Slow & Easy the Cittaslow way
September 18, 2018
If your holidays in Taiwan have not included Miaoli, this where you should consider going next, especially those seeking a holistic, wholesome vacation.
Recently, a team led by Miaoli County head Teng Kuei Chu, showcased what this part of north-western Taiwan had to offer at an event in Aloft Hotel Kuala Lumpur. With them was Miaoli mascot, Maolimiaow or Meow Leopard Cat.
|Miaoli County mascot, Maolimiaow|
The team included representatives from the Miaoli County Tourism Association, Sanyi Township Office, Tongluo Township Sightseeing Tour, 16 Distilleries Teahouse/Lei Cha DIY Workshop, West Lake Resortopia, Flying Cow Ranch and Maison de Chine Hotel.
Miaoli is a mountainous region populated mainly by Hakka folk (hah! I didn’t know that). Key destination attractions in the country took part to promote the various offerings titled Charms Of An International Slow City, best experienced through a free and easy tour.
Located between Hsinchu and Taichung or between Taichung International Airport and Taoyuan International Airport, Miaoli County is easily accessible by high speed train, conventional rail travel, car, bus or free shuttle service.
The towns of Sanyi and Nanzhuang were both awarded the Certificate of International Slow City in 2016. A slow city is a place which strives to maintain a high-quality and sustainable living environment and where its people “strive to live a life with good attitude”.
In line with that, Taiwan’s first “railway bicycle”, with a low level of carbon emission, offers an environmentally friendly mode of travel which allows passengers to leisurely experience the beauty of Sanyi. The train meanders through an old mountain range overlooking the city centre. The railway line, stretching over 21km, from Sanyi to Fengyuan, passes through 4 stations, 4 train trestles (bridges) and 9 tunnels.
Apart from the railway bicycle, there’s plenty to do in Miaoli, from cultural tours (especially the Hakka experience), nature tour, food tour (taste the authentic Hakka cuisine) and aboriginal tour.
With its LOHAS theme, the Hakka Cuisine in Miaoli follows the Slow Cooking methods, using natural ingredients harvested in the county.
Hakka Lei Cha is a drink traditionally served to guests. It’s made using ground millet, peanuts, sesame, pumpkin seeds and green tea to produce the unique aroma. Unlike Malaysian lei cha, this does not have basil leaves added and is not served with rice as a savoury dish.
|Miaoli County head Teng Kuei Chu (centre) shows how lei cha tea is made|
There’s even a flower tour for each of the four seasons: Plum flower in spring, tung flower in Summer, daisy in autumn and cherry in winter. In particular, the tung flower which blooms in late April and drops in May, is a wondrous sight, carpeting the ground with snow-white petals. Mass weddings are often conducted at this time to take advantage of the falling “snowflakes” creating a romantic atmosphere. In the past 13 years, 1,148 couples have held their weddings under the shower of tung flowers.
Visitors can even stay at the Flower Home for a full floral fantasy. Located in Zhuo-Lan Township, this resort which has been producing essential oil for 3 decades, showcases tung flowers (April-May), verbana flowers (June-August) and lavender flowers (October-April).
It’s not just flowers. The resort offers guests cuisine made with fruit, flowers and herbs plucked from the gardens, including sage, rosemary, lemongrass, cinnamon leaves, mint, lemon balm and thyme. Its spokesman says at night, guests are treated to symphonies made by Gunther’s Frogs and Temple tree frogs while they wake up to the chirping of birds.
What if you have children who are raring to go? Well, Miaoli claims to have the most child-friendly ranch in western Taiwan. The 50-hectare Flying Cow Ranch in Tongxiao lets you get close to animals. Children in particular, will be thrilled to milk cows as well as feed calves and ducks. They can also help make butter and ice-cream, cookies and cakes.
|Floral themed toilets at Flower Home|
Tourists can also go glamping at the MODO Luxurious Countryside Resort in Zhuolan Mountains for outdoor fun.
Another great place to stay is West Lake Resortopia nestling next to a calm, natural lake in the mountainous region that’s just a 10-minute drive from Sanyi. It is great for families as it has a Hans Christian Andersen-themed amusement park.
Meanwhile, Miaoli Tourism Bureau is seeking halal certification for many outlets to cater to the Muslim market.
For more information, contact:
Culture and Tourism Bureau Miaoli County