Daylily Flowers at Sixty Stone Mountain (Liushidan Mountain), Taiwan
If you are visiting Taiwan between August to September, do remember to plan a trip to Liushidan Mountain (literally translates to Sixty Stone Mountain) (六十石山). Located North-East of Fuli Village (富里), Liushidan Mountain is situated at an elevation of around 800 meters above sea level. It is perhaps the most well-known for its daylily flowers which bloomed once a year between August and September, covering at least 300 hectares! It is an extremely popular destination for local Taiwanese tourists during the summer holidays but not so much for foreign tourists – probably due to the limited transport available.
(If you read Chinese, you would have realized that the 3rd Chinese character is Shi (石), however, there is another pronunciation for it – Dan (石), hence it’s actually called Liu Shi Dan Shan.)
Alight at Fuli train station and catch a cab to Liushidan Mountain
Our original plan was to take a train down from Hualien train station to Dong Zhu train station and take a taxi there. However, when we reached there, the place was really empty – no taxi was in sight and it was definitely impossible to walk there. Upon inquiry the train conductor, he told us to take the train and alight at Fuli instead, which may be a little further to Liushidan Mountain, but there would be taxis there. So we took a train down and managed to get a cab ride up the mountain (more details at the end of the post).
Deep-fried daylily flower stems and pumpkins for sale
Daylily flowers are known as “Day Flowers” because it only takes one day for a mature bud to blossom. In Chinese, they are known as Golden Needle Flowers (金針花) for their golden stems. The golden stems are edible and we managed to see them being deep-fried, added into soups, stir-fried etc… though personally I felt that they have not much taste at all.
From my research on the Taiwan website, there are 2 stories of how the name Sixty Stone Mountain came about, but I preferred this version: during the Japanese occupation era, it was said that the average paddy field could only yield around forty or fifty dan of millet. (A dan is a unit of dry measure for grain equal to 100 liters). However, in this area, the average paddy field could yield sixty dan of millet, thus giving it the name Liu Shi Dan Mountain (Liu Shi = Sixty).
Daylily flowers are harvested daily and dried for consumption. However, the government had also preserved some of the fields to be left untouched so that we can see fields and fields of daylily flowers. In December, rapeseed is planted, so if you go to Liushidan Mountain in mid-January, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view of golden rapeseed flowers, as seen from here. In other months, you will get to see luscious green fields contrasted against the beautiful blue sky. During these months, there will be lesser tourists, so the place is relatively quieter and more peaceful.
Here are some of the the photos that X has taken that day (details of how-to-get-there are at the end of the post):
Liushidan Shan / Sixty Stone Mountain (六十石山)
|How to get there:||
Accurate as at Aug 2012:Take a train from Hualien train station to Fuli train station (at NT$186 per pax) then take a taxi from there (to and fro at NT$700 for the whole taxi, up to 4 passengers). The taxi fare is paid after the taxi driver fetched you back to Fuli train station.
The taxi price has already been fixed by the taxi drivers there, so it’s really hard to ask them for a discount. We were a little annoyed by the “oligopoly” but there wasn’t much that we can do because otherwise there’s no other way up the mountain! Do remember to obtain the taxi driver’s number so you can call him/her to pick you up, otherwise, agree upon a timing and a pick-up point.
The only way is by foot – have the taxi driver drop you off at the highest point possible so that all you have to do is walk downhill (instead of against gravity).
|What to eat:||
There’s nothing much special there – you can try deep-fried daylily flowers, daylily flowers in soup and pan-fried daylily flowers. Prices are also a little steep due to high influx of tourists there.
|What to bring:||
Essential items like cash, water bottle, sunglasses, hat, umbrella (in case of sudden rain) etc.
The most important item, in my opinion, would be sunscreen. At high altitudes, it is essential to protect our skin from the harmful UV sun rays – the weather may be cooling and windy, but you can still get sunburnt if you don’t protect yourself!
The second most important item – camera! It’d be such a waste if you don’t have your camera to capture all these beautiful views!
|Time needed:||2 to 3 hours|
|What do you get to see:||1) August – September: daylily flowers (most crowded)
2) ~January: rapeseed flowers (not confirmed)
3) Other months: luscious green fields
We lugged our luggage all the way from Hualien to Fuli, and the train conductor at Fuli was really nice to let us leave our luggage with him while we head up to Liushidan Mountain.