In recent years, the Taitung government has been promoting tourism that combines nature with ecology. Why not take your children on a fun and educational eco tour? Visit Chihpen Forest Recreation Area and challenge yourself on the Haohan Slope Trail, ride the bike trail in Taitung Forest Park, or sit in the shade for a picnic and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Lake Biwa. Also worth a visit is the Shanyuan Intertidal Zone, where you can see shrimp and crabs up close or feed the fish. Looking for attractions that don't require a long journey? Head to the Taitung Ocean Dream Aquarium, where you can see all kinds of colourful clownfish, or have fun in the Birthday Cake Park, featuring a 9.8-foot (3 metres) cake that can sing and spin. In summer, take the kids to enjoy an ice cream at Taitung Sugar Factory, play in the water at Dou Li Beach or experience the fun of rowing bamboo rafts and picking lotus at Dapochih. In the Wild Macaque Park of Deng Sian Chiao Recreation Area, you can get close to the wild macaques as they roam freely around the park. You can also cross Dong He Chiao, a nearly 60-year-old suspension bridge.

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    Chihpen Forest Recreation Area

    • Families
    • Adventure

    Located in the Hot Spring Village of Beinan Township, Chihpen Forest Recreation Area is an ecological forest park that makes an ideal family day out thanks to its warm climate all year round and its lush green forests. The park has four trails, a medicinal plant garden, a nature education centre and a picnic area. There are information signs along the four trails. You can start with the leisurely scenic trail, which takes about 45 minutes. The Haohanpuo (Brave Man's Slope) Trail, while only 1,049 feet (320 metres) long, rises 492 feet (150 metres) and has 792 steps. After reaching the top, you can head directly to the Rongyin Trail, along which you can see a variety of trees of the Ficus family, such as the banyan (also known as "thousand-root banyan"). Many of them are more than a century old and are truly spectacular. There is also a gentle forest trail where you can wander in the shade of verdant trees, breathe in the fresh air and listen to the sounds of the insects and birds. If you’re feeling tired, go to the foot massage trail, where you can take off your shoes and massage your feet by standing on the round pebbles in the water.

    Location: No. 290, Longquan Road, Hot Spring Village, Beinan Township, Taitung County, Taiwan 954

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 5 pm

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    photo by Bernard Gagnon (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

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    Picnic in Taitung Forest Park

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    Taitung Forest Park is located at the estuary of Beinan River. The dark colour of the beefwood trees planted throughout the forest to shield against the effects of the northeast monsoon earned the park the nickname "Black Forest". You can reach Taitung Forest Park in less than 10 minutes after leaving the city. The park is full of greenery and is perfect for a family picnic. You can go for a bike ride and have a picnic at any of the scenic spots in the park, such as the coastal wetland ecology of the estuary, the vast grassland, Pipa Lake, Egret Lake or Flowing Lake. The lush woods and vast green grassland of the park are truly impressive. The clear water of Pipa Lake reflects the blue sky and white clouds, forming a picture-perfect scene framed by the green trees on both sides. If you look closely you'll see the fish happily swimming around in the lake. Pack a cushion and some light refreshments for a pleasant afternoon picnic with your family.

    Location: No. 300, Huatai Road, Taitung City, Taitung County, Taiwan 950

    Open: Daily from 7.30 am to 7.30 pm

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    3

    Taitung Ocean Dream Aquarium

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    • Adventure

    Taitung Ocean Dream Aquarium, known as the Aquarium of Anemonefish until 2017, still retains a variety of successfully bred clownfish. It is a themed aquarium with the largest number of clownfish species in the country. In addition to clownfish, the aquarium has many freshwater fish and coral reef fish, such as humphead wrasse, snapper, potato grouper and other underwater creatures. The aquarium is equipped with various interactive multimedia installations where you can learn more about marine life. The two-storey-tall projection screen on the first floor of the aquarium lets you scan your face into the animation to create a mermaid with your own face, and you can then look for your mermaid on the projection screen. Kids love the interactive installation where the clownfish bravely rush to Golden Island. You can test your reaction ability by swaying your body left and right to dodge obstacles and earn yourself some gold coins. The aquarium also has a fantastic touch pool for children.

    Location: No. 21, Gangbian Road, Chenggong Township, Taitung County, Taiwan 961

    Open: Daily from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm

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    4

    Taitung Sugar Factory

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    • Food
    • History

    If you're looking to cool down on a hot summer's day, you'll find delicious ice-cream at Taitung Sugar Factory. Established in 1913, Taitung Sugar Factory was closed in 1996 due to environmental changes, and then transformed into an arts and culture park in 2004, with the former Taiwan Sugar Ice Products Department being moved to the shop. The frozen treats on offer at Taitung Sugar Factory are made using local farm produce and self-produced sugar, and come in a variety of flavours. There are ice lollies in glutinous rice, taro and red bean flavours as well as 14 flavours of ice-cream, including traditional as well as unique flavours such as hibiscus, green mango, durian and coconut milk. Red bean milk ice-cream is the best seller. Ice-cream is available to buy in cones or tubs. The factory's products are reasonably priced and made using authentic ingredients, and are extremely popular with Taitung locals of all ages. People flock here in the hot summer weather to enjoy these delicious and refreshing frozen treats.

    Location: No. 202, Section 2, Zhongxing Road, Taitung City, Taitung County, Taiwan 950

    Open: Summer: daily from 9.30 am to 9.45 pm; Winter: daily from 8.30 am to 8.45 pm

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    photo by Pbdragonwang (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    5

    Chihshang Township Dapochih

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    Dapochih, also known as "Chihshang Dapi (Bei)", is an important inland lake on the Huadong Valley Plain. The place name "Chihshang" is derived from "On Dapochih". According to official documents, Dapochih once covered an area of 138.38 acres (56 hectares) and had abundant fish and shrimp stocks. The locals used bamboo rafts to fish for their livelihoods. No wonder that "Fishing in Chihshang" was once selected as one of the top ten attractions in Taitung. Dapochih has an inner and outer loop trail around the lake. You can cycle on the outer loop and enjoy the gentle breeze, admire the lotus in the pond or enjoy the fascinating and ever-changing lake scenery, ranging from hanging mist in the morning to crystal-clear reflections of the colourful clouds on the lake in the evening. The rich wetland ecology in Dapochih has attracted many aquatic birds. In July and August each year, the Chihshang Township Office organises a series of bamboo rafting activities. One of the most popular family activities during summer is picking lotus from the pond while floating on a bamboo raft.

    Location: No. 23, Chifu Road, Chihshang Township, Taitung County, Taiwan 958

    Open: 24/7

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    photo by Bevis Chen (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

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    Dong He Chiao Recreation Area

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    • History
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    If you're in Donghe Township, it's worth visiting Dong He Chiao Recreation Area, located at the estuary of Mawuku River. The new and old Donghe bridges, which are red and grey respectively, span the river, creating an interesting contrast. Old Donghe Bridge was built in 1930. Because the north bank of the river has hard limestone while the south bank has soft sedimentary rock, the northern half of the bridge was designed with an arch-shaped pier that spans the river, retaining the boulder landscape, while the southern half of the bridge has a framed pier. Old Donghe Bridge is listed as one of Taiwan's top 100 historical sites by virtue of its unique bridge design that blends harmoniously with the natural environment. The old bridge has been closed to vehicles and now features numerous art installations. You can stroll on the bridge while appreciating the artists' works, check out the muscovite rock under the bridge, and gaze out to the Pacific Ocean in the distance. You can also try traditional Amis bamboo rafting under the bridge at Mawuku River. Shuttling between the huge white boulders is a fun way to get close to these wonders of nature.

    Location: At the roadside of 81 miles (131 kilometres) of Provincial Highway 11, Donghe Township, Taitung County, Taiwan 959

    Open: 24/7

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    photo by Lord Koxinga (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    7

    Dengxian Bridge Recreation Area

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    You can get close to groups of Taiwanese macaques at Dengxian Bridge Recreation Area, a wild macaque park in Taitung. Dengxian Bridge, located in Taiyuan Village, was formerly known as "Shengxian Bridge". It has hard igneous rock and is surrounded by spectacularly steep canyons. This recreation area is closed off from the outside world and is largely untouched by human development on account of its dangerous terrain, making it an ideal home for Taiwanese macaques. Every morning and at dusk, you can see groups of macaques walking around in search of food, while others bask leisurely in the sun. You can also spot mothers grooming the younger macaques, and others scaling the rock wall. The urge to take endless photos of these adorable animals is almost impossible to resist. If you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the group leader. For safety reasons, please ensure that your children are supervised at all times. Do not let them get too close to the macaques or feed them, as the macaques may attack humans while grabbing food.

    Location: Entrance of Taiyuan Village, northbound on Dongfu Highway, Donghe Township, Taitung County, Taiwan 959

    Open: 24/7

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    photo by 臺東縣東河鄉登仙橋休憩區 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    8

    Birthday Cake Park

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    Do you know where to find the biggest birthday cake in Taitung City? Taitung Children's Park, opposite Taitung Art Museum, has a huge birthday cake sculpture, earning it the nickname Birthday Cake Park. The giant strawberry cake is 9 feet (3 metres) tall and can spin and sing a birthday song. There are also sculptures of Taiwanese black bears and pandas dotted around the large grassy area, and you can even enjoy a picnic next to Princess Snivels and the Angry Prince, the much-loved children's book characters created by renowned picture book author Lai Ma. The park also has a play area, physical fitness facilities and boat-themed playground equipment for younger children. There's also a large grassy area, where you can enjoy outdoor fun or a family picnic.

    Location: No. 177, Ningbo Street, Taitung City, Taitung County, Taiwan 950

    Open: 24/7

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    9

    Shanyuan Intertidal Zone & Conservation Area

    • Families
    • Adventure

    Fushan Fish Reserve, located on the shores of Taitung's Shanyuan Sea, is also known as the Shanyuan Intertidal Zone and has been protected as a no-fishing zone since 2005 due to serious ecological damage in the past. Many fish species have been successfully rebred in recent years, and the Shanyuan Intertidal Zone has become a popular attraction in Taitung. After years of conservation and comprehensive planning, many species can now be seen again in the Shanyuan Intertidal Zone. You can stroll on man-made sea trails, see the fish and shrimp in the intertidal zone up close, or play in the sand and water at the beach. You can also feed the fish ‒ an activity that is popular with both adults and kids. If you want to feed the fish, you can buy special seaweed buns from the vendors at the entrance. These seaweed buns are oil-free and therefore won't pollute the ocean when they decompose. You can also visit the 754-feet-long (230-metre-long) wooden trail on the shore to admire the majestic ocean, or sit in the cafe and enjoy the sea breeze and the beautiful scenery in front of you. Taitung is a great place for a family eco-tour.

    Location: No. 20, Shanyuan, Fushan Village, Beinan Township, Taitung County, Taiwan 954

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 6 pm

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    10

    Dulan Beach

    • Families
    • Adventure

    A 5- to 10-minute walk from the Dulan intersection of Provincial Highway 11 will take you to Dulan Beach, one of Taitung's best-kept secrets. The beach was formerly an area where the indigenous Amis people would hold rituals, fish and hunt. It was also a paradise known only to surfers, but has now become one of the most popular attractions in Taitung. The sand here contains iron, which lends the beach its unique black colour. It's said that the best time for taking photos of the amazing scenery here is an hour before and after the tide goes out. Before the tide has gone out completely and if the weather is good with no wind or waves, the shallow water provides an incredible mirror image of the blue sky, white clouds and mountains. The secluded beach at Dulan is a place where you can play in the water and make sandcastles to your heart's content, making it an ideal spot for a family day out during the summer holidays.

    Location: Intersection of Provincial Highway 11 and Dulan Road, Chenggong Township, Taitung County, Taiwan 961

    Open: 24/7

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