Dec 31, 2008

The Hometown of Lotus ─ Baihe

Baihe(白河), best-known for its nickname of “the hometown of lotus”, is a small town located in the northern part of Tainan County. Here, you can wander in the simple, rustic countryside, encountering surprisingly beautiful scenes that marvel you and soothe your tiring mind.
In spring, continuous showers spray on the lotus fields, then farmers commence planting the gorgeous lotuses. Beginning with breeding shoots, preparing soil, fertilizing, ridding insects, to irrigating, the process of cultivating these fascinating flowers are elaborate and time-consuming. Lotuses have thin stems which enable it to stretch out of the muddy field. However, the fragile stems can’t withstand strong wind of summer, the season when numerous typhoons devastate lotus farms, causing farmers who make a living by yielding lotuses suffer huge loss. The best time to appreciate lotuses is early morning; the flowers would bloom only this period. Yet, not to worry too much that you will miss the blossom of lotuses for getting up too late. There are different species of lotuses that blossom all day long.
Lotuses are plants with high value, i.e. every part of lotuses can be used. The roots, stems, leaves, flowers and seeds, can be magically turned into delicate lotus cuisine and lotus-related products, including shampoo, tea, cosmetics, and more. Thanks to the advantages of the perfect soil and water quality in Baihe, the taste of lotus seeds and root powder are extensively praised by all; it sells so well that the supply is often unable to meet the demand.
In order to attract more tourists, the local government has established many tourist trails, allowing every one to walk under a long line of trees like green tunnels. Enjoy yourself for both the fabulous roadside scenery and fresh air anytime! The biggest draw of the “green tunnels” is that you may be able to see the magnificent mountain ranges behind extensive lotus farms. Either you ride bicycles or stroll idly through the tourist trails is something of a pilgrimage. The tourist trails are popular with all sorts of people: parents carrying toddlers wearing lovely hats, the elder sitting on wheelchair, bicycle-riders, and overweight joggers huffing and puffing their way along. What could be a better reward than the picturesque views and cool breezes containing lotus fragrance that send you into silent exclamation?
Away from the downtown, you may want to explore Pillow Mountain, which is named for its shape. There are many tourist attractions hidden in this mountain waiting for every traveler to discover. Want a breathtaking panorama of the Chianan Plain(嘉南平原)? Want mountaineering and discover yourself surrounded by maple trees? Want to soothe your body in relaxing hot mud spring, which is one of a kind in this world? Want to learn about the Chinese tradition by visiting historic temples? Find it all here in this mountain and prepare to gawk at every little sight you see while meandering your way uphill. Guanzihling(關仔嶺) hot spring is one of the five most noted hot springs in Taiwan. What makes it a noteworthy travel spot is that the hot spring in Guanzihling is mud spring, which only exists in three places in the world. It is said that the mud spring contains slight radium, which has therapeutic value for treating skin allergy, alleviating stress, and improving your complexion. The geologic condition brings Baihe more than just hot mud springs. One must-see that will definitely marvel you is that fire and water coexist in the same space due to the above-mentioned.
Far away from the hustle and bustle of the urban life, you can experience the tranquility and serenity of the rural life. Also, the hospitality of the villagers can make you feel welcomed. The most difficult problem faced by this small agricultural country, like most country in Taiwan do, is the lack of manpower, finances, and social resources. Young people would move out of town in order to make a living and find chances to survive in big cities. What’s worse, the decrease of birth rate and more elders staying in such a small town put more obstruction to further establishment. Owing to the special features for tourisms of this beautiful town, it will transfer to a new type of town.
To get here, you can take a train, a passenger transport to Shinyin(新營), Jiayi(嘉義) or Houbi(後壁) train station. Then, catch a bus near the train station to Baihe. You will be welcomed to this town and will discover the idyllic atmosphere of “the hometown of lotus”--- Baihe.

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