Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dongshan Tea Farms 冬山茶園

Lowland Yilan isn't famous for its tea, and if you mention Yilan tea to people from other parts of Taiwan, chances are they've never heard of it. Neverheless, there are quite a few tea farms on the hills and mountains in the southwest part of Dongshan township south of Luodong.

Tea is an attractive crop, and the sight of neatly trimmed hedges of tea sloping down hillsides creates a unique and appealing landscape. For anyone interested in exploring this tea region, there is no single destination. You just need to drive into the tea country and look around. If you're brave and speak some Chinese, you can just knock on a tea farmer's front door and ask if they have any tea to sell. People here are incredibly friendly, and you will surely be invited in to drink tea and chat. If you sit there a long time, it would be polite to buy at least a token amount of tea.

The easier option is to look for someplace set up to serve tea for tourists. There are several places here set up to serve and sell tea, and looking for them provides an excuse for exploring this unusual agricultural landscape.

To find the tea farms, you should drive south of Luodong on road 9. At some point,you need to turn right and just drive down the narrow roads and keep your eyes open. The little country roads here have miserable signage, so it's impossible to give proper directions. However, periodically you will come across brown signs set up for tourists. These will point the way to the tea area. There are several dozen farmers growing tea, and the tea area stretches across the entire southwestern corner of the township.Alternatively, you can follow the signs to Lake Meihua 梅花湖. The tea region is south of the lake.

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