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Introduction

Puli (埔里; Pùlǐ) is a town in Nantou County at the geographic centre of Taiwan. Puli was severely damaged in the 1999 earthquake, and although the town has since been rebuilt, there is little in the way of actual tourist attractions. However, the town is located in a very lush and beautiful valley with many hiking trails, and its central position makes it a logical base for visiting the mountains and lakes in the area.

Puli is famous for its four 'W's - water, wine, women and weather. Being located in a pristine mountain area, the local spring water is pure and sweet and sold in bottles at supermarkets around the island. The abundance of fresh, clean water lent itself to the production of wine - the second 'W' - while the exceptionally fine complexions of the town's women folk, which some theorize is the result of the local water, constitutes the third 'W'. Finally, the fourth 'W' refers to Puli's ideal climate, which is characterized by short and relatively dry winters and cool summers.

Possibly as a result of the mild climate, the town has developed into a center for Buddhism. There are large monasteries scattered throughout the valley, while the mountain-sides provide havens for retreat centers and hermitages.

Puli's prosperity is closely related to the nearby famous lake, which you will notice from the modern buildings and cars here.

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Sights and Activities

  • Chung-tai Shan Monastery (Only 4 buses go from Puli, two in the morning, one at noon, and one in the late afternoon.). 33 stories make it possibly the tallest Buddhist monastery in the world, and it is a landmark in the area and quite a sight from a few kilometres apart. Maybe find a hill nearby to fully capture it - it will be hard to put its size onto a picture standing right in front of it. Apparently, locals do not like the monastery too much, because the they demand money/donations for everything. But as a western tourist you should be safe from that. Northeast of it can also be found the related Chung Tai World Museum.
  • Kuanghsing Paper Factory (Guang Xing Paper Mill), 310 Tiehshan Rd, ☎ +886 49913037, e-mail: taiwan.paper@msa.hinet.net. Following ancient methods of production, this factory turns out a variety of hand made paper favored by calligraphers. This factory has a Do-It-Yourself lesson and participants can keep their own work as a souvenir.
  • Lungnan Natural Lacquerware Museum, No. 211-1, Beiping Street, ☎ +886 49982076. A memorial to Puli's historical connection with lacquerware. Demonstrations can be arranged.
  • New Era Sculpture Park (New Era Sculpture Art Spa), Chungshan Road, Sec 4., ☎ +886 49912248. daily 8:00am-5:30pm. This beautiful park acts as stage for the statues created by a famous local sculpture. It is a spa and hotel as well. NT$100.
  • Arboreal Insect Museum, 6-2 Nantsun Rd, ☎ +886 49913311. daily 8:00am-5:20pm. Wonderful variety of butterflies.
  • Carp Lake. A great place to relax and watch clouds melt into green mountains and egrets dance in the cool summer breeze.
  • Paper Dome is a temporary church building constructed using paper tubes as structural elements. It was designed on a pro-bono basis by Shigeru Ban, internationally known Japanese architect who is renowned for his paper tube structures and buildings. It was built on September 17, 1995 to serve as a temporary church for Takatori Catholic Church after the Great Hanshin Earthquake. Nonetheless, the venue was also used as a place for communal gatherings. However, when the church community planned to build a permanent building, the structure was donated to Taomi Village in Puli Township, Nantou County,Taiwan which had suffered the 921 Earthquake in 1999. The deconstructed structure was shipped in 2006 to Taiwan, reconstructed there and is now one of the top tourist attractions in that area.

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Events and Festivals

Buddha Bathing Festival

The Buddha bathing festival takes place on April 8 and is a Buddhist religious ceremony celebrating the birth of the Lord Buddha. The faithful bow three times to the Lord Buddha and then pour water and flowers of a statue of the baby Buddha.

Tomb Sweeping Day

Tomb Sweeping Day usually falls in early April and is a public holiday in Taiwan. Taiwanese people pray and tend to the graves of their departed relatives. Willow branches are used to decorate graves and doors in some areas and the flying of kites, carrying of flowers, and burning of incense, paper and joss sticks is common.

Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival is a June public holiday originating from China that is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. The day is celebrated in Taiwan with dragon boat races, eating glutinous rice dumplings, drinking wine and writing spells.

Autumn Moon Festival

The Moon Festival talks place in late September or early October, on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. The festival celebrates harvest time and is characterized by giving and eating moon cakes. Dragon dances, floating lanterns, fireworks and burning incense are also common.

Ghost Festival

September is Ghost Month in Taiwan with the gates of the underworld opening on the first day and closing on the last. Throughout the month, both Buddhist and Taoist religious rituals take place that include to offerings of food, drink and burnt paper money appease the dead. Many Taiwanese avoid moving house or getting married during this month.

Double Ten Day

Double Ten Day falls on the tenth of October and is the Republic of China National Day, celebrating the start of the Wuching uprising in 1911 that resulted in the defeat of the Qing Dynasty. Proceedings begin with the raising of the Republic of China flag and singing of the Republic of China national anthem. There is a Taiwanese presidential speech and celebrations include lion dances, drumming, and fireworks.

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Getting There

By Bus

Kuo-Kuang Bus Company (國光客運) operates a route between Taipei and Puli (around 3½ hours; every hour, around NT$300). It goes by 1 Chaoma Station south of Feng Jia (Xitun District) in Taichung (NT$125).

Also, from Taichung main railway station you can take Nantou Bus (南投客運) or Chuan Hang bus (around one hour, every 15-20 minutes, NT$125). Nantou Bus also departs from Kan-Cheng Station at Shuang-Shih Road (干城站, 雙十路), and goes to Sun Moon Lake and the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village resort near Puli.

Buses from Sun Moon Lake depart at least hourly during the day and take half an hour for NT$50.

The bus station is in the southeast of the centre. Get off earlier while the bus crosses the town if your ho(s)tel is not southeast of the centre.

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Getting Around

By Car

Taxis are probably the most convenient way to reach your destination, but as few use meters, check the cost to your destination before setting out and negotiate the best deal.

By Public Transport

The town is not big enough for a bus service, though buses that connect with local towns do make stops in the suburbs.

By Bike

Around the southeastern bus station, there are many rental shops. However, renting a scooter in Puli seems only possible with an international driving licence.

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Eat

As a center of Buddhism, Puli has an abundance of great vegetarian restaurants (see listing for Taiwan for information on the various kinds of vegetarian restaurants available). Sugar cane is a local speciality and sold at road side stalls.

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Drink

  • WOWOW bar. A tiny colourful bar with a good choice of cocktails stands apart from karaoke places around. Drinks from NT$100.

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Sleep

  • Here Hostel Puli, No. 2, Yingliu Street, ☎ +886 953705080. If you thought the hostels in Taipei are luxurious, think again. This hostel has it all, modern interior, heated toilet seats, clean and modern dorms, and a pleasant living area. It is 500 metres from the centre and the nearby primary school starts at 8:00am, but it is worth coming here and relaxing off the busy roads in the centre. Dorm bed NT$500 (NT$450 in off season and if you haggle).
  • Center x center hostel, No.6, Zhongzheng 4th Rd. (Located in centre Puli, walking distance to Nantou Bus Terminal, Puli Winery and Puli General Post Office.), ☎ +886 492993396, e-mail: icenter545@gmail.com. Check-in: 16ː00, check-out: noon. A hostel delightfully decorated and refurnished from a traditional-style building. They offer 4-bed mixed and female dorms. A variety of Taiwanese cuisines and specialities, convenience stores and supermarkets nearby. NT$600/night.
  • Islet Inn, No.50, Datong St, ☎ +886 988917309 (Cory), +886 921787047 (Chloe), e-mail: hippieinislet@gmail.com. Check-in: after 4PM, check-out: before 12:00am. They offer toiletries and information. You can carry your bike into your room, and the inn offers a pump for bike wheel inflation and a carwash. There’s a washing machine (NT$20/per time), free dryer, free washing gel, and free hand-washing supplies. Double room: NT$1,400 or 1,600/per night; family room (4 people): NT$2,500/per night; three beds (6 people): NT$3,500/per night.
  • Cheng Pao Hotel, 299 Zhongxiao Rd. The largest hotel in Nantou County.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes are plentiful, although you may have to wander around before finding one. Rather, Internet cafes in Taiwan should be called gaming cafes. These are often found on the first or second floor of a building, and equipped with very comfortable chairs and large screens. Each hour of Internet access/game play is cheap, coming in at around $20. For free internet access in big cities, try out the local libraries. In addition, a wireless internet accessing net covering all of Taipei City is available and Kaohsiung City is currently under construction. There is also a common wifi network available at every McDonald's.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The international calling code for Taiwan is 886. The emergency numbers include 110 (police) 119 (medical, fire) and the standard GSM emergency number 112 is supported in mobile networks. Numbers starting with 0800 are commercial toll-free numbers. Mobile phone coverage is generally excellent in Taiwan, with the exception of some remote mountainous areas. Among the major providers are Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile, Far EasTone and Vibo. Taiwan has both GSM 900/1800 and 3G (UMTS/W-CDMA 2100) networks and roaming might be possible for users of such mobile phones, subject to agreements between operators. If you bring your own cellphone, buy a local SIM-card for the lowest prices and be sure your phone is unlocked.

Post

Chungwa Post is the national postal service of Taiwan. It offers fast and reliable postal services, both domestic and internationally. Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 5:00pm during weekdays, though some keep longer hours or are open on Saturday (morning). Prices for sending postcards or letters (up to 20 grams) start at NT$5 within the country, while postcards by airmail to other countries start at around NT$10-12 per item, and letters are slightly more expensive. There is a wide range in prices regarding international parcel sending, and other companies like DHL, TNT, FedEx and UPS offer similar services.

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Puli Travel Helpers

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This is version 3. Last edited at 15:12 on Mar 11, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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