Yuli, Hualien (1) Written and photographed/Hsieh Chung Li

Like most of Hakka who migrated to the east from the west, Hakka in Yuli, Hualien grows rice and tea crops for a living. Hakka from Yuli are less conservative and could coexist alongside the Fukienese and the aborigines. Yuli is famous for its sweet jelly, rural resorts such as Antung hot spring, An-nan rest area of Yu Sun National Park, and Bunun tribal area.

  Located in the serene Yuli Town are two historic places of wordship, Tsue Tien Temple and Yu Chuan Temple, which visitors should make time for. Tsue Tien Temple is also known as Kwan Di Temple, which holds a significant position in the beliefs of the Hakka and the Fukienese. The origin of Kwan Di Temple can be traced all the way back to Wu Kwong Liang in Qing dynasty who first explore the ancient path of Pa Tung Gate, also known as the “Middle Way”. This ancient path is stretched from the west to Pu-Shi-Ge, the ancient name for Yuli. The harsh living conditions of the pioneers prompted early settlers to build Tsue Tien Temple for spiritual solace. An ancient lantern with Chinese characters “safeguard of the mountain” still hangs in the temple.

  Bodhisattva is the main deity of Yu Chuan Temple. The temple does not look particularly impressive but the osmanthus in the temple emit a sweet fragrance making the temple especially tranquil. Should one follows the stairway upward to the back of the mountain, they will catch a panoramic view of the entire Yuli region and adjacent coastline.

  As one looks west from the city of Yuli to the west, the An-nan rest area of Yu Sun National Park is an excellent spot to study the ecology of Yu Sun and An-nan area. An-nan Waterfall, located deep in the mountain, is a good hiking site. The fall is about 50 meters high and it pours down into the Kulaku River. The river is refreshing and green. Hiking enthusiasts can walk along the Walami Path to Pa Tung Gate. To complete the climb, one should be ready to spend at least a night in the mountain.

  The plain of Yuli lies along the larger eastern river – the Tsioe Gu Lwuen river. Visitors can take in the beautiful view of the river from Yuli Town to Kao Liao. As one moves from Yuli town to the east, one can come to the Yuli Bridge lying across Tsioe Gu Lwuen Creek. To the left, after crossing the bridge and turning north is No. 159 county highway (A). A wide reclaimed land sits on the left while the high-rising coastline is on the right. The road is parallel to the No. 9 provincial highway. The light traffic means cyclists will definitely enjoy the ride along this tranquil stretch.

  Visitors can cycle on country and field tracks to experience the vast outdoor. The golden paddy fields, the budding jin chenhua on the hill sides and the serene river exudes with quiet vitality of mother nature.

  If one turns north before Tefeng Bridge, stops by Pinding Bridge and crosses Kao Liao Bridge, and then turns left to the west connecting to Kao Liao Big Bridge which last as long as one kilometer long. One can see afar along the south-north riverbed that transverses the ridge, it reveals another kind of scenery. The locals catch fishes with nets along the river.