It was almost two years I am living on the emerald island “Taiwan”. During the summer vacation, I and my friends decided to travel somewhere out of jam-packed place and while exploring on Google we found a place with full of greenery, agricultural land and adventure, and it was Yunlin. Yunlin is a small county to the west coast of Taiwan surrounded by Changwa, Chaiyi and Nantou counties. Yunlin is the part of Jianan Plain(嘉南平原) (the flat land or region useful for agriculture) and least developed as compared to the other northern Taiwanese counties. But Yunlin is having its own identity too, Yunlin is a very beautiful and natural place free of the humid and hot climate. The green flat land of Yunlin remembered me the Southwestern Indian agricultural land. If you want to get rid of the city lights, crowd and irritative city traffic, Yunlin is the best option for you.!
I spent two days very well in Yunlin, especially in Dauliu (the capital city of Yunlin) and Dounan. Mountains covered by areca palm trees, coffee-tea farms, mango trees, small waterfalls and the huge Buddhist temples were giving an priceless peace of mind. Yunlin is famous for its agricultural products such as Papaya, Muskmelon, Coffee and Peanuts and other vegetables. I realized one thing while this two days tour, that even though Taiwan is a small country, but it is also having a quite variety. I experienced the old houses and temples and a simple but yet effective lifestyle of people. Yunlin is well connected by rail, bus and highspeed train. Linnei, Shuliu, Douliu, Dounan and Shigui are the train stations. On day one, we had a visit to Chifa Mazu Temple located in Huwei township. This is a Mazu temple which is quite big and surrounded by flat agricultural land. It’s a masterpiece of Chinese traditional temples. A wall sculpture of Laozi, founder of philosophical Taoism welcomes you to the great Mazu temple. The temple is carved in a special wood and it has become a house for so many sparrows and other birds. The temple is so calm and gives you an immense feeling of the presence of natural power. Many devotees come here for worship and try to find the peace of mind.
After Chifa Mazu temple, we moved to Nangboo Park, in Huwei township of Yunlin. This is a small park, uncrowded and yet a worthy place to spend some time under the mango trees and bamboo roofs. Nangboo park is just 1 kilometre from NTU hospital, Huwei branch and of course, if you have to experience the empty, clean and green roads then you can walk this distance. After spending some time in Nangboo we went to Huwei town to see the old steel bridge. This is an old railway bridge which has currently closed for public due to some construction work, but I think it can be a good attraction once it open.
The evening was calling us to have some rest now. My day one was over and I was waiting for the adventurous second day. On day two, we were heading towards Gukeng, this is a small township located towards the east of Yunlin county. Gukeng is surrounded by huge mountains and areca palm trees. We had planned to visit Huashan village, which is on the mountain, Huashan creek suspension bridge, Huashan Xiangyun Temple, Huashan Lover Bridge and Huashan Leisure Agriculture Zone. We took a taxi from Douliu Railway Station to Huashan. Basically, for foreigners, language is the main issue to communicate with local taxi drivers. I can speak basic Chinese and we had a outline of our tour plan in Chinese, so it was quite smooth for us to communicate with the driver. If you can not speak Chinese then you can use the google translator effectively, it can be a good deal. Huashan is a small village, a tourist attraction for its natural beauty, it is famous for Arabica coffee and traditional tea farms. There are many water runnels runs from the mountain and some big runnels finally meets to a river. We saw two suspension bridges here. These are well maintained and the area near these bridges are secured by CCTV cameras, so it is quite safe to visit even if you are a solo traveler. First time I was visiting a Tea and coffee farm and that feeling was something different. The green, fresh tea leaves were encouraging us to explore more and more.
After spending some time on the suspension bridge, we returned to Songlin Road where our driver was waiting for us. The next destination was Huashan Xiangyun( 祥雲寺) temple. This is a beautiful Buddhist temple and Tripitaka Institute. Inside the temple a beautiful, spectacular and peaceful idol of golden Buddha let you sit there for some time. This temple is the best option for people who love meditation. Xiangyuan temple is on the walkable distance from Huashan creek suspension bridge, so all these attraction in Huashan village are near to each other and can help you to spend your day very well. During summer it is a bit sunny and the runnels will be dried, and hence winter and rainy season can be the best seasons to visit if someone wants to enjoy more.
The Buddhist temples in the mountain range are always peaceful, and Taiwan is having much more. The famous Hushan temple( 湖山寺) is one among such. Two big statues of traditional Chinese samurai welcomes you to the temple. The temple is located in between the mountains and hundreds of small Buddhist statues are erected around a hill in front of the temple. On top of the hill, we can see a huge laughing Buddha with a natural background of the natural sky. This place is very silent and gives you a blissful feeling of peace. Hushan temple is included with a monastery, many statues of golden Buddha, laughing Buddha and traditional Buddhist gods. The temple is away from Douliu city and not well connected by public transport, so you need to take private transport. If you are hungry then, Gukeng green tunnel is a place to taste traditional Taiwanese food. The road is surrounded by mango and other trees and hence it is known as the green tunnel. This is a small market place like a night market, but it is open during the day time.
Overall, the tour to Yunlin was a great and unique experience for me. Yunlin is a semi urbanized place, and have many beautiful places in its mountain range (other than the above), and it is having more natural beauty than northern Taiwan. So if you want to visit a unique and natural place, then Yunlin can be the best option.
How to reach Yunlin?
TRA-Taipei Main Station –> TRA Douliu or TRA Dounan
HSR-Taipei Main Station–>HSR Yunlin
Bus-Taipei Main Station –>Bus Station Douliu
I welcome your comments and suggestions.
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