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The time when spring turns to summer here again is the tung blossom season, characterized by mountainsides covered in the green leaves and coquettish white flowers of tung trees, makes an attention-grabbing entrance. Are you packed? Get on your bicycle and make your way to Tung Blossom Trail to enjoy this annual festival and enjoy some beautiful scenes.
Ruanqiao is located by the side of Nanqing Highway (County Road 122) around three kilometers from Zhudong Township in the direction of Qingquan and Wufeng. In earlier times, when Ping Creek’s water levels were high local residents were unable to cross the river, so erected a simple bridge made out of local rattan; the bridge would bounce up and down when people walked across it, so it was named “soft bridge.”
The Charm of Ruanqiao’s Paintings and Tung Blossoms
The tung blossoms along Ruanqiao’s trail bloom in April, ground covered with white blossoms like snow. People who can walk up the 2.5 kilometer trail admiring the tung blossoms as they go, around one hour is required. The intoxicatingly romantic air created by the beautiful white blossoms makes a walk on the trail ideal for lovers.
Ruanqiao Community has been nicknamed “Hidden Rainbow Village” by netizens, even the telephone poles are decorated by paintings of the God of Wealth. On the approximately one kilometer long “Painting Street” in the village there are over 1000 paintings based on Hakka customs and social observation on the walls, such as Hakka opera, Tianchuang Day, Dazhongwu (Free Lunch Local Celebration of Baoshan Township) and the Yimin Festival (Righteous People Festival).
The Painting House stand sells aromatic tofu skin and herbal jelly egg. Visitors are advised to sit down and do some painting, acquiring a deeper impression of the Ruanqiao Hakka character. Take a trip to Ruanqiao in tung blossom season in April, work in the fields, listen to folk songs singing, thank the Land God when drinking water and painting the tung flowers. Children are surprised to all the tung blossoms covered as a carpet, so impressive!
Dongshan Village: Guanxi Daniuqi Trail
Take Provincial Highway 3 to Guanxi. The famous Luoma Highway, stretching from Mawudu in Guanxi, Hsinchu County to Luofu Village in Fuxing District, Taoyuan City, is one of the classic cycling routes of north Taiwan. The 70 kilometers long road passes through thick forest and has gentle slopes; cyclists can be seen urging each other on as they climb. Completing the route both ways, 140 kilometers in all, is tempering test of fitness and willpower.
There is also Siliao River Trail, where the air is fresh and cooling. The trail is built along Siliao River and is popular with walkers because it has both forest shade and flowing water. The trail is also called Siliao River Outdoor Eco-classroom. As the trail descends, it is lined with dense forest, and butterflies and dragonflies often appear. All the way there are considerate interpretation signs that introduce the flora and fauna along the trail, so visitors can learn about natural and enjoy invigorating forest shower.
This local area is famous for tea production. Although its fortunes have faded from the heyday. Entering a tea shop the affection of tea passed down through many generations can still be felt. Dongshan Village has a number of must-see sights, one of which, Jin Guang Cheng, was once a Hakka store that sold local tea but it has become a cultural museum. Guided tours are conducted at weekends and on holidays. If you have the energy, an informative side trip to the museum is recommended.