Meeting the Natives at Taiwan Indigenous Cultural Park

I’m taking a break from writing my Cebu series because I’m in the mood to write once again about this country that has a very special place in my heart. As you might have read from my previous posts, I lived in Taiwan for several months last year. Since then, the island of Formosa have marked its beauty in my memory. Little did I know that such a small country would be so rich in culture, heritage and history.

With my nephew and nieces

One Saturday morning my brother drove me from Kaohsiung City to Taiwan Indigenous Cultural Park. It is located at Majia Township, Pingtung County, the southern part of Taiwan. The township is home to a number of indigenous tribes. It’s somehow similar to Mountain Province, where we can see the indigenous people in the Philippines.

Entrance fee for adults is NT$150 (Php 225) and for students is NT$80 (Php 120). The park is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30am-5:00pm and is closed every Monday.

Established in 1987, the park covers 82.65 hectares. The park was developed to preserve aboriginal culture and to make sure that the customs of these indigenous people will not be forgotten.

My brother had told me about this place before. According to him, some of the aborigines here have similar features with Filipinos. Actually, during the first time he came here, one aborigine had mistaken him as one of them. Taiwan’s population is now made of 98% Han Chinese and 2% Taiwanese aborigines. And as I’ve researched online, I found out that Taiwanese aborigines’ ancestors might had been living in the island 8,000 years before the Han Chinese immigrated to Taiwan in the 17th century. Thus, Taiwanese aborigines have linguistic and genetic ties to the people of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. This research is not hard to believe because as we know, Taiwan is only 190 kilometers from Batanes, the northernmost province of the Philippines.

Inside this cute little house, there is a restaurant that sells coffee and tea.

Black tea with ice cream

Upon arrival in the park, the aborigines welcomed us with a serenade. They sang some traditional songs to us and fired some bamboo firecrackers.

After the short presentation, we took a bus that brought us to the center of the park.

The sceneries while on the bus were really beautiful. The park is surrounded by huge mountains. After arriving at the park’s center area, the visitors were brought to a big circular theater where the aborigines presented cultural dances and songs.

The show was fantastic. The aboriginal songs and dances that they presented were really impressive. Even though we didn’t understand their language, the hymn of their ethnic songs was truly beautiful. My nephew and nieces ended singing the hymn of the song in the car on our way home.

There are also exhibits that show the arts and lifestyle of the different tribes. They are currently featuring the exhibits of nine aboriginal tribes in Taiwan.

Taiwan Indigenous Cultural Park in Pingtung County is far from Taipei but if you’re staying in Taipei and you’re interested in Taiwan’s aborigines, there’s still another option for you. There is another aboriginal park located in Nantou County about 5 hours from Taipei by bus but it’ll be faster if you will take the high speen train. Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village is located near to Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County. For more information about Formosa Aboriginal Culture Village please click here. I also searched for a video in youtube to show you what are Taiwanese aboriginal dances like. The dance in the video is somehow similar to the one that we watched in the park.

Overall, this park is one of the most remarkable places that I have visited in Taiwan. I had a great time meeting the Taiwanese aborigines, whom I had found out have some genetic ties with Filipinos and other Austronesian people. Traveling would make you realize the similarities and differences that we have with other countries. It’s good to find out that there are cultural parks like this that ensure that the culture and lifestyle of the indigenous people will not be forgotten on this day of modernizing world.

Taiwan Indigenous Cultural Park
Address: No.104, Fengjing Lane, Beiye Village, Majia Township, Pingtung County
Telephone # +886-8-799-1219
Entrance fee:  Adults NT$150 ; Students NT$80
Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30am-5:00pm and is closed every Monday

How to Get Here:

By Car:
1. National Freeway No.1 → Exit at the Jiuru 2nd Rd. Interchange for Kaohsiung City → Pingtung City → Provincial Highway Route 24 → Shueimen → Beiye → Taiwan Indigenous Cultural Park.

2. National Freeway No.3 → Exit at the Changzhi Interchange → Pingtung City → Provincial Highway Route 24 → Shuimen → Beiye → Taiwan Indigenous Cultural Park.

3. National Freeway No.3 → Exit at the Jiuru Interchange → Provincial Highway Route 3 → Ligang → Provincial Highway Route 22 → Gaoshu Bridge → Shuimen → Taiwan Indigenous Cultural Park (through Saijia).

By Bus:
Travel until Pingtung Railway Station and connect to the bus of Pingtung Bus for the direction of Shueimen or Sandimen. Get off at the Shueimen stop and walk to the Park. (Connecting buses to the Park available on holidays).

*source from here

11 comments on “Meeting the Natives at Taiwan Indigenous Cultural Park

  1. Ishmael Ahab says:

    The aborigines of Taiwan. I read in an article in Newsweek that some of the natives of Formosa complained when Chang Kai Shek drived them out of their homes when he set-up his government there when Mao took over the whole China.

    It is good that the Taiwanese Government is recognizing them.

    • I agree with you Ishmael, it’s really nice that the Taiwanese government is recognizing them. Actually, totoo yung nabasa mo sa article madami talaga silang naranasan na conflicts nung sinakop sila ni Chang Kai Shek. I was really surprised to find out that the original inhabitants of the island were genetically related with Austronesian like us. Kaya napagkamalan din nilang aborigine yung kuya ko. hehe. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  2. AJ says:

    Interesting! I’d definitely want to visit this place when I have the chance to go to Taiwan!

    I wonder if there are close similarities between the indigenous Taiwanese culture and the Ivatan culture in Batanes. They’re just a swim away after all.

    • Hi AJ! Thanks for dropping by🙂 Yeah, I’m also thinking of the same thing. I’m also wondering if there’s a relation between the aborigines in Southern Taiwan and the Ivatans in Batanes. Their locations and close indeed and I noticed that the houses of Taiwanese aborigines were also made of stones. Somehow similar with the houses of the Ivatans.

      I really hope you can visit Taiwan someday. It’s such a wonderful country🙂

      • Actually the Tao, an aboriginal Taiwanese tribe in a small island of Taiwan, their language is classified under the Ivatan language group. Also it’s interesting that they use Tao to call themselves as in prehispanic Philippines, the Tagalogs only used the term for those within their tribe or clan, we didn’t call the Bisayans Tao or other groups not part of the clan. I wish we could do nation-wide testing, starting from Luzon downwards so we can link Austronesians closer together, especially with the Taiwanese aborigines. I wish our government promoted Prehispanic Filipino culture that we can boast about. We need to focus on this past so we can reclaim some true Filipino Pride, not the flimsy one we throw around these days.

  3. Mark says:

    I loved Taiwan. Visited Taroko Gorge and stayed at the Leader Village Hotel. Its design is inspired by the architecture of the local aboriginal tribes . It’s staffed by young aboriginal people. They hold a festival there every year , I hope to attend one day.

    • Hi Mark! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed Taiwan. I loved Taiwan too. It’s a place that I would love to visit once again. I haven’t been to Taroko Gorge yet but I have heard lots of good stuffs about it. I wanna visit it the next time I come to Taiwan. Thanks for sharing about it and thanks so much for stopping by!🙂

  4. i have to contact you soon as i will be heading to taiwan early next month. it’s not a long trip but i plan to maximize each day of my stay. i am keen of getting out taipei and looking forward to nature trips and getting the real deal of how the people live. of course, taroko gorge is def on my list. other than that, i’m planning on going to keelung for one night and maybe heading to a day trip somewhere like maybe sun, moon lake. can you give me advice?

    • Wow, I’m really delighted to hear that you’re going to Taiwan soon. I’m sure you won’t regret it because Taiwan is a wonderful country filled with rich culture and friendly people 🙂 I will send you an email about Taiwan soon so that I could give you a more detailed advice. I’m really excited about your trip to Taiwan!🙂

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  6. Daniel says:

    Thank you for this blog it is very informative .

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