Exciting Indigenous Journey – Eight Chieftains Tour

Visiting Taitung’s indigenous villages has become extremely popular lately. Stepping into an indigenous village and hearing stories about local culture is truly an unforgettable experience. It’s much better than snapping a couple of pictures at some of the hot spots around Taitung and then posting them online. Therefore, we came up with the Eight Chieftains Tour so you could get closer with Sapulju Tribal Village. Every station gives you a great chance to connect with indigenous history, lifestyle and culture. As you move through each station, you’ll come to know more about village life piece by piece.

“Sapulju” means “lonely and desolate land” in the local language. Nestled in between the mountains and the sea, Sapulju is a hidden village located in Jinfeng Township. Sapulju is the only Paiwan village in Jinfeng Township. Paiwan tribal imagery is seen at every turn and fills the village with an atmosphere of traditional culture. Sapulju is made up of four villages and eight chieftain families. Therefore, the game we’ve organized centers around “The Eight Chieftains.” Ready to play? Then let’s head into a chieftain’s house to complete your special mission.

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Station 1: Fire Starter Challenge – For Paiwan people, making fire is a way to communicate with their ancestors and transmit culture. To complete this challenge, you have to use a bow drill fire starter, dried wood, branches and bamboo pieces to burn through a rope that’s placed on top of a stove.

Station 2: Tribal God Archery Challenge – Using a bow and arrow is one of the things that Paiwan people must know how to do. It’s a test of a tribesman’s upper body strength and concentration. For the Paiwan, archery symbolizes courage and responsibility. Give it a shot! Grab a bow that was made by a local, take aim, and let your arrows fly towards the target.

Station 3: Betelnut Wrapping Challenge – Wrapping a betelnut looks simple enough. However, a decent betel nut has several qualities. A betel nut will only look presentable if it isn’t too big or small, the leaf used to wrap it isn’t too thick or thin, and you use just the right amount of limestone. This way, your mouth won’t get scratched up when you’re chewing it.

Station 4: Sawing Challenge – First, some of the village youngsters will show you proper sawing technique. After that, it’s your turn to use a one-handed saw to cut through a bamboo stick. Sawing like this tests your technique and grip strength. City people that have never sawed before will be crying uncle after just a few seconds!

Station 5: Back to Boyhood – This challenge features the much harder village version of hopscotch. You have to wear slippers and kick stones into numbered boxes. However, you can’t kick stones into 5, 6 or 9. After you place your stones, you have to hop on one leg through the boxes in the correct order. But the kicker is, you can’t switch feet!

Station 6: Head Balancing Challenge – During the harvest, villagers move millet around in baskets that they balance on their heads. In this game, you must balance a basket on your head and walk to a specific marker and back. While you’re walking, you can’t balance the basket with your hands. To complete the challenge, the basket has to stay on your head the whole time.

Station 7: “Body Language” Challenge – First, you’ll learn the Sapulju names of common plants around the village. Then, you’ll have to say which plant is which by calling out the names in the local language. This tests your memory and language abilities.

Station 8: Singing Challenge – The Paiwan people are natural born singers. In this challenge, one of the village chieftains will teach the group how to sing a traditional Paiwan song. To pass, everyone has to sing in harmony and say all the words clearly. Even though you don’t speak the local language, you get the hang of the melody after a bit because the chieftain is a very patient teacher. In no time, you’ll be signing like you’re a member of the Paiwan tribe.

You’ll have a deep appreciation for the Paiwan’s many talents after completing these eight challenges. These challenges at Sapulju will stick in your memory as more than just your average vacation. After spending time with a chieftain and members of the tribe, you’ll feel like your time here was an immersion into village life. We’re sure you’ll learn a lot from this unique experience.

  • Address: No. 64, Neighborhood 4, Xinxing Village, Jinfeng Township, Taitung County
  • Phone Number: 089-780-153, 0975-230-114
  • Opening Time: Please call to make an appointment beforehand