Welcome to Part 2 of my series on Penghu’s Nanliao Community!
It’s best to start off with Part 1: Masked Girls, Fuji Fish Stove and Caizhai, as I run through the start of the tour, and also explain where on earth Penghu and Nanliao is.
Well, let’s get straight into it! In this blog you’ll marvel at the traditional architecture in Nanliao, see some interesting sights, watch me attempt to plough a field with an ox, and find out about one of Penghu’s biggest exports.
Traditional Architecture in Nanliao
As you make your way around the community, you’ll have the chance to feast your eyes on many fascinating structures, such as this intricately decorated one.
The ox ploughing was without a doubt one of the most memorable parts of the tour. Especially because I got to have a go for myself! Watch my ridiculous attempt to plough a field with an ox by clicking the video below!
There are farmers on hand to guide you through the process. I must admit, at first I was quite hesitant to try it for myself, but after some coaxing I gave it a go. I’m glad I did as it was a weird and wonderful experience!
As is often the case when you see an expert perform their craft, the farmers make guiding the oxen look easy.
I definitely underestimated how difficult it would be! I had great trouble trying to get my ox to walk straight. Or even to walk at all! It really takes a while to get used to holding both the rope that guides the ox and the wooden contraption that fields the earth, at the same time as trying to move forward. I felt a bit guilty after for messing up their lovely straight rows, but I was assured it wasn’t a problem.
While I majestically failed in my farming attempt, I had a lot of fun. It’s truly an incredible experience to say the least to be able to walk behind and try to guide such a beautiful beast. Treading on the soft dirt and feeling it in between my toes added to the sensation.
The experience really gave me pause for thought about how incredible it is that traditional agricultural practices are upheld in Nanliao.
It’s really not easy work at all, and I say that acknowledging that my experience just skimmed the surface of what farmers have to do and the struggles they face.
The farmers could use tractors and modern equipment to make their job substantially easier, but instead they choose to honour traditional methods to keep their culture alive. That, I think, is really admirable.
If you do go on the tour, I really urge you to have a try of this experience for yourself. You’ll no doubt kick yourself later if you don’t.
Red ball gate
When we came across this red ball gate, everyone erupted into excited chatter, as if they were recalling a fond memory. Well, everyone except me, who as the only foreigner in the group didn’t have the slightest idea of the balls’ significance.
I learned that written on each of the red balls is a Chinese character, which read in succession, form a famous Buddhist proverb. Taiwanese people learn it early on in school, and must practice reciting it again and again. Hearing that explanation, the nostalgic atmosphere all made sense.
The Nanliao Sign
Being such a picturesque place, there’s no shortage of photo opps in Nanliao. But if you’re after a cute picture to remember your time in Nanliao, and want to help out the community, take a pic with the Nanliao Sign and tag Nanliao as your location on Facebook.
The sign was made as part of the community’s efforts to encourage more tourism to the area. It’s really quite a sweet sign as the person taking the photo has to make sure it lines up. To make it simple, there’s a spot on the ground indicating where the photo should be taken from. And don’t worry, even if it ends up a bit wonky (like in my pic!), it will still make for a pretty cool pic.
Ox and Cart
While this may look like it was staged, we just got very lucky to see such a sight! I’ve never seen anyone being pulled in a cart by any animal than a horse, so it did make my mouth drop. Just as quickly as the ox appeared in front of us was he gone, leaving everyone scampering for a view.
It was quite a funny situation, as we were all dazzled by seeing such an unusual scene, while to the woman at the head of the cart it was nothing special. After all, it’s just a normal mode of transport to her!
Water well and pump
You’ll also come across an old water well and pump in the community which are still in perfect working order and are used by the locals to water nearby crops.
Looking at such contraptions makes you think about the incredible advances which have been made in terms of irrigation and plumbing, and how challenging it was (and in this case, is!) to deliver water to crops.
Peanut production in Penghu
Peanuts are one of Penghu’s biggest exports. The peanuts have a very distinct roasted taste that’s unlike any peanut I’ve eaten before. I actually don’t like eating raw peanuts usually, but I could pop these ones from Penghu by the dozen.
Why is peanut production so big in Penghu? According to TravelKing:
Penghu is an ideal place to grow peanuts. The land, the weather and the high mineral in the soil. Peanut is the renowned farming product of the agriculture industry in Penghu. It is harvest (sic) only once a year. It is a long process growing peanut comparing to the peanut elsewhere. So the peanut is filled with flavor and scent. The peanut product including peanut cake, peanut brittle, and peanut candy.
On the tour, you’ll get a chance to compete against your friends in a peanut cracking race. You will get a small bowl of peanuts which you’ll have to try to crack open as quick as you can. As I don’t usually eat raw peanuts, I don’t have much experience cracking them, so I was absolutely terrible. That’s probably an understatement, as in the time I had cracked 5, the people next to me had cracked around 15!
Cow Pat Trough | 牛屎窟
As mentioned in Part 1, cow pat (cow dung) is used for firing the Fu Ji Stoves. It’s also used as manure to keep crops their most fertile.
This was a little trough for storing the cow pat. I appreciate the efforts made to try and brighten the place up!
Want to find out what else you can do on the tour?
Read Part 1: Masked Girls, Fuji Fish Stove and Caizhai and stay tuned for Part 3: Fine Dining Under the Moonlight.
Expect some serious food porn.
Can I visit Nanliao Community by myself?
Yes, you’re welcome to visit the community by yourself without going on the tour. You can have fun navigating around the area, and you might even get lucky and get to meet some locals. But needless to say, you won’t get a chance to partake in any of the experiences above.
Interested in the tour?
If you would like to inquire about the tour please contact:
The tour is NT$2500, and includes all the activities, food, and a dinner feast at the end. It is conducted in Mandarin, so if you don’t know it be sure to bookmark or print off a copy of this series for your reference!
Please note: Bookings must be for a group of 10 or more people. Unfortunately, the organizers currently do not have the resources to make booking for smaller groups.
Yes, Nanliao is seriously packed with incredible sights and experiences for anyone to enjoy. The pictures really don’t do it justice, as what makes the place so special is the atmosphere which comes with being in a place that has been preserved in time. A place so proud of it’s traditions and cultures. That is something you have to see and feel yourself.
Care to share your thoughts about Nanliao? Leave a comment below!