Check out the nature filled side of Taiwan through its leisure farms
written by Jamille Domingo
Taiwan is slowly gaining popularity among a lot of Filipino tourists nowadays. What’s not to like? The airfares are affordable, the country is generally safe, and the expenses are relatively affordable that it’s easy to budget your money. In less than a decade, Taiwan has seen a surge in Filipino visitors—with last year reaching a 16 % tourist increase from January to September.
This proves that what it lacks in size, Taiwan makes up for in its overflowing things to see. Just in Taipei, there are tons of areas that have already garnered interest among tourists worldwide—such as Taipei 101 and Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. Go a little further and you’ll then see the magical places of Jiufen, Shifen, and Yehliu. These destinations alone are enough to make you realize that Taiwan definitely grows on you in so many ways.
But as much as these places are worthy of the international attention they are getting, there is still so much more of the nation left undiscovered by many. Beyond the bright city lights and the places filled with souvenir shops stands Taiwan’s countryside that offers a different kind of peace—that which makes you truly one with nature. The state’s over 200 leisure farms is a testament to the nation’s love for the outdoors, and a visit to some of it is to encounter Taiwan in its truest form.
Tsou Ma Lai Leisure Farm
This 120-hectare leisure farm shows a contrast to the pulsating environment that Taiwan’s cities are known for. Not only does it have a rural European home-inspired hotel, it also has a wide grassland area that will make you scream, “The hills are alive!” The postcard-perfect green acreage looks like New Zealand’s, though it’s not much of a surprise since the grass seeds that they use are imported from that country itself. This farm is perhaps one of Taiwan’s most visited, as it boasts of approximately 50,000 visitors monthly.
The farm (which is, by the way, so extensive it is managed by 39,000 employees) also includes DIY activities for guests like mocha-bread-baking and hand-made souvenir-making. Visitors can also get a chance to check out the more than 150 varieties of wild animals (you can feed cows, too!), as well as multiple types of plants and trees that are being tended in the farm. It also has an area for amusement activities, some of which include archery, camping, and horse-back riding.
Tsou Ma Lai Leisure Farm is located in Danei District, Tainan City. Entrance fee is TWD250. For bookings and reservations, and more information, visit <language.farm.com.tw>
Hsiao Chong Mango Fruit Farm
Imagine hundreds of mangoes within reach, without even having to raise your arm to grab one. It’s a pretty scenario but somehow impossible, isn’t it? A visit to 8600-square meter Hsiao Chong Mango Fruit Farm would rather prove otherwise. How did the owner, Lee Yu Cheng, do it? Simple—drastic pruning. In layman’s term, this is simply the dwarfing (and in the process, revitalizing) of trees through removing some parts considered over-mature and problematic. This has made Lee quite a fortune because the process made it easier to manage his small farm.
In addition, Lee takes pride in following the ethics of Taiwan’s Good Agriculture Practices, as everything he does is recorded and checked by the government—assuring consumers that the mangoes are free of any chemical residue (they are only bagged with a strong paper material to protect them from pests).
Hsiao Chong Mango Fruit Farm is located in Tamai Area, Tainan. For more information, visit the website of Taiwan Leisure Farms Development Association via <taiwanfarm.org>
Dakeng Leisure Farm
Would you believe that Dakeng Leisure Farm was just a small chicken farm over two decades ago? It sure started out from humble beginnings, with its owners (run by a family of three generations) only wanting to devote themselves to traditional agriculture and environment education. Now, it already spans ten hectares—with two of them dedicated to leisure activities.
Dakeng Leisure Farms also comprises a restaurant serving (of course) farm-to-table meals and cozy rooms with forest views. The hotel area is complete with amenities as well, like free WiFi in all rooms, grocery deliveries, luggage storage, meeting facilities, postal service, a shared lounge and TV area, shuttle service, and smoking areas. Other than that, Dakeng Leisure Farm also provides hiking trails, training fields, recreational areas, and a mountain spring spa—the only leisure farm in Taiwan having such. Farming enthusiasts can also immerse in its fruit and animal farms as well.
Dakeng Leisure Farm is located in Wushulin, Tuqi Village, Longqi District, Tainan City. For bookings and reservation, and more information, like them on facebook Dakeng Leisure Farm.
Taiwan Tilapia Ecological and Creative Park
Long before the Taiwanese realized the significance of tilapia, it was other countries that benefitted from their national fish, such as Japan and the US. For so long, the Taiwanese were said to wonder a lot about why such countries import so much tilapia from them (making it the top exported fish in Taiwan). They then discovered that it offers so much not just in terms of food production. Since then, they began to explore more of tilapia’s wonders, and Taiwan Tilapia Ecology Park is one of the trusted companies able to successfully utilize every fish’s part.
Established in 2015, the tilapia park is a project of the Kouhu Fisheries Cooperative Association. When it comes to tilapia production, it is definitely not to be underestimated, as the park processes approximately three tons of it every day. You’ll find inside many of its tilapia products, such as accessories (bags, belts, and bracelets), jeans and dresses, and surprisingly, beauty care (skin moisturizers and collagen)—extracted from tilapia scales. Aside from that, new products are also being developed in the park, one of which is the corneal shield for people with eye problems.
Geloina Clam Pavilion
If you think that Geloina Clam Pavilion is just another shell place in Taiwan, the large size of its oysters and clams will make you think otherwise. The owner, Tseng Chieh-Chung, was so passionate about the genetics of both shell species that he was able to successfully culture and mix them into one breed—horse-shoe clam. This type of clam takes six years to grow, but costs much more than the regular ones. The leisure park also gives visitors a chance to immerse in the clam experience—including collecting, cooking, or making DIY crafts out of them.
Geloina Clam Pavilion is located 5 to 3, Yangyu Road, Kouhu Township, Yunlin. For more information, phone ( +8865) 797 0503
Zhuo Ye Cottage Farm
Situated in the mountains of Miaoli, Zhuo Ye Cottage Farm is perhaps one of the most relaxing places one will ever get to stay at. Aside from being surrounded by trees and other forms of greenery, the leisure farm is also designed like an old-fashioned cabin village. According to the owners, Zhuo Ye Cottage is inspired by Taiwanese towns in the old times because they want guests to truly experience what it was like to live in old Taiwan. But while the farm produces fruits and other poultry, its main tourist draw are its indigo dye products. This is because indigo and assam plants grow well in this farm—which give owners resources to make their own eco-friendly dye from scratch. Guests can also take part in Zhuo Ye Cottage Farm’s dyeing culture, as it offers classes at reasonable prices.
Zhuo Ye Cottage Farm is located at 1 to 5, Bengshanxia, Sanyi Township, Miaoli County 367. For bookings and reservations, and more information, phone (+886 37) 879 198