Discover Taitung> Taitung Times >2021 Vol 03 Taitung Times
Taitung, The Most Welcome Regions on Earth Revealed by Amidst a year of uncertainty and untold challenges, 2020 proved the world is still a friendly place. To celebrate the spirit of hospitality, wanted to give the “Traveler Review Award 2021,” to cities that were particularly welcoming. These awards were given to places that received the most votes from users. Taitung topped the list, and is now officially the “The Most Welcoming Destination on Earth.” The number of travelers to Taitung in 2020 reached 10 million, which reflects a growth of over 25 percent. 
Taitung, a quaint county nestled between the mountains and the ocean, is located on the east coast of Taiwan. April Yao, Magistrate of the Taitung County Government, is committed to protecting Taitung’s natural beauty. She wants to foster the idea of “Balancing Fast and Slow” to enrich the lives of everyone while preserving local ecosystems. 
For Yao, “Fast” means having an efficient government and access to essential services. “Slow” means being able to live a leisurely and meaningful life. Through this, Taitung has cultivated a unique atmosphere based on Yao’s concept of “Authenticity, Friendliness and Beauty” The people of Taitung are mindful consumers, respect nature, and welcome people of all backgrounds. The award affirms that Taitung is a place where people can fully relax and feel welcome. 
	Taitung has also been pushing for sustainable tourism in recent years. The County Government has been promoting Taitung's slow pace of life, captivating scenery, and its warm and friendly people. Taitung’s diverse indigenous cultures inspire travelers time and time again. The indigenous tribes of Taitung are each known for their long-lasting traditions that contribute to the region’s diversity. Through tribal experiencing travel and working holiday, travelers are able to learn and gain the traditional wisdom by connecting with local people. Taitung also holds well-known global events, such as the Hot Air Balloon Festival and the Taiwan Open of Surfing. These events are broadcast all over the world through the internet. Now, our friends from abroad can join in on the fun wherever they are.
	Taitung’s brand of sustainable tourism is especially relevant during the current pandemic. People around the world are reconsidering what’s important and starting to value more sustainable lifestyles. We’d like to thank for sharing our vision of slow living with the world. Taitung always warmly welcomes you to “the Most Welcoming Place on Earth.
Good Turnout for Turnips

In Guanshan, an idyllic township outside of Taitung City, the rhythm of the four seasons marks the flow of time. Every November, the fields here turn a deep yellow as farmers prepare for yet another rice harvest.  
	Over the years, Guanshan has become famous around Taiwan for its fluffy white rice. 
However, the Hakka people of Guanshan are adept farmers that understand the value of crop rotation. 
After the November harvest every year, farmers plant turnips to utilize the otherwise fallow land. This cycle of rice and turnip farming is now deeply embedded in Guanshan’s local culture.
	Therefore, in 2012, the local government started holding the Guanshan Turnip Festival every year. At the event, residents get a chance to showcase local agriculture and celebrate Hakka culture. This year, the festival once again brought turnip enthusiasts of all ages together to get in touch with how food is grown and harvested. 
The first part of the event let participants put on some gloves and pick turnips to their heart’s content. In the afternoon, the venue changed and featured an expo of Hakka song, dance and cuisine. 
	The Hakka are an anomaly in terms of Chinese ethnicities. Most Chinese ethnic groups are identified by region. Similar to the Jews, Hakka people are defined through common language, tradition and cuisine. World War II brought the Hakka diaspora to Guanshan. Now, they make up the majority of the residents here.
	Hakka in Chinese means “guest,” and have a long history of movement and migration. The resilience bred of being on the move has given rise to a robust pickling culture.
	The Hakka’s pickling tradition continues at Taiwan’s only “Radish Bank” in Guanshan. The bank showcases pickled radish known as “Black Gold.” Usually preserved for over 15 years, this traditional cough remedy is sometimes worth more than actual gold. 
	The Hakka of Guanshan are proud of their local culture and welcome visitors here anytime of the year. Make sure to come by next year for the Guanshan Turnip Festival and experience country living at its slowest.
Suger Apple
			Winter is always sweet in Taitung. As January rolls around, street-side vendors around the county fill up with delicious sugar apples. 
	The sheer amount of choice between the 10 varieties might overwhelm a sugar apple newbie. As a rule of thumb, this green and lumpy fruit is ripe when the ridges in-between its bumpy surface turn slightly yellow. If it has a pleasant give when gently squeezed, then its creamy white flesh is ready to eat.
Sugar apples are now synonymous with Taitung. However, they are actually native to the Americas. The Dutch brought them to Taiwan over 400 years ago. Sugar apples have taken perfectly to hot summers and temperate winters of Taitung. And as of 2021, Taitung remains the world’s largest producer. 
	Sugar apple season starts in November and peaks around January. During winter, they are cheap and easy to find. After your first bite, you might want to buy the whole store. However, try to contain your excitement and shop prudently. Sugar apples go bad after just a few days. 
	Therefore, Taitung exports around 95 percent of all its sugar apples to China. Relying so heavily on exports makes this US $28 million industry very delicate. Shipping containers and buyers need to be set up before they are harvested. 
Normally, freshly picked sugar apples make it to China easily. However, the COVID-19 epidemic has made shipping times highly unpredictable. Farmers fear they will be left with fruit sitting on the tree without a buyer, or more disappointing, rotting in a container somewhere without a boat.
In some ways, this is good for Taiwanese consumers. It’s been hard for Taiwanese outside of Taitung to buy sugar apples in the past. With shipping to China impacted by COVID-19, the Taitung County Government has been working hard to promote this natural delicacy domestically. 
Sugar apples keep growing through hard times. The whole community always rallies together to support our local industries. The next time you put a scoop of sugar apple into your fruit salad, milkshake, or yogurt try to think of everyone behind that creamy bite of bliss.

Upcoming Events
・Flying Fish Season at Orchid Island
・The Hakka Tung Blossom Festival
・8th Luye Marathon (canceled)
・2021 Challenge Taiwan
・Ear-Shooting Festival (Malahodaigian Ritual)
・National Traditional Archery Competition
・Sanxiantai Night Tour
・Xiaoyeliu Night Tour
・2021 King Kong Marathon
・Green Island Endurance Swimming Challenge

* PLEASE NOTE: Event dates are subject to change or cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please also refer to the websites of specific events for more information