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Taitung County is located just below Hualin County, on the "East Bank" of Taiwan. Once considered the most remote, and least colonized part of Taiwan by Chinese immigrants, the area is populated by the 7 aboriginal tribes of Bunun, Paiwan, Rukai, Amis, Beinan, Yamis and Gamalan. The largest tribe, Amis, has an estimated population of ~150,000. The aborigines in Taiwan often have 2 names, their tribal name, and a "Han Chinese" name. For example, the famous Taiwanese singer "A-Mei" is from the Puyuma tribe, her tribal name is Gulilai Amit, and her Chinese name is Chang Hui-mei.
Taitung county has many beautiful natural scenery places to see. I'll try to cover a few locations in this post.
The Black Forest of Taitung (台東森林公園/黑森林)
This park is popular for bicycle rides
小野柳 Hsiaoyehlieu, this is where you take photos of natural rock erosions for your windows background
八仙洞 (Cave of the 8 gods)
There's a number of natural caves here. Approx. 25,000 years ago, a stone-age civilization lived in these caves.
七星潭 This "Seven Stars" natural scenry area is technically attached the Hualin County
Yes, the water is this clear!
知本溫泉 Chipin hot springs
紅葉溫泉 Red Leaf Hot Springs
This is perhaps one of the oldest hot spring resorts in TW, built during the Japanese colonial era and continued to this day. By modern standards it's kinda small and dingy, but has a lot of history!
成功漁港 (Victory Fishing Harbor)
Daily bidding/auction process (do not interfere or else fishermen armed with large sharp metal hooks will kick your arse)
Fresh White Tuna (Albacore?) Sashimi!
You can also visit 富岡漁港 for fresh seafood
卑南文化公園 (Be Nan Culturla park)
This is actually a museum and dig site for stone-age cultural relics in Taiwan.
Short historical note
Humans have lived in Taiwan for at least 30,000 years. The Han Chinese settlers did not start colonizing Taiwan and its outer islands until ~800 years ago, with varied degree of success. The native tribes in Taiwan established the Kingdom of Middag (Datu) that ruled parts of Western Taiwan until its destruction in 1732. The Lelian (Sun King) of the Datu was referred to as Kaiser von Middag by the Dutch and German visitors. After its destruction by Qing, the reminents scattered into Nantou County (to the East) and settled in Atayal territory, established a town named Sabaha Bakalas (House of Stars), now called Puli.
Natives tribes living to the Eastern coast were more fortunate, due to its distance and remote-ness. While the tribes that once lived in the Western Coast are now mostly extinct, the tribes to the East managed to retain at least part of their territory and culture.
Gun ownership in Taiwan
As a side note, most people are aware that East Asian countries have strict gun control. The native tribes in Taiwan are one of the very few exceptions. Aborigines in Taiwan (~460,000) are allowed to own up to 2 muzzle-loading / single-shot rifles/shotguns per person, or up to 6 firearms per household. They may also build their own guns, but every firearm must be registered. Other than that, there are only ~5,000 registered firearms owned by private citizens (with special permit) in Taiwan.
Here's a short write-up on the Taiwanese aborigine service in the IJA during WW2:
http://danshuihistory.blogspot.com/2010 ... -army.html
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