Baihe (白河) is located at the most northern end of Tainan and is one of Tainan’s earliest developed settlements; its old name was “Dian-zai-kou (店仔口)” meaning “myriad store fronts” in Taiwanese. During the period of Japanese rule, as the Baishui River passing through brings milky white color from limestone, the new name “Baihe” was therefore given.
Tainan’s Flower Appreciating Sacred Land: Flourishing Blossoms of Lotus, Kapok Tree, Cherry Blossom, and Orchid
Baihe has had the tradition of planting lotus since the very early days, and now it has turned into Taiwan’s largest production site for lotus. Starting every April and May, splendid lotus flowers would bloom amidst the lush green leaves, attracting visitors to appreciate the flowers while enjoying a feast of dishes made with lotus and experiencing lotus picking events. (Read more: Blossoming Flowers: The Must-See Taipei Flower Festivals)
The most beautiful time to see Baihe’s lotus would be in the morning; amidst the misty fogs of the early day. Lotus’ carmine petals would usually be slowly blooming following the sunrise. As the sun reaches high in the sky, the lotus would then gradually close up and come to a complete closure by noon. Each lotus bud would usually bloom for two to three days, then the petals would slowly fall off, and seedpods filled with lotus seeds would subsequently be shown.
Between June and July is the harvest season for lotus seeds. Lotus farmers all over Baihe come out to pluck the seedpods and peel them by hand to take out the lotus seeds. Then, they would need to pick out the lotus plumules in each seed to avoid the seeds releasing their bitterness while being cooked later on.
In addition to the blooming lotus during summertime, there are all kinds of flowers and trees exhibiting their most vibrant colors and natural beauty almost all year round in Baihe. Every March, flaming orange colors would spread all over Kapok Road in Linchupi (林初埤); and quickstick flowers by Jiangjunpi Wetland (將軍埤濕地) would also bring signs of pink spring to Baihe at the same time. In April, there are waterfalls of noble dendrobium seen dangling in Biantou – their elegant flowers in tender pink colors swaying in the air. When it comes to May and June, lotus would appear in the morning, and golden shower trees along the streets of Baihe would also blossom in vibrant golden bunches. (You might also like: Flower Viewing in Taipei: Three Routes Recommended for Couples, Friends, and Families)
Countryside Marathon: Reinvigorating Guanziling Hot Spring (關子嶺溫泉)
Baihe Business District has been holding marathons since 2019, allowing all participating runners to pass through Baihe’s scenic sights. The route runs deep along countryside pathways, where participants can run amongst the fields over the Jianan Plains. All Baihe residents would come out and enthusiastically cheer the runners on, offering them supplies to show their hospitality.
Baihe Marathon also continues on to major surrounding attractions. On the road, runners would pass by Daxian Temple (大仙寺) and Biyun Temple (碧雲寺), then they would reach Fire and Water Spring and the hot spring area in Guanziling. After coming down the mountains, they circle around all communities within the Baihe District.
After finishing the marathon, runners enjoy Taiwan’s only mud hot spring in Baihe’s famous Guanziling Hot Spring area. The hot spring water is enriched with numerous kinds of minerals and elements, including radium that is known to help the body remove fatigue. The hot spring also benefits the skin, making it more tender, soft, and giving it a healthy glow. (Read more: Ringing in Taiwan’s Hot Spring Season in Guanziling, Tainan)
Managed by Returning Young Farmers – Experience Farming in Baihe, Tainan
In Baihe, there is also a group of young returning farmers, and their common goal is for more people to learn about the land and agriculture, and for them to understand where the food they eat in their daily lives comes from. So, they created the brand called “A Group of Farmers”, producing and selling food by themselves and organizing experience-focused events that incorporate food and agriculture education, as they hope to establish a friendly interactive relationship between producers and consumers.
Founder of “A Group of Farmers (一群農夫)”, Wei Tsung-chi (魏宗淇), who used to be a teacher in Taipei, returned to his hometown Baihe nearly ten years ago. He came back to work alongside his father to inherit the job of farming the family land that has been passed down for more than two hundred years. Wei also applied his original teaching profession and created all kinds of fun educational farm activities at his family’s own “Jiangjun Shan Farm (將軍山農場)”, which offers various kinds of experience-focused activities for the corresponding seasons, such as fruit picking, cooking with an earth oven, making rice byproducts, and more. A big traditional stove is also built, in addition to setting up the earth oven on the farmland, which is used to cook old-time cuisines using visitors’ self-picked produce. All tourists are welcome to participate and experience these activities.
Next time you come visit Tainan, don’t forget to leave some time to wander around Baihe. Come here during spring and summer to appreciate the flowers and pick some lotus, and during fall and winter, come and enjoy a hot spring bath and some fruit picking.
Words by Yining Chen;
Edited by Adam Hopkins;
Photos by Chiu Chia-hua
（This article is reproduced under the permission of MySaiology. Original content can be found at the website of MySaiology.)