Real Escape Games: Enter the Tuban Tribal Village to Solve the Puzzles

You can only say you truly know someone if you know their personality, interests, and habits. In the same way, if all you do when visiting the tribal village is eat and drink, you won’t get the chance to understand the rich culture of the tribe. The Tuban Tribal Village is a Paiwanese village. They are one of the few remaining tribes that still observe strict social class systems, and are the only tribe in Taiwan that still performs the traditional Maljeveq. The people hope that guests who visit the tribe can understand Paiwanese traditions and allow their customs and culture to be passed down. The KISAT JA real escape games were designed for this purpose.

KISAT JA is a Paiwanese phrase meaning paying tax and tribute to the tribal leaders. This usually takes place during the harvest season before the Maljeveq. The intricately designed puzzle has three portions, each level has questions and hints that include and introduce the tribe’s agriculture, handicrafts, and food culture. Contestants are given different roles from the Paiwanese Social Class System including the chief, witch, warrior, and civilian. Each cleared mission will be rewarded with tax and tribute items. While solving the puzzles, contestants will learn about the traditional KISAT JA and the historical meaning behind the taxes and tribute items while experiencing the intimate relationships between family and social classes.


Puzzle Itinerary (1 day trip)

Morning: Tribe Tour
Afternoon: Rice Wine Brewing (Eight Zeros Farm) → Farming Experience (Kina’s Millet Farm) → Rattan Weaving (Talem Millet School)

Warm-Up Activity: Tuban Tribe Tour

The traditional qualities of aboriginal tribes can be seen in the Tuban Tribe. When you enter the main street of the tribe, you will find Paiwanese Totems along both walls, bringing you straight into the aboriginal atmosphere. The guide will begin by introducing Maljeveq, the legend of the home of the hairy crab, stories of the warrior sculptures, the stone pillar made of three stone slabs, and more. Under the guide’s exciting stories, guests will learn about the history of the Tuban Tribe. A brief introduction of the afternoon activities will follow before a tribal-themed lunch at the Tjubal House.


Level 1: Rice Wine Brewing Challenge

Glutinous rice wine is a specialty of the Tuban Tribe. The rice wine is used at important ceremonies and other important events. The rice wine is rich and refreshing, showcasing the quality soil and waters of the tribe. You won’t be able to replicate the taste elsewhere. The first level is to attempt to make this rice wine. Follow along with the puzzle master and turn the glutinous rice over, sprinkle koji over the rice, and pack it into a jar. The jar is filled with warm water and sealed. You will have a delicious and unique rice wine in a week.


Level 2: Tribal Farming Experience

There’s more to the tribal culture than festivals and performances, and those things can be found in all the details of daily life. The Tuban Tribe is located in rich lands among the mountains. Farming has become a vital part of their daily lives. The Tuban Paiwanese follow a calendar based on the growth cycle of millet. You can even see the social class and ethical ideas in the way they grow and harvest crops. We’ll move on to Kina’s Millet Farm for the next level of the puzzle. Contestants will need to work together to remove weeds, observe the crop, draw and record the millet stalks and grains, and learn to distinguish between crop and wild species. The process might be challenging, but the contestants will experience the sweet process of collaboration and working together.


Level 3: Tuban Rattan Weaving

The final level is the hardest of them all. We’ll move back to the Millet School to take on the rattan weaving challenge. Rattan weaving is the most important traditional artistic skill of the tribe. Whether it be weaving a gift bracelet, making a pot holder, basket, or backpack, all of these items are closely related to their daily lives. You’ll need good eyesight, technique, patience, and concentration to follow the teacher’s directions. It’s also important to use the right force and placement during the entire weaving process. Contestants will need to place the rattan ring on their heads and carry some millet around the lap to pass this level.

Make sure to make a reservation for the Tuban Real Escape Games the next time you travel to the South Link in Taitung. Become a Paiwanese and explore the unique and exciting culture of the Tuban Tribe.

(Information and Photos taken from FB@臺東縣達仁鄉土坂社區發展協會)