Time for Taiwan 2015-2016, Episode 29: Cycling in Baihe
Today we’re in Baihe, Tainan, which is famous for lotus farms.
Baihe is great for cycling. If you have an iPass or Easycard and a local mobile phone number, you can rent a public bicycle. If not, there are other bike rental shops around too.
There is a network of trails here, with the distance totaling tens of kilometers. The scenery here is peaceful and rural. You get to ride along rice paddies, lotus farms, irrigation channels, reservoirs, and lots of big, beautiful trees.
Come have a look. What do you think this is? These are old train tracks. There used to be a sugar mill around here. Baihe is mostly an agricultural town, in the plains, people produce rice and lotus seeds.
There was a period of time when lotus seeds didn’t sell well, so the townspeople thought, lotuses are beautiful to look at so why don’t we make a tourism industry out of it, too. They invited travelers, who’d stand by the side of the road and look at the lotuses, but it was unbearably hot because there were no trees to provide shade. Shade is bad for rice, that’s why. So people started planting trees along the road where there are lotus farms. These trees included kapok trees, which turned out to become another beautiful tourist attraction.
The stretch of kapok trees here is especially nice in March and April when the flowers bloom. In fact, some even say the kapoks make this one of the prettiest bike paths in the world. Pity we’re here now and not when it’s blooming!
Throughout the ride, you’ll see lots of Sanheyuan, which are traditional houses that you won't find in the city. Also there are lots of farm houses, some with an interesting twist. This is part of an ongoing community building project that is aiming to add a bit of art and youth back into the system.
Baihe reminds me of Chishang, Taitung because of the rice paddies and bike paths that allow you to ride through them. What’s cool about this one is the diversity in scenery, and the fact that not that may people know about this yet. Before it gets too crowded, you should come!
Michella's notes 米雪拉的筆記：
I was really pleasantly surprised at how wonderful cycling in Baihe can be! The sights are beautiful - there are picturesque rice paddies, irrigation channels, reservoirs, lotus farms/ponds, an artistic rice farming village, sanheyuan’s (traditional Chinese houses)… This is a great place to ride, and there are lots of roads and paths so budget more time to spend here. Another thing that also stands out is the B&B where we stayed - Granduncle Home, which was recently built. The owner (“granduncle’s” son, actually) is also a guide that can show you all the best places and tell you the stories. I don’t think he speaks English, but if you follow him, I’m sure the ride will be a good one.
Taiwan Cycling Festival 台灣騎跡 http://taiwanbike.tw/Article.aspx?sNo=02000194&lang=2
Granduncle Home 三叔公的家 http://granduncle.18851.com.tw