply add-up the events to the trip and each event costs only a little.

Be a tea farmer if you want

As the name "Jhushan" implies: Jhu= bamboo. Therefore,  food specialty: rice cooked in bamboo tube

On the other day we met the team TownWay, which has been working on the creative tourist industry for years. They are a group of people who devoted themselves to presenting the real side of Taiwan, and to let more travelers instead of "tourists" to come and feel inspired by natural and cultural landscape that Jhushan could offer.

If you're not in a hurry during your trip in Nantou. Come to Jhushan for a day or two. And be sure you know where to stay, because you may not want to leave in the end. 

Team of TownWay

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