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    Splendid Mituo District: From Badlands to Azure Coastline Print
    • Publishing Date:2017-08-07~2017-11-30
    • Update Time:2017-08-07 11:41
    • Clickthrough Rate:36
    • Publishing Unit:Information Bureau, Kaohsiung City Government

    ◎English translation: Hou Ya-ting

    ◎Photos by Yang Han-ni, Zeng Guo-shu, Pao Chung-hui

     Situated on Kaohsiung's west coast, many of those who reside in Mituo believe the district derives its name from a small temple near its northern harbor, in which Amitabha –the principal Buddha in Pure Land Buddhism –is worshiped. Interestingly, the work of Mr. Jiang Yu-ying, the first prefectural magistrate assigned to Taiwan in the Cing Dynasty (which ruled the island from 1684 to 1895), mentions that Mituo was established as a community in 1685. But it is certain that people were living here even earlier, as archaeological work has uncovered 1,400-year-old relics from the Iron Age's Niaosong Culture.

    Splendid Mituo District: From Badlands to Azure Coastline There is much to see in Mituo District, which has a rich culture and an abundance of sights. Mituo cherishes an array of captivating local arts and crafts, such as shadow puppetry, straw-mat weaving and bamboo-hat making. Two local prestigious shadow-puppet troupes, Fu Hsing Ko and Yung Shing Le, are unrelenting in their promotion and preservation of this traditional art form by touring towns throughout Taiwan and participating in cultural events.

     Nature lovers marvel at Mituo District's Tadi Mountain Natural Park. The majestic mudstone badlands feature exposed ridges and gullies, a kind of terrain visible in only a handful of places in Taiwan. Strolling along the park's hiking trails allows visitors to fully experience these spectacular badlands. Mituo's long seashore bestows on the district gorgeous coastal scenery, with Nanliao Coastal Recreational Area being an especially popular seaside destination.

    ◎Tadi Mountain Natural Park

     Located at Mituo's Tadi Village, Tadi Mountain covers an area approximately 800m long by 600m wide. Its highest point is 53m above sea level. Long a restricted military area, Tadi Mountain's natural environment has remained quite intact. It was not until the military withdrew from the area in 2006 that Tadi Mountain revealed its stunning scenery.

     Tadi Mountain differs from Taiwan's other badlands in being so near the ocean. Tadi Mountain Natural Park has emerged as a favorite place for local residents to do their daily exercise routines while chatting with friends, hiking and appreciating a sunset that is often gorgeous. 

     Entering the park, road signs point left to the former military base, and right to various peripheral trails. The latter lead to a suspension bridge. Those who take the latter route can see morning glories growing in abundance alongside the stone paths. From the stairs beneath the suspension bridge, one sees the fort. While atop the bridge, it is possible to appreciate the area's renowned badlands topography.

     Heading left, one soon reaches the old military base. The armed forces left their mark on the area, such as sentry boxes on both sides of the entrance. The public installation art displayed here depicts soldiers training to climb a wall, and there is a series of adorable soldier puppets. Visitors enthusiastically pose for photos with the puppets. 

    Splendid Mituo District: From Badlands to Azure Coastline On the right side, an uphill trail eventually leads to an observation tower and two active mud-volcano vents. Both are three to five cm in diameter. The military built concrete channels around the two vents, so the mud would not overflow. As it happened, I ran into a man who had done part of his compulsory military service at Tadi Mountain. He recalled that, before the channels were built, he and his colleagues had to daily remove mud seeping out from the volcanoes to ensure the safety of the base and its equipment. Apart from military remnants, this area now has a basketball court, some gym equipment and a playground. The playground slide is much enjoyed by local children.

     Tadi Mountain Natural Park can be divided into the Nanheng (Southern) and Beiheng (Northern) hiking trails. The former is temporarily closed because some stairs were damaged by a typhoon; repairs are underway. On the Beiheng Hiking Trail, after just five minutes' walking, visitors can see the distinct badlands terrain. Frequent visitors recommend those who have strong legs take this route to the bunker, as that is the best spot for appreciating the surrounding scenery. The badlands' appearance is the result of water erosion. When it rains, the surface soil absorbs moisture; however, when the sun comes out, the surface quickly dries and cracks. Repeated wetting and drying have created this special landscape. Furthermore, downpours sometimes cause landslides, so exposed ridges and gullies are major features of the badlands. As a result, very little vegetation can be found growing on the mudstone. 

     The natural wonders and sights of Tadi Mountain Natural Park make it a perfect destination for families. The badlands arouse the curiosity of both children and adults, and a visit to Tadi Mountain enables visitors to fully appreciate the beauty of this special place. 

    ◎Nanliao Coastal Park at Nanliao Fishing Port

     Nanliao Coastal Park is a child-friendly destination. While the grown-ups relax by gazing at the azure ocean, the kids enjoy a boat-shaped scenic lookout, a water channel, a wooden path, a pavilion and a white-sand playground. The coastal park's oceanic ambiance is enhanced by paintings of marine animals and large 3D dolphins on the walls, as well as a manga-style puppet of an angler holding fish.

     For many children, the outdoor playground at Nanliao Coastal Park is better than any toys they have at home. Right after taking their socks off, children dive into the sand. Meanwhile, experienced anglers gather by the levee, kick back, chat, watch the sunset, and enjoy the fun of fishing. Many praise Nanliao Fishing Port because it has neither an annoying fishy odor nor the smell of diesel from fishing boats. Being on the coast, Mituo does not lack for fresh ocean produce. Those in the know head to Nanliao Fish Market, a local morning market and a wonderful place to pick up fresh seafood. Nanliao Fishing Port also holds a weekend fish market where people can buy seafood to cook at home, as well as delicacies that can be enjoyed on-site. Customers will love the umami taste of seafood here!

     For those keen to explore Mituo District's marine culture, the annual Mazu Festival –hosted by Tiannan Temple in the third lunar month –is an opportunity to observe how local residents express their adoration of Mazu, the goddess of the sea. This hospitable festival features all kinds of performances, including music, drama and battle arrays.

     On top of its scenic and cultural attractions, Mituo has a sophisticated aquaculture industry which produces high-quality milkfish, often eaten in the form of fish balls. Many regard milkfish and fish balls as the district's signature oceanic products. Another popular local product is Guei Jia Siang Soy Sauce. Amazing Mituo District awaits your visit.