Taitung Times 08.2022
Digital Nomadism and Taitung
With COVID behind us, the world emerges embracing work-from-home culture. Millennials are moving out of cities to reduce living costs, and digital nomads are becoming commonplace. Young people are yearning for a better work-life balance through the new norm of remote working driving demand for accommodations. A digital nomad hub, or village, is a place where like-minded digital nomads congregate, live, and work.

In our very own Taitung, Taiwan, the past two past years, efforts were made to establish a digital nomad village. Through the help of local partners and funding from the central government, the investigation, and planning of our very own digital nomad village is excitingly ongoing. 

A 2021 feedback report of digital nomads visiting Taitung County mentioned that three of the biggest barriers to visiting Taitung County were internet access, transportation, and language accessibility. 

Since 2020, Taitung County has upgraded and expanded its free Wi-Fi hotspot network, TTFREE. It provides coverage for most of Taitung City, as well as popular hotspots for tourists. Free public Wi-Fi is available in a multitude of areas of interest, this is sure to entice prospective digital nomads to pay Taitung a visit.

In fact, it is the exact inconvenience of infrequent trips of public transit in Taitung that promote a better work and life—getting out and about is an adventure in itself: go for a ride with TTGO pick-up and transport service in or around the Taitung-Hualien area? Or, travel alongside the widened roads of the South Link making travel between Taitung and the east coast safer and faster? The choice is yours; creating ever-lasting memories of Taitung.

Concerning language accessibility, there have been, and continue to be, long-term programs in place, to make Taitung ready for English-speakers. For example, English training of industry operators, as well as specially selected tour guides, introducing Taitung’s finest activities such as Chishang’s Apiary, Lisong Hot Springs, or Standing Up Paddleboarding in Dulan. It’s no wonder why Taitung County has been awarded the most welcoming city and destination for the past three years straight by Booking.com. 

The concept of digital nomad villages is still very new to the world. Taitung is trying to navigate this new trend in efforts to expand its opportunities in art, education, and tech fields. The Taitung County Government has a goal of providing the tools, services, and equipment required to satisfy the needs of the remote worker both in the public and private sector. Currently, there is an ongoing house renovation projection in Dawu that aims to welcome remote workers with properly outfitted accommodations. The Dawu Township Youth Association building will also act as co-working space in the future.

In the private sector, Taitung City has Norden Ruder. A once old-abandoned hotel-turned-to-communal-coworking-space is now equipped with a co-working space, meeting space, and kitchen—all of which is open for public use, free-of-charge. The hostel has recently begun offering discount long-stay packages for digital nomads thanks to Taiwanese NPO, Crossroads, which, aside from the library and cafes, expands the number of access points for remote workers in the Taitung City area.

Crossroads is also underway establishing Taitung City as part of its digital nomad hub launchpad project. The project connects local resources, services, and partners for digital nomads to not only more easily navigate the county, but also establish meaningful cultural and professional exchange with local communities. 

Whether a digital nomad wants to swing by the already well-established ex-pat community of the East Coast townships, set off to new TTFREE destinations, or wait and see what form the local government’s plan to expand its digital infrastructure takes, the future for digital nomads coming to Taitung looks bright.

Despite the rite’s esoteric nature, locals, for the most part, abided by the abstinence and other beliefs as to not interfere with the cleansing of the soul. It should be noted here that it was not mandated to abide by the Taoist guidelines; yet, many restaurants, night market stalls, even the tourist-favorite fried chicken joint, Blue Dragonfly, closed up shop for three days out of respect for this once-per-decade ritual. Butchers did one better and closed shop for an entire week before the rite began. September 22 to September 24, for three days it was a common sight to see a notice plastered on the front doors of many food operators citing the ceremony as reason to temporarily suspend business operations.

What then for Taitung’s carnivores? Thanks to the selfless actions of several local temples, businesses and associations with their volunteers, several vegetarian friendly pop-up stall locations were made available over the weekend serving vegetable curry noodles to fried rice. The lines created were so long that Taiwanese media was quick to cover it. Such long lines in Taitung are unprecedented and unexpected, especially for those who were visiting out-of-town. Restaurants and convenience stores were also reported to have temporarily changed their menu to compensate for temporary city-wide meat abstinence.

Leading up to the ceremony, Taitung was hit by two consecutive days of catastrophic earthquakes on September 18 and 19. One of which, 7.2 in magnitude, was the biggest earthquake to hit Taitung in the last 60 years—and this is just happening right as a 3-year global pandemic starts to wind down. Fortunately, there was no massive casualties, but we cannot let our guard down. Events like these soften people's hearts and give them the strength to move forward into the future in a more positive way. Now, let's pray for peace and stability in Taitung and around the world—pray to the Gods together. 

Consultant Corner—How to Plan
for a Festive Holiday in Taitung
It’s that time of year again. Neck deep into Fall. Halloween is in our rearview mirror. Thanksgiving and Christmas are rapidly approaching. Do you have the means to satiate your holiday appetite in Taitung? Carry on reader, I got your back. Welcome back to Consultant Corner. Christmas edition.

The holiday season for many of us is a time spent with loved ones, happiness, and great food. Taitung is my second home, where I wish to celebrate as I did in my first home; nevertheless, I can’t help but remember the holiday joy and festivities of my first home—homesickness, at its finest. 

My remedy for this ailment of the heart is food. Yes, you heard me correctly, food. Less of inventing a teleportation apparatus that makes world-wide travel instantaneous, we’re gonna have to settle for our tummies filled with a glorious festive meal to remember those back home. 

My Mother would bake a large stuffed chicken and set our dining table with potatoes, pie, and more veggies than you knew what to do with. And as it turns out, most staples of a U.S. festival holiday meal can be gathered right here in Taitung, albeit with a bit of forward planning.

Vegetables are probably the easiest to source. Whether you decide to shop local at a traditional market or decide to use PX-Mart, Carrefour, or the newly opened RT-Mart supermarket downtown, you can’t really go wrong. They all sell potatoes, carrots, broccoli and the sort. With little-to-no price disparity between grocery locations, just follow where your heart takes you.

You want a stuffed chicken? I personally say look no further than Roast Roast Chicken (炙燒烤雞). A little unassuming house off of Qiangguo Road, offers the best baked chicken Taitung offers. Ring them up, give them a date and time and get ready to eat a delicious chicken that is on par with one Mom baked for you at home—minus, of course, the infusion of motherly love! Vegetables. Check. Meat. Check. Dessert... is a bit more complicated.

Pie isn’t readily available in Taiwan, yet alone Taitung. If pie is a must, check out JohnJohn’s Kitchen or Sweet Night Kitchen. For our British readers in need of a Dundee Cake fix, look no further than Bamboo Bakery Taiwan in Chenggong. French readers wanting their festive Bûche de Noël (Yule Log Cake) head on down to Trianon Bakery right here in Taitung City. My personal one stop shop for everything dessert—whether it be cookies, pie or cake—is IG@Candle.Dessert. They don’t actually have a physical store location. Everything is ordered online. 

Holiday dinner planning in Taitung is like playing a game of needle in the haystack. Upon first glance you can’t see what you’re looking for, but with enough determination, you’ll eventually find what you’re looking for—hopefully after reading this, it won’t take you half a decade like it did for me! 

Everyone from the Taitung Times team and editorial staff, we would like to say thank you to our readers. We look forward to seeing you next year! Until then; Happy Holidays!

█ █
The Heart of Dawu:
A First for the East Coast
Digital nomads, youth centers and a multi-year highway expansion project, The South Link has been busy with vigorous development recently!

This past September another section of the South Link Highway road expansion project has opened up to traffic. The widening has enabled faster travel between Pingtung and Taitung County by as much as 30 minutes, enticing more and more people to use the highway. 

To answer the need for a robust, feature-rich, large-scale service area along the South Link Highway—The Heart of Dawu rest service area made its grand entrance onto Taitung’s most scenic highway on October 20, marking the first time a rest service area (not to be confused with a rest stop) of this magnitude has been constructed on the east coast.

The scale of this 2-year 400 million NTD project is unprecedented for the east coast. The size and scope of it rivals that of west coast service areas along the Sun Yat-sen Freeway, featuring shopping and resting areas, a plethora of parking spaces for every mode of transportation imaginable, as well as an observation deck on its second level.

Situated near the Dawu Fishing Harbor, the observation has an unbeatable seaview with an eye-catching backdrop of the blue sky and white clouds, emerald mountains behind, and the grand Pacific front and center. The interior boasts an impressive 1850 square meters of indoor space; the aforementioned shopping area includes vendors selling fish produce, local specialties like Donghe Buns, Baifa Abais and three-time champion of the Taipei International Beef Noodle Soup Competition for Best Clear Broth Noodle Soup, A-Niu Beef Noodles. 

The county is already seeing the economic benefits from The Heart of Dawu. As of late-October, there are already 10 vendors who have set up shop inside, and the service area is pulling in approximately $150,000 NTD daily during weekdays and peaking around $300,000 on holidays and weekends. 

The county government hopes the rest service area will attract more tourists to the South Link, further enabling the county to provide more economic opportunities to the tribes through developing its in-depth tribal tourism projects, TTstyle Food events, as well as putting the South Link on the map; a place that will become synonymous with beauty, convenience, and Taiwanese aboriginal culture.

There has never a better time than now to come visit the South Link. Wider roads and the recently constructed Caopu Tunnel make travel along Provincial Highway that much more convenient. A spectacular art exhibit, aboriginal cuisine and in-depth tribal travel itineraries all await you for your visit to the South Link. When you've had enough excitement and fun, remember the Heart of Dawu is standing beside the Pacific just for you.

█ █ █

Upcoming Events

  • Loving 197 East Coast Bike Race
  • Cape Café Xmas Market
  • Countdown to the New Year Celebration at Seashore Park
  • See First Sunrise of the Year in Taimali
©Taitung County Government 2022