TAIPEI (Taiwan News) —Ji'an and Fuli townships in the eastern county of Hualien are two of the 30 classic small towns selected for 2020 under the “small town 2.0” program, Liberty Times Net reported on Tuesday (Jan. 21).
Ji'an is a town where mountains and the sea are only a few kilometers apart. The famed Fenglin Trail (楓林步道) in Ji’an offers views of the Hualien Plain, the north side of the Coastal Mountain Range, and the Pacific Ocean in the distance. The trail is praised by netizens as “the place with beautiful views in the daytime and at night,” according to the report.
Ji’an Township Mayor You Shu-zhen (游淑貞) said that the township is currently operating a series of tours to take tourists to explore local natural ecology and relics of early cultivation. The series also include a bike tour allowing visitors to admire idyllic landscapes across the township and taste local delicacies.
Currently cosmos flowers are blooming in the fields all over the area, You said, adding that the four hillside trails—Fenglin, Baiyun, Riguang, and Xiangyang — are now blooming with colorful flowers, including plum, azalea, China rose, and yellow sage.
Further south, Fuli Township is famous for its organic rice grown in Luoshan Village. This year, the Fuli Farmers’ Association has used rice straw left behind after the second rice harvest in Luoshan, along with straw ropes, driftwood and beetle nut sheaths, to weave cute looking animals, such as gorillas, elephants, and wild boars, the news outlet reported. The 6-meter “silver back gorilla” with a cocky face is the tallest among the straw animals, the report said.
The Rice Straw Art Festival in Fuli, which will last until the end of March, is expected to become the most popular tourist attraction in southern Hualien County during the Lunar New Year, according to the report.
Ji'an Township (Ji'an Township Office photo)
The Rice Straw Art Festival in Luoshan Village, Fuli Township, Hualien County (CNA photo)