Learning the Aboriginal Tribe in Taiwan
Taiwan is home to 14 aboriginal tribes who have settled about 10.000 years before the arrival of Han people from China in the 17th century. Taiwan is believed to be the origin of Austronesian tribes and Taiwanese aboriginals share the same linguistic and cultural traits with other Austronesians such as tribes living in the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia and New Zealand. However, indigenous people in Taiwan now take up only 2 percent of Taiwan’s 22 million populations. As the number shrinking, many official and private organizations are making efforts to cherish and cultivate the tribal culture by developing and promoting it to the world.
There are a lot of indigenous culture centers where you can visit and experience unique indigenous cultures. One of the attractions we visited is Bunun Tribe Cultural Park located in Taitung. Bunun or Bunong tribe mostly occupies Taiwan’s central mountain areas. Bunun tribe is Taiwan’s fourth largest indigenous group with more than 40.000 populations. One special feature of Bunun people is they are well-known for their beautiful voices.
In this cultural park, they offer cultural performances, DIY or art classes, archery practice for kids, souvenir shops, coffee shops, restaurant, hostels and leisure farm. The admission fee is NT$150 and you can buy the ticket directly without any reservation. NT$100 coupon is included and you can use it for any art activities or any purchase inside the shops and restaurant. Upon entering the cultural park, there are re-creations of traditional rooms with wood hand-crafted furniture inside. Some DIY activities people can join are leather craft class, weaving class, handmade soap class with additional material fee of NT$200. For kids who are interested in performing arts, they can take part in children singing class and dancing class which cost NT$1.600/hour.
Enjoying the Cultural Entertainment
The cultural performances are held twice a day at 10.30 a.m. and 2 p.m for 40 minutes on weekend and 30 minutes on weekday. However, if there are less than 30 visitors on that day, there will be no performance. During the performance, the performers (mostly Bunun kids and teenagers) dressed in their colorful traditional costumes will be singing and dancing. There will be a narrator introducing the Bunun people, its tribe and its culture (all in Mandarin J). If you want to know more about Bunun tribe, this cultural park also offers guided history and culture program for free. It lasts for 30 minutes available every 9 a.m. and 15.30 p.m. But don’t forget to make a phone reservation in advance!
While waiting for the performance to start, you can walk around the park. We suggest visiting the coffee shop with ethnic concept where you can enjoy your coffee, sitting outdoor with refreshing green scenery. On the other side of the coffee shop, there is a souvenir shop selling Bunun people’s handmade crafts such as traditional clothes, bags, wallets, hand-woven curtains, key chains, CD albums, and snacks. You may think most of the goods are out of your budget, but remember, when you spend money buying their crafts, it equals to helping Bunun people’s economy development.
How to get there: We went to the cultural park by taxi and it cost around NT$600/one way. The location is a little bit far from the city and it takes around 30 to 45 minutes by car. Actually you can take public bus but you will need to walk for another 20 minutes to get to the exact location. So we recommend taking taxi or riding motorcycle if you want to save more time and energy. If you take taxi, don’t forget to make appointment with your driver to take you back to the city since there will be no taxi or public transportation nearby.
Bunun Tribe Cultural Park
Opening Hours : 07.00-22.00
Admission Fee : NT$150
Telephone : 089-561211
Address : No. 191,Neighborhood 11,Taoyuan Village,Yanping Township, Taitung County, Taiwan
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : http://www.bunun.org.tw/tw/index.asp?au_id=10&sub_id=43