Sandimen Aboriginal Culture Park

Trip Start Jan 18, 2013
Trip End Jan 27, 2013

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Flag of Taiwan  , Taiwan,
Friday, January 25, 2013

Having finished Tainan and Kaohsiung two days ahead of schedule I now had two spare days to fill. My guide book talked about an aboriginal culture park and I hadnt been able to visit the one at Sun Moon Lake due to the expensive cable car and because it was a bit fake and commercial with roller coaster rides. 

However, I now had a spare day to experience an authentic aboriginal culture park outside of Kaohsiung. I had visited the local Thao Tribe when I was visiting Sun Moon Lake, saw their homes and folk dancing, so was looking forward to the opportunity to visit another local tribe. 

The tourist office explained the two step method in reaching the aboriginal park. First I took the local train to Pingtung which cost $48 TWD ($1.60). The train was a short twenty minute ride from 10.40 to 11.01. 

From the train station I walked across to the bus terminal and found the bus for Sandimen which cost $68 TWD ($2.30). This bus took about 40 mins winding thru local communities. I wasnt sure where to get off and kept watching the road signs for the aboriginal park. I seemed to be the only one on the bus heading there


The bus then terminated at the Sandimen terminal so I walked down the main street and followed the turning sign to the aboriginal park. This lead to an uphill road and the main gate to the park

The gate was a giant arch decorated with local art. The side walls leading in had murals of local life and traditional activities. 


It was probably about a km walk from the bus terminal all uphill to the park actual entrance. Ticket price was $150 TWD ($5) and heading here I thought the park might be closed since nobody else was going there. Fortunately at the car park I saw some cars and another family


After the main entrance is an exhibition hall showing traditional life, costumes, and local crafts. No photos were allowed but I took some. 




It wasnt just for one local tribe but was showing many of the different indigenous peoples of Taiwan. There was an interesting carved table where the chairs were made to look like different people


There were also examples of many of the different types of local costumes




Leaving the entrance exhibition hall the actual park is spread over several kms. There are three main areas you can walk to or take the park bus. I tried walking not realizing how big the park was. 

In two instances you have to cross a suspension bridge over valleys to get further into the park. The bridges were decorated with local art



The park bus stop waiting areas also decoratively displayed local art. 


I wasnt sure if I made the right decision coming. My book talked about bus loads of local tourists but I seemed to be the only one here. It seemed off season and perhaps most places will be shut. 


Eventually I made it to the different settlement communities. These were divided over the park into all the different tribes of Taiwan. I had thought this park was just for one local tribe. 

In one house they had some artisans making local art. Perhaps this is for sale in busy season


There were many styles of architecture for each tribe. Some were straw homes, others were made from local stones with bark roofs. 

Some tribes had wood carvings around the doorway and upper wall border


It was a good job I had a drink and snack as there were no food stores or vending machines over the large complex



I planned my route to finish at the performance arena rather than heading there first. My book said there was an 11am and 3pm show daily. I was trying to time my arrival for the show rather than have to walk back there again. 

I was doubting it would happen since the park seemed mostly deserted, I was considering going back home, but when I got there one of the locals in costume told me to come back at 2.30. 

Nearby were large building which housed the restaurant. The restaurants were closed except for one place. 


Next door was another exhibition hall. This housed more local wood crafts along with exhibits of dancing and singing in local costumes. Again no photos were allowed but I took them since nobody was here.  

With some time to rest I waited for the theatre doors to open at 2.30 (see next entry for theatre performance)


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