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【Fun Hualien NO.45】Interesting local destinations》Indigenous youths building dreams in the land of the “open tree hole” Ciyakang Tribe, Wanrong Township

  • PostDate:2023-07-11

The Ciyakang Tribe, located in Xilin Village, Wanrong Township, Hualien, is part of the Truku people. The youths here share their stories through experiential tours, which not only help revitalize local development, but also allow visitors to experience the most authentic indigenous culture and get to know the Ciyakang Tribe, which has a history spanning more than 100 years.


Text & Images by/ Yoti Xue (Xue, Yung-Ting), Akay Life Natural


Local indigenous youth celebrate daily tribal lifeCiyakang Tribe, Wanrong Township

According to village elders, when one looks down from the mountain, the valley takes the shape of a kettle or a water tank, which is the origin of the name “Alang Ciyakang.” The tribe also has an old name “Rangah Qhuni,” which means “open tree hole,” because the Ciyakang River is winding and narrow in the upper reaches, but suddenly opens up into a flat terrain on the lower banks, like a big tree with dense leaves, or like a cave that is suddenly opened and the sunlight comes in, which is why it has such a meaningful name in the Truku language.


Several youths of the tribe, who are deeply involved in the local community, set up the team “Akay Life Natural.” Akay is not a person, but a harmonization of the Truku word “Akay,” which is imbued with a rich meaning, including unforgettable, powerful and impressive. The team members come from the local tribe and have been involved in field research, cultural promotion, and community development for years. Akay Life Natural is also the first startup company in Wanrong Township, and seeks to combine tribal and natural resources to develop local culture and economy through travel itineraries and tribal experience activities that are interesting, entertaining, and educational.


INFO|Akay Life Natural
Address: No. 162-1, Xilin Village, Wanrong Township, Hualien County
Telephone: 03-8772862
Business hours: Reservations are available by telephone or official website.


Experience itineraryHalf-day tour/Day-tour

Half-day tour:Worship ceremony → In-depth tribal experience → Co-preparation of food dishes

Day-tourFor the morning itinerary, please refer to the “half-day tour”→“Weaving the Tree Hole” experience or “Aiming for the Tree Hole” experience

The experience kicked off with a traditional local ancestor worship ceremony to let the ancestral spirits know that friends were visiting today and to pray for a smooth and safe event. Inside the bamboo house, Apyang, a tribal youth, shared the construction process and architectural elements to let visitors understand more about the characteristics of Truku traditional bamboo houses. Next, Apyang took the visitors on a fun and relaxing tour of the tribe, visiting grocery stores, churches, and farmland in the Ciyakang Group V area, offering visitors a deeper understanding of the history and fascinating stories of the tribes from the time of the Japanese colonial rule to the present.


Later on, the group walked to a designated communal area to prepare a meal together. The visitors shared the work with each other, starting from cutting banana leaves, cleaning the leaves, making fire, and finally making banana rice. Or, visitors were to be invited to stay in the kitchen with a kitchen knife and spatula, using seasonal vegetables and common traditional Truku ingredients to create delicious specialty dishes, such as the slow-roasted salt-roasted pork belly, which is tender and not too greasy, and perfectly served with Chinese scallion, offering a variety of flavors.

The day trip includes more cultural experiences such as weaving and archery, and from May to October every year, visitors can also sign up for the Qingshui River River Tracing Activity. The team behind “Akay Life Natural” combines tribal, natural and culinary elements, allowing visitors to experience the culture of the Truku people and learn about the past and daily life of the Ciyakang Tribe.