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Waterfalls WATERFALLSYou can drive up to the first of the five levels of Qingren Valley Waterfall (Q¨angr¨|n P¨′b¨′).
Now onlythe first three levels of it are accessible by a trail.
The next waterfall in the park is Maolin GorgeWaterfall (M¨¤ol¨ang¨3 P¨′b¨′).
As you drive down into Maolin Gorge Valley there is a sign for thewaterfall.
The road was closed at the time of writing but is likely to be reopened by the time youread this.
Road to Dona (Duona) SCENIC AREACounty Rd 132 from Maolin Village to Dona features a number of roadside attractions, includingthe Dona High Suspension Bridge (Du¨- n¨¤ di¨¤oqi¨¢o), the Snake Head mountain (Sh¨|t¨?u Sh¨?n) and theDragon Head mountain (L¨?ngt¨?u Sh¨?n), which are odd-shaped mounds in the river valley.
Dona (Du¨- n¨¤) is a stronghold for Rukai aboriginal culture and stonework.
However, the villagewas damaged by natural disasters and now there?ˉs a mix of traditional shale buildings and makeshift houses.
Sleeping There are guesthouses in Dona charging around NT$1500 a night for a double.
Just walk aroundand you will see them.
De En Gorge Guesthouse HOMESTAY $$(D¨| ¨¥n G¨3 M¨ans¨′; 0989-579 751; http://tw.
yahoo.com/maolin-deengorge; dm/2-person cabin NT$500/2500) Run by afriendly local family that offers good ecotours in English, De En Gorge Guesthouse is the defaultaccommodation in Maolin.
Camping is permitted on the grass bluff (per person NT$200; bringyour own equipment), while the cabins, made of grey stone, offer some modern comfort.
To get to the guesthouse head up C??ounty Rd 13à′2 until yo hu tspe:e/ tshhe psi0g3n9s8 7f6o2r .
Voma/l ley·??÷è?(M¨¤ol¨ang¨3, also Maolin Gorge).
Turn right down a side road and cross the bridge.
When the roadends at a fork, head left and up about 1km.
The first building you see is the guesthouse.
Eating Options for eating are very limited in Maolin.
Little stalls are set up on the main road in MaolinVillage but be aware that these places close early (by 6pm or 7pm).
Information The new visitor information centre ( 9am-5pm) stands where County Rd 132 meets Hwy 27, rightbefore you enter Maolin Village.
It has exhibitions on the region?ˉs topography and stocks a goodbrochure that introduces the butterflies and flora in the valley.
Getting There & Away Maolin can be reached from Meinong via the new Shinwei Bridge (X¨?nw¨¥i D¨¤qi¨¢o), which linksHwys 28 and 27 ¨C a much quicker route than going via Liugui.
You need your own vehicle.consider renting a car or scooter in Kaohsiung or Tainan.
PINGTUNG COUNTY Oddly, Taiwan?ˉs poorest county has some of the country?ˉs best beaches, most fertile farmland,richest fish stocks and balmiest weather.
Also, Pingtung County boasts one of the most exuberantfestivals in Taiwan, the Burning of the Wang Yeh Boats, and there are outdoor pursuits aplenty ¨Cswimming, snorkeling and birding at Kenting National Park, and cycling along the quiet countyroads that roll slowly past calming fields and foothills.
TOP OF CHAPTER Donggang POP 49,097 During the Qing dynasty, Donggang (Tungkang) was one of three main commercial ports in Taiwan, the landing site for the ancestors of millions of modern Taiwanese (in particular theHakka), and a rather prosperous little town.
Today the town of about 50,000 people remains animportant centre for fishing, especially the prized blue-fin tuna and mullet, but its heyday is longgone.
Festivals & Events Burning of the Wang Yeh Boats TAOIST FESTIVAL(www.dbnsa.gov.tw) This is one of Taiwan?ˉs top folk festivals.
It involves inviting gods to earth,feasting them, and then asking them to carry trouble-causing demons and plague away with them ona boat.
In the spectacular conclusion to the festival, the boat is torched to the ground on the beach.
In Donggang, what makes the festival so highly enjoyable is that everyone around you, thefaithful and the spectators, are so taken in by it.
Sublime, dignified, bizarre, entertaining andstirring: the boat burning is all that, and for most people, usually all at once.
The festival is sponsored every three years by the resplendent Donglong Temple (D¨-ngl¨?ng G¨-ng),established in 1706 and long one of the centres of folk faith in southern Taiwan.
The exact datesvary, but the festival always starts on a Saturday and ends on a Friday night (into Saturday morning).
The next boat burning will take place in autumn 2015.
History The origins of boat-burning festivals go back over 1000 years to the Song dynasty and are connected with the Wang Yeh, deities once worshipped for their ability to prevent disease.
The festivals were brought to Taiwan by Fujian immigrants in the 18th and 19th centuries, andhave continued into modern times.
Many southern temples still hold their own small boat burnings,but a greater number have simply merged their traditions with Donglong Temple.
The meaning of boat burnings has changed considerably today, and they are now held as prayersfor peace and stability.
But the dark and solemn plague-expulsion rituals remain central to thefestival.
Knoμμwn officially as the Sacrifice of Peace and T ranquillity for Whtetlco/m/isnhg th1e0 3L9ord6s2 (.
¨£cnogm /Y ¨angw¨¢ngP¨ang¨?n J¨?di¨£n), the festival runs for eight consecutive days.
Most visitors (and you can expect tensof thousands of them) attend the first and last.
The Ceremony Day One (Saturday): Inviting the Gods Around noon a procession leaves Donglong Temple for the beach, where it meets five Wang Yehwho are returning to earth for this year?ˉs festival.
At the beach, spirit mediums (j¨?t¨?ng) write thenames of the quintet in the sand when they sense their arrival.
When the leader of the five WangYeh arrives, his surname is written on a large yellow banner.
Usually the procession doesn?ˉt getback to the temple till late afternoon.
At around 7pm local Donggang leaders carry the Wang Yeh (on sedan chairs) over live coalsbefore they enter Donglong Temple.
Things to watch for on this day include people with paper yokes around their necks.
Square yokesindicate that a wish has been made.
A fish or round yoke means a wish has been fulfilled.
Down at the beach there will be hundreds of other temple representatives with their gods andsedan chairs.
Many will take the chairs into the ocean for a rough, watery blessing.
Painted troupesrepresenting the Soong Jiang Battle Array will also be around, though they usually perform earlier.
Days Two to Seven The Wang Yeh are carried around town on an inspection and are then feasted.
The boat is alsoblessed.
Volunteers parade the boat through town to allow it to collect every bit of misfortune and evil thatit can.
The boat returns to Donglong Temple around 7pm and is loaded with all manner of goods,as if truly going on a voyage.
Between 10pm and 11pm, Taoist priests burn pieces of paper spell and chant in the courtyard.this ritual relieves hundreds of gods and their thousands of foot soldiers from the duties they haveperformed this past week.
After 11pm, watch (and have your camera ready) a priest with a wok,ba gua (Chinese religious motif) symbols, broom, rice sifter and sword as he leads a large groupof priests to dance and perform rituals to direct the demons onto the boat.
Around midnight the leaders of the temple offer the Wang Yeh one last special feast of 108dishes, which include famous traditional palace foods, local snacks, fr
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