Tuesday, June 21, 2011

10 Things to Do in Taomi Village

1. Enjoy Paper Dome park beauty.
Paper Dome is a certain highlight of Taomi village. Even it is not big you can easily spend a half of day walking around ponds searching for fish and taking pictures of magnificent water lilies or just sitting in cane-chair with a glass of cold passion fruit juice.

Practical information: Paper Dome working hours: 9:00-20:00 (Saturday and public holidays 9:00-21:00). It is closed every first Wednesday of every month. Admission: 100 NT$ for adults, 50 NT$ for children, students, elderly, Puli citizens and groups more than 30 people. (Tickets can be used as coupons in a restaurant, café and souvenir shops).

2. Learn about Paper Dome story.
Paper Dome is not just a recreation park but a special place with its own history. Take a guide to learn about two the most devastating earthquakes of the end of XX century and how they connected with Taomi community and Paper Dome.

Practical information: a guide for a group from 10 people is free (English guide is available for any number of people). You have to apply for a guide three days in advance.

3. Eat something healthy at the Loving restaurant.
When you feel hungry continue your eco-visit stopping by the Loving restaurant in Paper Dome. There they serve European-style dishes cooked from local products. They use vegetables grown nearby without any chemical fertilizers. Whatever you chose there: a full lunch or just a cup of herbal tea it will give you energy to continue exploring Taomi village. Don’t forget to look around the restaurant: sometimes they have local artists’ exhibitions there.

Practical information: The loving restaurant serves lunch and dinners 11:00-14:00 and 17:00-19:30. Between14:00 and 17:00 you can have a drink with a bagel or other snack.
Main dishes from 230 NT$ including soup and salad, drinks from 70 NT$.

4. Bring a souvenir from Paper Dome. Paper Dome also support local artists and farmers selling souvenirs and local products such as Sun Moon Lake tea, honey, dried plum and other Nantou specialties. Don’t leave without a cute fabric hand-made frog with a crafty face!

5. Visit Taomi museum and rent a bike there.
Not everybody knows that Taomi has its own museum where you can learn about Taomi village history, 921 earthquake and how it influenced people’s life there. Unfortunately there is no information in English as well as an English-speaking guide. But even you do not speak Chinese you should visit the museum if you want to explore Taomi wetlands and other sights by bicycle. The museum works also as a tourist information centre and rent bicycles to visitors.

Practical information: the museum open 8:30-12:00 and 13:00-17:00 every day except Tuesday and Wednesday. Bikes rental: 50 NT$ per hour for usual bicycle and 100 NT$ per hour for a tandem.

6. Get closer to nature at Taomi wetlands.
There are at least two pictorial wetlands in Taomi village: Caonan Wetland Farm and Maopukeng WetlandPark. They are both made by local residents after 921 earthquake and include not only ecological ponds but wooden statues of frogs and dragonflies, a few scenic bridges, a small zip line and other handmade features. Come there for a picnic or just for a walk and if you are lucky you will see dozens dragonflies, butterflies, frogs, birds and wild planes. In April and May Caonan Wetland Farm is also a good place to see fireflies.

Practical information: Visiting wetlands is free of charge. You will probably need a car or a bicycle to travel between wetlands as they are situated in a distance from each other. You can get a free English map of Taomi village at any B’n’B there.

7. Come to Paper Dome again at night.
Night is the best time to visit Paper Dome when a day-time bustle leaves with most of visitors. Soft light create a charming atmosphere. Frogs wake up and start singing their songs. Relax at Maahapet café watching Paper Dome reflection in the pond. Don’t forget to use mosquito repellent as not only frogs become active at night.

Practical information: If you going to leave Paper Dome and come again later ask them to press a stamp on your hand so you don’t have to buy a new ticket.

8. Listen to a concert at Paper Dome.
Every Saturday Paper Dome organizes a concert for its visitors. A variety of musicians, from young local artists to the National Taiwan Orchestra or world famous Canadian singer Matthew Lien have participated at these events. There is also a jazz band that plays every second Sunday. Some of the concerts are held at Maahapet café. The more important ones are held right in front of the Paper Dome. Most people sit on the grass in front of the dome. My personal advice is to go outside the Paper Dome Park and sit down at the amphitheatre on the hill. You will get the best view and the best sound from there.

9. Have a nice dinner at a Hakka cuisine restaurant.
Another Taomi’s attraction is its variety of excellent restaurants. One of the first of them is Tujiaocuo Pond Restaurant. Tujiaocuo (土角厝) means a clay house. Unfortunately original traditional building was destroyed by 921 earthquake and now Tujiaocao restaurant is an elegant glass building standing on fish pond. However the cuisine remains traditional and tourists from all around Taiwan come here to try excellent fish dishes.

Practical information: Tujiaocuo Pond Restaurant opens from 11:00 to 14:00 and from 17:00 to 20:00. Average check is 300 NT$ per person.

10. Slow your pace and stay overnight in one of Taomi ecological B&Bs.

Feel tired after long day in Taomi? Stay in one of 11 high-quality family B&B. They not only offer comfortable rooms but also take you to a night tour to see numerous Taomi frogs. In April and May they also show their guests fireflies. Every B&B has its own ecological ponds and gardens so be ready to listen to frogs songs all night long.

Practical information: See a list of Taomi B&Bs at Taomi web site (in Chinese). Book in advance if you are going to stay here on weekends.

Anna Dontsova


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