Nestled in the Huadong Valley on Taiwan’s east coast, Fenglin Township is an urban settlement and the country’s first “Slow City”. Its name translates as “Phoenix Forest”, which owes to the shape of the Mulan magnolia flowers that once covered much of the area. In addition to its slow-paced lifestyle and sustainable food production, Fenglin Township has strong cultural associations with the Hakka people.
Things to do in Fenglin Township
One of the most popular attractions in Fenglin Township is the Hakka Cultural Museum, which details the history, customs and traditions of Taiwan’s second-largest ethnic group. Learn about their northern Chinese origins and their migration to Taiwan during the late Ming dynasty, with Fenglin the oldest area of settlement in Hualien County.
Adjacent to the Hakka Cultural Museum is Feng Colorful, a natural fabric-dyeing shop run by a team of local women. You can join one of their workshops to learn about the traditional ingredients and methods used in the craft or purchase clothing, purses and stuffed animals to take home as souvenirs.
You can experience Fenglin Township’s slow-living traditions at the Fragrant Grass and the Old Tree, a restaurant occupying an old tobacco-drying shed. It’s partially named after a 100-year-old tree that towers above the property and its surrounding agricultural fields. Locally sourced produce is transformed into delicious Hakka cuisine at the restaurant while peanuts, soybeans and chillies are available for purchase directly from the farmers.
Getting around Fenglin Township
Fenglin Township is a 45-minute drive from Hualien City and an hour from Hualien Airport, which has flights to destinations across Asia. Regular trains connect to the Fenglin railway station and buses travel throughout the township. The centre of Fenglin Township is compact enough to explore on foot.