76, KouBei, JhihYi Li, Sinhua,
Hours: 5 am-6 pm
Until recently this decades-old research
forest--one of four around Taiwan managed by National
Chunghsing University--was open to the public 24/7,
and no admission was charged. Now that adults have to
pay NT$50 to enter (children and seniors, NT$20), this
writer wanted to see what visitors get for their money.
The answer is: much better paths, more signs (in Chinese
only), and a coffee shop with indoor and outdoor seating.
The forest sprawls over 373 hectares. The highest point,
grandly called Guanyinshan, may be just 154 meters above
sea level, but there are enough deep gulleys and steep
hillsides here to give you a good workout. Dogs can
be brought in if kept on a leash. To get here, drive
inland along County Road 168 from downtown Sinhua. After
about four kilometers, when you see Kou Bei Elementary
School (obvious, and with a bilingual sign), turn left.
You'll very soon see car parks and a cluster of vendors.
The main entrance to the arboretum is on the right.
--By Steven Crook, translated by Annie Liu