Takao Hill's Shoushan Festival
◎English translation: Hou Ya-ting
◎Photo by Pao Chung-hui
Shoushan National Nature Park is situated in the south-western part of Kaohsiung. Formed out of raised coral reef, it has become known as Kaohsiung's backyard. With its diverse geology, Shoushan is home to a variety of animal, flower and fauna. On its western side is its unique oceanic geology. On it the eastern side of the mountain is a fresh water spring, which is revered by the local community. It is certainly a beautiful, natural place for visitors to come and explore.
In 2001, a local organization called Takao Hill organized a festival to promote the preservation of Shoushan Mountain. The first festival featured Amorphophallus hirtus, a tubular flower with a large leaf. Every year Takao Hill features a series of events which present different unique animals, flower and fauna, that are indigenous to the area. The goal is to educate people about the mountain and to attract more visitors to come and enjoy its natural beauty. This year's Shoushan Festival was held in May and featured the mountain's indigenous land crabs, Geothelphusa Markatal and Discoplax hirtipes. Professional guides took groups around to experience these natural wonders in their natural habitat. Guides took visitors to see the mountain's fresh water spring, Shoushan and then to the northern part of the mountain to see the "shell mounds". These mounds are the remains of bones, pieces of pottery and shells of the Makado Tribe. They evidence the existence of the tribe, which were believed to have been killed off by pirates, when they inhabited the mountain around 400 years ago. The festival not only features Shoushan's natural scenic beauty, but also introduces the interesting ecology and history of the area.
Shoushan National Nature Park has a lot to offer visitors. They can walk along trails while observing the land crabs and witness its beautiful ocean views. In order to book mountain tours and for more information, visitors can contact Takao Hill at (07)281-5348. Although they must be booked in advance, Takao Hill organizes group tours of a minimum 3 to a maximum of 30 people. Non-profit groups, with a minimum of 15 people can also organize tours through Shoushan National Nature Park's Planning Office at (07)262-0610. However, these tours also require advance bookings. Shoushan is indeed worth visiting.