Ride the rails in style aboard the Oriental Beauty Express (東方美人號), Taiwan's newly inaugurated tourist train with an Aboriginal motif.
Taiwan's East Coast Rift Valley (
These locales and much more are now connected by the Oriental Beauty Express, a new passenger train christened last month that runs along the East Coast. The train sports a playful theme, with Aboriginal decorations and attendants dressed in traditional Aboriginal attire. Passengers can enjoy splendid coastline views and superior service and furnishings in both economy and business class cars. Clowns perform magic shows and skits for the younger passengers (and the young at heart) on the weekends, making a ride on this locomotive all-round family entertainment.
So where could the Oriental Beauty Express take you?
A pleasant trip could begin with a stop in Jiusui Township at the Butterfly Valley Resort (
Each villa and cabin is equipped with its own hot spring pool. There are also Japanese-style suites and communal hot spring baths. Outside, scenic hiking paths lead off into the forest.
Chugging north along the East Coast railroad from Jiusui will bring you to Kuangfu in short order. The township's wetlands and Amis (
The manmade, waist-high fish ponds are layered with bamboo screens; different layers are devoted to farming various types of aquatic animal. Catfish and eels inhabit the very bottom of the pools; shrimp swim in the middle layer; and faster, friskier fish cruise the top level. The ponds are designed to attract the wetlands' diverse aquatic life, and make harvesting the bounty a piece of cake.
The Kuangfu Sugar Factory (光復糖廠) offers comfortable, affordable accommodation near Kuangfu train station. The building was once a dormitory attached to a sugar factory; it was later converted into a charming hotel after Taiwan's sugar industry went into decline. The workers' rooms have been redone as suites, and are a good place to rest after a day on the town.
Further north on the railway is Shoufeng Township (
Shoufeng also has a picturesque vanilla flower nursery. Additionally, the nursery cultivates lavender flowers, tulips, sunflowers, and lilies at various times of the year. The 10-hectare park also has a teahouse and a small horse farm.
Whether traveling to Juisui, Kuangfu, Shoufeng, or other scenic spots on the East Coast, let the Oriental Beauty Express take you in style.