Escapades in alluring rural Taiwan

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The rural paradise of Taiwan’s farm-stays makes it a great escape for a memorable escapade. Darren ng shares his experience

Before bubble tea usurped Taiwan’s cultural exchange to the world, agriculture ruled Taiwan’s domestic market as well as foreign exports.

Evolution of Industry

As the allure of industrialisation seduced the country’s economy towards manufacturing and information technology, “farm fresh” withered under the burgeoning “tech rash”.

To rub salt into the wound or, in this case, to feed fertiliser to the weed, the acceptance of Taiwan into the World Trade Organisation in 2002 opened up the domestic market to imported produce that is much cheaper.

Faced with the loss of younger hands to urban jobs and price competition from overseas imports, local farms were forced to evolve to survive.

Taiwan Farm-stay, a Unique Vacation

Instead of torching the fields and calling it quits, surviving farms have risen out of the ashes to become the next big thing in Taiwan’s tourism by offering unique farm-stay vacations.

I’ve never experienced kampong life or milked any cow so I regarded a farm-stay holiday in Taiwan with trepidation.

I was prepared to sweat a lot, bathe very little and be a buffet on legs for mosquitoes. Comfort, I thought, had to be left at home. I couldn’t be more wrong.

Luxurious Establishments

Taiwan’s farm-stays, or at least the nine farms I’ve been to, are not the attap villages or makeshift bunkers in the boondocks that
I had in mind but rather luxurious establishments that took me to the bountiful bosom of nature yet with elaborate meals, air-conditioned rooms and heated showers.

Above all, each of these farms wore a distinct personality that made my seven days and six nights of vacation a surprise
at every turn!

Cangjiu Winery

My journey began with an exotic dinner at Cangjiu Winery (126-50 Kenghish Road, Toucheng, Yilan) where wine is an ingredient in every dish.

Using mountainous spring water in its distillation of wines and spirits, Cangjiu is famous for its various fruit-flavoured vintages. If you dare, ask for a shot of Wuliangye with 52 per cent alcohol and pray that your drunken state doesn’t end up on YouTube.

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