Saturday, May 25, 2024

Tsou Veoveoana Cultural and Creative Park @ Chiayi in Taiwan

There are "16 officially recognized indigenous tribes in Taiwan"; numbering around 500,000, the Tsou is one of them and we shall be knowing slightly more about it as part of the tour package I signed up with last December! 

Arrival at the carpark after an almost two-hour coach ride from Freshfields Hotel at Taichung. The above is the Chukou Visitor Centre, which seems to be separate from the Tsou Veoveoana Cultural and Creative Park.

Whatever the case, the appearance of rolling mountains in the background attracted the attention of my dad, who was excited to finally see some nature and non, man-made scenery.

After a toilet break, it's time to meet up with a local guide from the cultural and creative park. Honestly, I am just following the flow as I didn't read up beforehand, although KK, our tour guide, had given some background.

Essentially, Typhoon Morakot that struck Taiwan on August 8, 2009 had resulted in wiping out 80% of the Tsou villages in the mountain, and the population is now residing in the areas surrounding Tsou Veoveoana Cultural and Creative Park, which was set up to showcase the history and culture of the tribe.

An art piece known as "Blossoms"; with five types of flowers on the sculpture of a deer, it was said to visually represent the season blossoms in Alishan. 

The Tsou tribe had a special predatory relationship with the sika deer; hence, the name of Veoveoana for the park,which is the "Tsou's native term for Sika deer hunting grounds". 

A fun activity - checking out the sika deer park, where we were charmed by the 27 polite deer who would bow before taking the leaves from our hands. Okay, maybe they were just begging for the leaves. 

I was more captivated by minced garlic, the domesticated wild boar for the park! For more photographs of the cutie star, please click here.

Although sika deer park was part of Tsou Veoveoana Cultural and Creative Park, they don't share a common entrance; hence, I was under the impression they were separate attractions. 

See, this is the "other" entrance. 

Entry to the park is free but do note that you would have to purchase a ticket to step into the sika deer park and catch the cultural performance. 

You would know why shortly. 

Reason for the free entry; the retail stores along the short tontone shopping street needed the business! To be fair, they sold local souvenirs that were worth checking out! What I particularly enjoyed were the free samplings of snacks, including dried tomatoes, sold at 120 Taiwan Dollars per pack, that were delish! 

A replica of a Tsou traditional house. It's hardly surprising that most weren't unable to withstand the strong attack from the natural forces of a typhoon! 

Try to spot the larger than life statues dotted around the park! 

Awww, so nice to see these statues of animals seemingly drinking from a pond. Truth was, it represented a beast spring, where hunters would wait nearby, against the wind so that the animals wouldn't catch their scent, and then hunt the animals! The hunting method is known as zonso, spring hunting. 

Let's proceed to catch the performance at Yokeoasu Theatre. 

Two timings a day; 10.20am and 2.50pm. I am guessing it's to catch the busloads of coaches who are on the way to Alishan or back from the national forest. 

Overview of the theatre; almost circus-like with a huge circular stage in the middle. Would there be a lot of performers? It might be quite hard to survive given that there were not many people in the audience. 

Snippets of the performances, which included singing, dancing and narrating of customs and culture in the past. I would be sharing a video that would provide more context to the almost one-hour show. 

It's okay if you don't understand Chinese or their indigenous language; the screens would at times give an English translation. In summary, I didn't quite enjoy the show which was a bit slow and boring. Maybe it's just me as I am hardly a patient person. 

Exiting the theatre. 

Our lunch was settled at the park's resident restaurant; O'mafe Tsou Restaurant. In case you are wondering, there wasn't any deer meat although I managed to rekindle my love for the guomao vegetables! 

Remember that I mentioned that the Tsou villages were resettled to this area? The above is an example of the houses rebuilt for them! Damn, they were modern and huge! 

Video of the cultural show / performance as promised.


梅花一路1-1號, Fanlu Township, 
Chiayi County, Taiwan 

Park Map
As above.

Entrance Fees
Full Ticket - 350 Taiwan Dollars, which comprised of the performance, admission to sika deer park, and a 150 Taiwan Dollar shopping voucher, latter of which we didn't get as our entry should be a special pricing for tour packages.

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