To bridge or not to bridge, Tamazuan in central Taiwan 台灣部落達瑪巒村
During my recent Christmas break, I visited an indigenous village called Tamazuan in central Taiwan. This was after my 4am Christmas service which finished at 6am, and after I had a nap to recover from my early morning start. I wrote about this unique Christmas experience here.
去年年底到中台灣部落過聖誕。 其中有一天到訪另一個名叫達瑪巒的部落。達瑪巒是布農族土語的名字，中文名是地利。 朋友認識地利村其中一位名叫老虎的長老，那天由他招待我們。 行程第一站，是在老虎的農地採摘新鮮蔬菜。
Tamazuan in central Taiwan
Tamazuan is an indigenous village of the Bunan tribe, similar to the one that I was staying at for the weekend. Tamazuan is the tribal name of the village and its Chinese name, pronounced in English is Dili. My friend knew one of the Dili village leaders, called Tiger, and he hosted us for the day. I ‘m not sure if Tiger is his nickname, or his tribal name, but he was as sweet as a big cat. Our day here started off picking our own vegetable for lunch at Tiger’s farm.
Tǔ shī wān meander
After we finished picking our veggies, Tiger took us to see some of the area’s famous landmarks. Our first stop was a stunning lookout on the roadside of Road 16. Tǔ shī wān lies along the Zhuóshuǐ Stream and is a natural landscape formed over the years. There are many meanders along Zhuóshuǐ Stream and this is the most fascinating one. The water flows downstream from the left, hitting the banks and turns pretty much 90 degrees at a point, before it continues to flow further downstream on the right. I’ve never seen anything like this before, and I think neither have many local Taiwanese. No wonder this is one of the most famous landmarks around the area.
So famous that they are now talking of building a bridge above the meander so visitors can get a better view of it. The younger generation from the tribe are against this idea. According to Tiger, whilst the younger generation can make a decent living working in the city, the elder generation needs some form of additional income. This is a typical situation for the need to achieve a balance between preserving the natural beauty of a village, against providing a livelihood for the locals. Can this ever be achieved?
之後老虎帶我們到附近其中兩個著名景點。第一個是在台16號路邊的土虱灣。這是濁水溪上多個大曲流中其中一個最壯觀的。 大自然的奇觀讓人看得目定口呆。 老虎說有關當局想在土虱灣上建設一道橋，方便遊人觀賞大曲灣。 村中年青一輩不太贊同這個建議，怕會破壞生態環境。但年長一輩卻希望這個方案可以帶動本土經濟， 讓村民生活過得好一點。 看來要在兩者中取得平衡也不容易 。
Double Dragon Rainbow Suspension Bridge
Talking of bridges, our next stop was to the Double Dragon Waterfall and the Shuiyuan Suspension Bridge. It was a short 1.5km walk starting from the side of the road with a group of Bunan villagers dancing and greeting us. The walk started uphill, and the range of mountains on my left accompanied me all the way. Initially it felt quite hard work but I was consumed by the view, and the 1.5km walk took a lot quicker than expected.
建造土虱灣橋還未有定論，老虎帶我們去參觀另一條已建成的吊橋。 雙龍瀑布和水源吊橋是另一個著名景點。 這個點離開路邊約1.5公里， 沿途風景怡人， 走了一會兒就來到吊橋入口。 怎麼前面是一片工地？原來我們要看的是雙龍七彩吊橋， 一條原本要在元旦開的新吊橋 。 我們一行人穿越工地走到吊橋入口， 前面實在太美喔！ 七彩的步道直達前面的雙龍瀑布。 將來吊橋開放了，我看這個 一覽無遺的景色應很難再看到。
When we arrived, this was the scene ahead of us. I’m not sure if we were supposed to enter, but lines are there to be crossed, and that’s what we did. This is the path towards the entrance of the Double Dragon Rainbow Suspension Bridge. Tiger said the bridge is supposed to open in the new year which was in less than 10 days, but we couldn’t see this happening. I saw a guy standing on the top of a podium taking photos of the suspension bridge. That podium is where the suspensions for the bridge terminates.
And here is the bridge ahead. It’s really something right? I loved how they did the rainbow walkway, though I imagine it would be impossible to get this view once the bridge opens. The other end of the bridge leads to the Double Dragon Waterfall, which are those two white dashes you see.
At 342 meters long, and 110 meters drop, the Double Dragon Rainbow Suspension Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in Taiwan. Last year, I went to the Tai Ping Suspension Bridge, that is 281 meters long, and the longest in Taiwan at that time. Technically, since the Double Dragon Rainbow Suspension Bridge isn’t opened yet, the Tai Ping Suspension Bridge can still hold onto this claim, but probably not for much longer.
雙龍七彩吊橋全長342米，離開谷底約110米，是全台最長的吊橋。 去年我去了太平吊橋，它有210米長，是當時全台最長的吊橋。看來這個紀錄快會被雙龍七彩吊橋打破。 七彩吊橋旁邊有另一條較細小的水源吊橋。 它的主要功能是從雙龍瀑布水源，供水到村裏給村民使用，而不開放給公眾遊覽。
Shuiyuan Suspension Bridge
You may notice there’s another suspension bridge to the left. This is the Shuiyuan Suspension Bridge and is for maintenance works. It’s not open to the public, though dare devils have known to cross it. There are two pipes on either side of this bridge that feeds water into the village. Since this isn’t a public bridge, there’s little safety measures other than some cables to grab on, but nothing that will prevent you from falling through!
On the way back down, Tiger took us through another route passing by the streams and irrigation system developed in the 1920’s under the Japanese colony days. The idea was to use the Double Dragon waterfall as the source to help the Bunan tribes to grow their rice crops in the mountains. Later on, this became part of the local hydroelectric system enabling the village to be self-sufficient in power supply.
回程時，老虎帶我們經雙龍布水圳下山。 這個是20年代日治時期的建設，鼓勵原住民種植水稻， 之後更發展為水力發電， 可以為部落提供自給自足的電網。
The rest of my day at Tamazuan in Central Taiwan starts and finishes in the video below. From picking my own veggies at Tiger’s farm in the morning, to having late lunch at his place after our visit to the suspension bridge. But that wasn’t the end of my day, despite a 4 am start. There is more to come which I shall continue to share later on. Stay tuned!