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Shanmei, Sinmei & Chashan Forest

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By Leo R. Maliksi/ Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Shanmei's main attraction is the Danayigu Ecological Park, which snakes along its namesake river. This 18-km long river is situated at the upper reaches of the Zengwen River. Shanmei is a great place for a forest walk amidst the song of birds and the streams. Camellia flowers and Taiwan ku fish can also be seen from the trails.

There is an NT$100 area maintenance fee on weekends and holidays, or NT$80 on weekdays, and an NT$50 parking fee for drivers. Tsou aboriginal dances are performed on weekends and holidays at 10:40, 13:50 and 15:30.

Sinmei: Tourism in Sinmei has developed relatively recently, so the village has preserved a rustic beauty. Indeed, farming remains the main occupation here. The best time to visit is in fall, when the surrounding maples
Photos provided by Alishan National
Scenic Area Administration

turn brilliant red. In recent years, an archeological site was discovered here, adding a cultural note to the village's scenic charm.

Chashan: Once cow pasturage, this village has been developed by the local Tsou and Bunun aboriginals into a recreational farm and scenic area. The village is known best for its "kubas," a type of pavilion traditionally used by the Tsou and Bunun for important tribal occasions. Chashan is also well endowed by nature, with river recreation areas, grottos, massive cliffsides and other natural attractions. The main annual event in Chashan is the Kuba Festival in November. Local specialties:
Camellia oil and hand-woven art

Getting there: Take Prov. Hwy 18 toward Longmei and then follow County Hwy 129 to the villages of Shanmei, Sinmei and Chashan¡Xjointly known as the three southern villages of the Tsou aboriginals.

Lijia, Dabang & Leye

Lijia: The villages of southern Alishan were the first stop of the Tsou aboriginals in their outer migration. They were known as the blue tribes,?since they preserved this area in all its pristine beauty. Lijia opens a window to the unique Tsou culture, from the local cuisine to traditional arts. Visitors should make sure to spend the night in one of the village's distinctive home stay inns to enjoy the local hospitality and take in the star-filled night sky.

Local specialties: Mountain tea, ashitaba, plums, and bamboo shoots

Scenic attractions: Siyang (Sunset) Mountain, Dingbenzai Mountain, and Juejuesih historic trails.

Dabang: To get to Dabang, take Hwy 169 for about a half hour, then follow the valley up and stay to the right.

With its traditional hunting and fishing grounds, and the Tsou Aboriginal Resource Center, Dabang is an ideal place to experience the traditional way of life of the Tsou. Other local attractions include the Rainbow Waterfall, Aiyu Ecological Park, Dade-an Waterfall, Bat Grotto, and a conch fossil area.

The village is also known for its delicious high mountain veggies and bamboo shoots. A good way to enjoy the scenic beauty of the area is to walk the Tefuye-Dabang Trail and Shenmi Valley Trail.

There are plenty of hotels, home stay inns and other tourist accommodations to easily accommodate a three-day tour.

Leye: Is famed for its maple forests and, at higher elevations, tea plantations. Leye is as rich in culture as it is in natural beauty, as a stay at one of the village home stay hotels will show.