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Chishang in Taiwan's East Rift Valley | Cycling in the Picturesque Landscape

已更新:2023年7月16日


吉客鏈:池上稻米地景 X 自行車減碳遊 X 大地藝術季 X 布農族文化

 

I've hosted two sessions of iChic Saloon about bike cycling conversazione, one time was in 2021with Carol ( An Amazing Way to Explore Taiwan | A Cycling Conversazione ) and the other time was in 2022 with Jui-Ping ( Hualien - A Hidden Leisure Gem in the Far East ). Both guests shared their wonderful and beautiful experiences. Thanks to Carol and Jui-ping again! Now I am on the go...again!



Where am I going?


Here are three maps of Taiwan showing the early 18th century impression, the mountain ranges(refer to the top 100 peaks travelogue) and the township where I cycled few weeks ago.

(Map resources | WIKI 1st map / 2nd map and Google Map searched Chishang)


I just went cycling in a place which was a nowhere in 300 years ago!



  • Chishang - the most charming township


Chishang (池上)is located in the upside of Dapo pond(大坡池), and is an agriculture township. Rice is its major crop in Chishang because of its suitable tropical weather and abundance of rainfall. During the Japan colonial era, the Chishang rice was the tribute offering to the Japanese emperor.


The countryside lifestyle is preserved very well due to a strategic agriculture reformed in 1990. The competitive rice production has earned profits which supported the local communities with thoughtful social well-being.


(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)


Meanwhile, the prosperity generated the picturesque landscape between mountain ranges, and created the unique natural dreamland for the tourists' attraction.

The landscape changes its colors according to the rice harvests in progress over the seasons.

(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)



  • Cycling around the dreamland


Cycling is the best way of rambling the small town just like elsewhere of the world.


My cycling saloon guests introduced the well-facilitated and friendly cycling route in "Taiwan on 2 Wheels" which includes "Chishang" on the midst of Taitung - Yuli route (image below).


Source : https://cycling.taiwan.net.tw
Photo Credit | Chi Hsu - Chishang Cycling Map

With all the information to feed on, I thought of Chishang as a must-go cycling destination. And, I was so thrilled to join "Giant Adventure" cycling tour being around ChiShang on 2 wheels.


(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu, taken by Giant Adventure)



Culture & Art


Day 1 contained of local culture and land art exploration. I loved how this culture impacted me as much as any tour I have been on. Enjoyed looking closer the creativity.


  • Bunun Cultural Museum of Haiduan Township

Our Formosan aboriginal tribes' languages are likely the origin of the entire Austronesian language family. By seeking to understand the Austronesian tribes, I've been interested to discover more about our formosan aboriginal cultures.


After we set off from the Chishang station, we dropped by the Bunun culture museum where exhibits the wood sculpture and the Bunun harvest festival.


(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu, taken by Giant Adventure)



  • Stray Birds 197

"Stray Birds 197" was the East Rift Valley project of a land art festival along the 197 country roads, organised by local authorities to support local artists.


(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu, some taken by Giant Adventure)


All the cyclists stopped by the installation art of Eleng Lulan's Therapeutic Works (more info) and suddenly we were caught by its chillax. Wish to have a nap on it.



120 KM cycled in 2,5 days


Amazingly, I cycled 120 km in 2.5 days (by e-bike).


On Day 2, was all uphill way to the altitude of 1,068 m, the highest point of southern highway in Taitung township. Inhale and exhale, I focused on breathing to challenge myself to arrive the summit and spared few seconds if I could, to see the gorge scenery along the highway.


I was thrilled with the magnificent landscape and pleased to fulfill the journey with other cyclists and the Giant Adventure crew which accompanied us!


(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu, some taken by Giant Adventure)


On Day 3, we couldn't wait to get up early to ride to the most popular cycling lane - Mr. Brown Avenue and Takeshi Kaneshiro Tree. The vast and green rice fields can be called 'the green avenue toward paradise'. The freshness and endless landscape gave me the most sensational feelings.


(Film taken by Giant Adventure - the drone recorded us to ride heading to Takeshi Kaneshiro Tree)



Sustainable Travel


Photo Credit | Chi Hsu

In Chishang, I did notice that local people listed the travel convention and wish all travelers to appreciate their livelihood.


I am inspired by Sustainable Travel International of which one of its goals is to engage with local communities. Its saying:

Local communities are the lifeblood of tourism. 【Note 1】



Photo Credit | Chi Hsu

Now, I get it and will respect the Chishang's traveler convention and know the importance of sustainable travel so always always visit the local products association/store to support their living business. Chishang Farmers' Association - is where you can buy local rice made products.


  • Being a responsible traveler

During the break, I chatted with one of cyclists - Danae, just like an onsite saloon conversazione. Dana and her sister were highly interested the local culture and we were the same kind of supporters whom shopped locally at Chishang Farmers' Association.


(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu, taken by Giant Adventure)


That's the responsible traveler's behavior. 【Note 2】


And for sure, the journey goes with the other 20 cyclists, our tour reduced a numerous carbon footprints in Chishang. The advanced model of being a responsible traveler.



 

【Note 1】As the institute points out:

On the upside, the local tourism means jobs and economic growth. On the downside, it means hardships, frustrations, and the destruction of resources they value.

【Note 2】The travel.earth also addresses being a responsible traveler :

being socially and culturally aware when you travel, understanding the effects of your travel on the places you visit, and trying to have a positive impact.

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