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COMPASS MAGAZINE, August 2005.

Escaping to Miaoli County's
Dalagang Tea Farm

Contact Information:
Tel: 0911972823
Website: http://dalagang.mmmtravel.com.tw/
For English speakers: ask for Francisca

---By Mark Payne Translated by Chou NaiXien

We certainly can appreciate Taipei as a place with plenty on offer for working and playing, as aptly illustrated in the pages of this magazine. However, we sometimes need to escape, get away from it all, recharge the batteries and wallow in beauty and serenity. One great place to do this is the Dalagang Tea Farm in Miaoli County.

Dalagang Farm was the first aboriginal-built cooperative farm on the mountain top of the Elephant-nose Tribe's Tai-An Village. This is a working tea farm that offers great accomodations, with spectacular views of the encircling, lush green mountains. As you sit on the balcony on a sunny morning, you can watch the tea-picking ladies, working away in the fields below. As they work, there's talk, laughter, gossip and smoking. Every now and then, the individual conversations will dissipate and be replaced by a wave of laughter sweeping through the tea field. You probably won't understand the joke, but that doesn't matter.
At night, the place is also truly beautiful as the surrounding mountains are lit up like Christmas trees by thousands of buzzing fireflies. Despite this spectacle, though, a visit here will remind you of what darkness is really like. Living in Taipei, we sometimes forget how dark dark can be--and that things such as stars actually exist. This writer actually lost his balance (nothing to do with alcohol or betelnut) due to the depth of darkness that surrounded him. It was almost eerie.

If you want to do more than relax and soak up this environment, this is also a great place for hiking, camping or cycling. The farm can organise a range of activities--trap making, night hunting, DIY bamboo crafting, and archery. The archery is great fun, especially if you go with a group, although it only served to bring home the point that, in times of old, I would have been a very hungry young man.
For beautiful scenery, good food, a taste of Aborigine life, lovely rooms and good activities, the Dalagang Tea Farm is indeed a hard-to-beat destination.
Getting There: As it is very remote, there is no public transport to the farm. Visitors can drive themselves, or the farm will pick you up at the Fengyuan City (Taichung County) train station for NT$200. Contact the farm for more details.
Prices: Rooms range from NT$400 per person per night (in Taiya-style bamboo bunks) to NT$3,200 a room (4 people sharing 2 doubles). A great double room with balcony is NT$2,000. Breakfast is included and an evening meal (Taiya-style) is NT$200.

 

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