Luye, Taidung (3) Casual bicycle tour of Longtian Village/Written and photographed/Hsieh Chung Li

The eastern vertical valley is an important township for Hakka immigrants after Taiwan was recovered from the Japanese occupation. Many Hakka inhabitants settled in Luye of Taidung. At the foot of the Luye highland, there is the simple and humble Longtian Village, a very conducive place for bicycle ride. Longtian Village is surrounded by rural scenic spots with tranquil and serene environment. The village itself is quite a sight in itself. Therefore, cycling is therefore ideal for one to browse through this pristine outpost and its surroundings.

  Located in the second stage of the river, Longtian Village is located on a wide hinterland and command a fabulous view of Peinan and Luye Creeks. The two streams form natural moat to protect the village. To the back of Longtian are the insurmountable Luye highland and Central Ridge, which make it a strategic spot for easy defense. Therefore, as early as in the Japanese occupation period, the 74,000 square meter Longtian was designated as the “Settlement Village.” Though later on the target for Japanese settlement is not met, the comprehensive planning by the Japanese is well preserved, leaving Longtian Village as it is today. Visitors, who have visited Japan, would be impressed with this replica.

  The lanes is well designed in the shape of the Chinese character “well”, while wide roads have helped marked out piece of square residential areas and farming area convenient for cultivation. At the parachute-flying site at Luye highland, one can easily observes the unique and fabulous geographical location of Longtian Village and appreciates the original layout planned by the Japanese.

  The traffic on the main road is light while the juncture between the residential areas and the farming land is a focal point for the villagers. Each road can also be dubbed as “specialized lane for bike” as they are so flat that even children will find it a piece of cake. Furthermore, the view of the village is wide open making it easy to identify the landmarks. It should thus be easy for one to find his way around.

  Cyclists can choose to explore the vast expanse of the fields or have a good chat with the simple tea farmers. To the farming area on the north, there are two east-west horticultural roads which are a “must” for visitors as they are planted with olive tree --“County Tree of Taidung,” which extends along the road like a green tunnel, an extraordinary sight to behold.

  The land of Longtian is wide and sparsely populated. Aside from cultivating tea, they also grow pineapple, papaya, loquat, shakya as well as chicken farming. Longtian promises to be a great place for city dwellers to recapture the essence of the countryside.