© Tourism Bureau (Photo credit: Chen Jin-jin) Luye Township is located in the central part of Taitung County, Taiwan. Currently, the total population is about 8,000, with Minnan comprising 40%, Hakka 30%, plains indigenous people 20%, and other groups 10%. The ethnic groups living in Luye are diverse and each has its own culture. Luye Township has jurisdiction over seven villages, including Luye, Longtian, Yong'an, Ruilong, Ruiyuan, Ruihe and Ruifeng. About 70% of the residents work in the agricultural sector. It’s a typical agricultural township. Wuling Green Tunnel | 武陵綠色隧道 Wuling Green Tunnel is located on the Wuling section of the Taiwan No. 9 Route and is nowadays called “Yongling Road.” It’s about 4.5 kilometers in length. This section of road is lined with eucalyptus trees and dense forests of Casuarina equisetifolia, as well as many Terminalia trees on both sides of the road, helping it maintain a feeling of nature and ecological significance. Visitors can ride a bicycle through the road, enjoy a tour of the charming greenery and breathe in the clean air from the eucalyptus trees, as well as some Casuarina and Terminalia trees. There are very few people and vehicles on this section of road on weekdays, so one of the most special activities to do here is to lie on the tree-lined road and watch the sun penetrate the leaves and experience a very different feeling from being in the city. Here you can slow down your pace, relax and be at one with nature; or you can ride a bike along the tree-lined ambience to admire the beauty of the blue sky, mountains and savor the fragrance from the green tea farms beside the road. Hot air balloons © Tourism Bureau (Photo credit: Liu Yu-hong) Luye Plateau is a highland on the north side of Longtian, about 350 meters above sea level. Due to its special geographical conditions, it is an excellent natural site for air activities. The hot air balloon setting off area is located in the center of Luye Plateau. Since the beginning of 2011, the Taiwan International Balloon Festival has been held every year here from the end of June to the beginning of September. Hot air balloon performances in the early morning and early evening are the climaxes of each day’s activities. When the colorful hot air balloons with pilots from various countries inside take off into the air, they fill the Taitung sky with a youthful and warm atmosphere in the summer. This is also a popular venue for grass skiing, when there is no hot air balloon activity being held. Luye Plateau Tourism Tea Garden | 鹿野高台觀光茶園 © Tourism Bureau (Photo credit: East Rift Valley National Scenic Area) The Luye Plateau Tourism Tea Garden is located in Longtian Village and Yongan Village. It is an early tea development area in Taitung County. Due to the climatic factors that create the characteristics of “early spring and late winter,” coupled with good drainage on the hillside, it is a very suitable area for planting tea. The plateau stands out on the plains of the East Rift Valley of the East China Sea, so the Luye Plateau Tea Garden offers an excellent view. There is a viewing pavilion at the highest point of the tea garden. You can enjoy views of the beautiful green tea plantations nearby, and you can also look out over the farmland on the upper reaches of the Longtian River in the East Rift Valley. You can also see the vast Luyi River and Beinan Creek intersection. The scenery is quite beautiful. Luye tea plantation produces Qingxin Oolong tea, Jincha tea (Taicha No. 12), Cuiyu tea (Taicha No. 13) and a small amount of bergamot tea, Wuyi tea, and Four Seasons Spring tea, which are all well-known in the market. Yongan Yulongquan Trail | 永安玉龍泉步道 Yulongquan or “Jade Dragon Spring” is an important wild brook in the Yong'an community. After thousands of years of erosion, it has cut out a small canyon from the Yong'an tableland. Under the rich water moisture, it has formed a natural tropical broad-leaved secondary forest. It is rich in ecology and forestry. The local people regard it as "Lingquan" or Spirit Spring. Every year at midday during the Dragon Boat Festival, all the nearby villagers will gather to take afternoon water from the spring; it’s become one of the local customs in Luye Township. The Yulongquan Ecological Trail has a total length of 1,100 meters and is divided into three major sections. It takes approximately 30 minutes to walk the ecological trail without stopping. The entire walk is very cool as the trail is located between the mountains and amid a forest. The forest is rich in flora and water resources. The stream is clear, nurturing the natural ecology. Butterflies can be seen flying around, and in the bamboo forest beside the trail, you can find 20 to 30 species of birds, such as Aconitum, Embroidered Eyes, Red-billed Blackbirds, and Five-colored Birds. Shallow water flows along the mountain wall. Water mustard flourish in this clean natural environment. Under the protection of water mustard, tree frogs, crabs and freshwater prawn can be seen. Many kinds of crabs and frogs live in this habitat, and the dominant ethnic group is the dual-colored crab. In addition, there are other species of crabs, including Gamazawa crab, Tsoi-zaki crab, Lachschin cress gray crabs, and many species of frogs, including white frogs, brown tree frogs, and red frogs, as well as black frogs, Japanese tree frogs and so on. The Yulongquan Ecological Trail has a water platform. There are various landscapes and ecological pools made according to traditional methods. You can rest and enjoy the rich natural ecology at a close distance. There are also seats along the way for you to rest. After walking down the steps on the trail, you will arrive at the Plateau Tourism Tea Garden. At the end of the trail is the “Mingpu” large-scale viewing pavilion set up by the Rift Valley Scenic Area Administration. You can enjoy the scenery of the Rift Valley from here.