Hidden treasures in eastern Taiwan’s Guangfu Township

Guangfu Township alone, which is located in the county’s central portion of East Rift Valley, has three tourist attractions that are worth recommendation.

Guangfu Township alone has three tourist attractions that are worth recommendation. (Photo courtesy of Soil and Water Conservation Bureau)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—Taiwan’s eastern county of Hualien has not only a long and beautiful coastline but also many treasures in the landscape of the county’s mountains and valleys. Guangfu Township alone, which is located in the county’s central portion of East Rift Valley, has three tourist attractions that are worth recommendation.

1. Mataian Wetland (馬太鞍濕地)

The Mataian Wetland Ecological Park Area is the traditional homeland of the Mataian Ami people.  

Located at the foot of Maxi Mountain, the wetland covers a surface area of 12 hectares. The springs of this natural wetland flow unceasingly. The clear, shallow Fudeng River originates from Maxi Mountain, where the spring waters converge from under the ground. This river zigzags from south to north through the Mataian Wetland, creating a greatly varied natural environment.

Visitor can stroll leisurely along a boardwalk or try out the Mataian Wetland Bicycle Path, where they will experience a trip that is full of natural wonders. 

(photo courtesy of East Rift Valley National Scenic Area)

(photo from Wikimedia Commons)

2. Guangfu Sugar Factory (光復糖廠)

Guangfu Sugar Factory, aka Hualien Sugar Factory, was built in 1921 during the Japanese occupation and was once the major sugar manufacturing center for east Taiwan.

In 2002, Guangfu Sugar Factory stopped producing sugar and began to develop into a tourism and recreation center.

The sugar factory also has a frozen products department which produces all flavors of popsicles and ice cream. These products are very popular with both local and foreign tourists, and a "trip to the sugar factory to sample the ice cream products" has become a favorite tourist activity. 

Next to the Guangfu Sugar Factory are Japanese-style bungalows, organized in neat rows. These residences, made of Chinese cypress, were built for the factory employees during the Japanese occupation. For many, these well-preserved old buildings create feelings of nostalgia. 

Visitors can even rent bikes to hang around.

(photo courtesy of East Rift Valley National Scenic Area)

(photo from Wikimedia Commons)

(photo from Wikimedia Commons)

3.  Jili Lake (吉利潭)

After being hidden for 20 years, Jili Lake has finally been renovated into the township’s newest tourist attraction.

Located at the feet of Maxi Mountain, the lake was a pond for storing logs and a secret place for the Ami to play with water during the Japanese occupation. With the decline of the logging industry in the area, the lake was gradually forgotten and almost buried in the weeds.  

After the renovation by the authorities, the place has been turned into a beautiful place with grasslands, an arch bridge, embankment, and an aquatic plant area.  

(photo from CNA)

(photo from CNA)