Nature | Travel | Life

Scents of The Mountain



Lush vegetation lends its ambrosial fragrance to Taitung’s air.

Smell and memory are intimately connected. Can you remember the smell of the air in your hometown? How does it differ from that of Taitung?

氣味是記憶的一部份,你還記得自己家鄉空 氣裡的味道嗎?和台東又有什麼不一樣呢?

Summer in Southern-Link Taitung

Every place has its own unique scent, and Taitung is no exception. When the wind is blowing inwards from the sea, its air is naturally thick with humidity and salt. When the wind is blowing down from the mountains, it bears the crisp and agreeable fragrance of the forest. In southern Taitung, these aromas coalesce in the variable winds accompany the changes of four seasons. In the summertime, the warm foehn winds even carry the scent of dried grass like an eclectic summer straw bouquet.

On summer afternoons, when thermal convection is at its strongest, sudden flashes of heavy rainfall bring instant relief to the sun-scorched earth, and the air becomes particularly moist and fresh. Meanwhile, a mountain breeze gently blows through the villages, bearing the woody fragrance of camphor, banyan and bamboo, as well as the floral notes of bougainvillea, jasmine, shell ginger and betel nut areca. Summer in southern Taitung is thus characterised by the scents of dried grass and rising steam joining in with the floral and woody fragrance of Taiwanese summer nights.


每個地方都有它獨特的氣味,在台東,常常能感受到海風裡有著濕黏水氣, 敏感的人甚至會覺得帶有鹹味,若是從山邊吹來的風,則是清爽宜人的樹木和花果香氣。

在南迴地區,海與山的兩種氣息隨著四季不同的風向更迭吹拂。夏天焚風吹 來,帶著乾草的氣味,遇到熱對流旺盛的午後,一場突如其來的大雨瞬間讓地面降溫;大雨過後的空氣也變得格外濕潤清新,山林的風徐徐吹進村子,帶來一種木質清香,或許是樟樹、榕樹和竹子的氣味,伴隨著九重葛、茉莉花、月桃花、七里香或檳榔花的花香調。



Because its strong aroma spreads very far, orange jasmine is also commonly referred to as the“seven mile fragrance”.

The Unique Aura of the Coastal Mountains

The scents of mountain air are characteristic of Taitung. Mt. Dulan, located off of Provincial Highway #11, is the sacred mountain of the Pinuyumayan and Amis indigenous tribes. To any observer, this is a place that is shrouded in mystery. All year round, clouds and mist surround its jagged peak. Let us venture onto this sacred ground and take in the breath of Taiwan’s mountainous forests.

As you enter Mt. Dulan Trail, its damp and winding paths give off the everpresent smell of ferns, soil, and moss that lingers on the nose. Along the way, the complex scents of various plants and f lowers commonly seen at low altitudes in Taiwan waft and blend into a unique and relaxing scent. Reach its highest point, and the wind on the mountain peak blows away the hanging mist to reveal the delightful woody essence fragrance of the forests.

Between the nearby Pacific Ocean’s rugged, saline air, and the light,woody fragrance of the misty mountain, which would you choose?


山的味道,也是台東的味道。位在台 11 線上的都蘭山,是台東原住 民卑南族和阿美族的聖山,終年雲霧繚繞,神秘感十足,一起走入聖山, 呼吸台灣森林的氣息吧。

從路旁的登山口進入都蘭山,潮濕的山徑上,蕨類、泥土和苔類混 合的氣息在鼻間徘徊,沿途上,各種台灣常見低海拔植物的花香、青草 味緩緩釋放進空氣中,融合成一種獨特的氣味,讓人心情放鬆;攀上至 高點時,山頂的風吹散了雲霧,也帶來木質精油似的森林氣味。

和不遠處太平洋厚重的水氣和鹹味相較,山中輕靈的霧氣與林木的 芬芳,你會選擇哪一個呢?


The scent of damp soil, trees and moss pervades Taiwan’s low-altitude mountain forests.


Heading towards Taiyuan, one often encounters roving bands of monkeys.

The Valley in Which Rests the Fragrance of Nature

Provincial Highway #23 connects Huadong Valley with the eastern coastline of Taitung. It also leads to a secluded paradise on earth, known as Taiyuan Valley. At first glance.

Traditionally, suppose the primary feature of Taiyuan Valley’s scenery is not its luscious pomelo. In that case, there is a good case to be made for its roving bands of Formosan rock macaques. In recent years, however, Taiyuan Valley has developed a peculiar scent that may make some of the long-time locals feel uncanny. This scent is quickly becoming a hallmark of Taiyuan Valley, which may surpass the monkeys for renown. Let us investigate these special fragrances of Taiyuan!


連通台東海線與花東縱谷的台 23 線,可以通往一處靜謐的世外桃源,「泰源幽 谷」裡的人們過著彷彿與世隔絕的生活,他們有自己的步調,慢活的主張在這裡無需 大聲喧嚷,因為這裡的人們早已過著這樣的生活。

這裡最知名的若不是柚子,大概就是猴子了,近年卻出現了一種讓在地人感到 驚奇的香氣,一起去探訪神祕的泰源香吧!

A fresh mountain breeze bears an eclectic scent of a mixed bouquet of peppermint, lemon balm, rosemary, and other herbs. This rich amalgam of smells is not one to which the elders of Taiyuan have long been accustomed. Interestingly, the younger generation is responsible for the sumptuous blend of fragrances that now wafts through the valley. In recent times, young adults in the area have returned home from their time spent studying and working elsewhere to develop what is now a burgeoning aromatherapy industry. Though the complex scent of the organic herbs being grown is quite new to the locals, it is nevertheless on the careful nur turing hands of local Ina (Ina being the Amis name for mothers) that their cultivation relies on. Through their joint efforts, Taiyuan Valley has gradually established itself as Taitung’s organic herb kingdom’s seat.

There are also a lot of fruit trees planted here. In spring and summer, the floral scent of pomelo and Valencia orange floats in the orchard air, adding a symphony of scents on the breeze. Here, it is said that the scent of citrus is pleasant to the nose and healing to the soul. No compendium of Taitung’s smells is complete without mention of Taiyuan Valley.

山岰間的微風中蕩漾著香氣,是混雜著薄荷、香蜂草、迷迭香等各種香草的味道,在地的孩子外出讀書工作多年後回到出生地,聚合起社區的人們一起種植香 草,發展芳療產業,雖然對在地人來說相當新穎,但這些有機種植的香草,靠著伊娜(Ina,阿美族媽媽的稱呼)們一雙雙手的細心呵護除草,逐漸打造出台東的香草王國。 這裡同時也種植大量果樹,春夏之際,柚子、晚崙西亞橙的花香不時飄過,就像柑橘酸甜的氣息能讓人心情愉悅,柑橘調的花香同樣療癒,台東的氣味地圖,有了泰源幽谷才完整。


The essential oil aromatherapy industry is taking shape in Taiyuan Valley.

An Enchanting Scent of Tea on the Highlands

If you happen to pass through Luye Highland on your journey, you will certainly notice the abundance of tea plantations. Along its roadside, you will find various oolong and black tea plantations, as well as large pineapple fields. If time permits, perhaps you could rent a bicycle and ride on these luscious country roads at your own leisure pace.

While biking along these roads, you hit upon an unfamiliar smell. It seems to carry hints of caramel and honey. As curiosity strikes, you may well be tempted to follow this aroma to its source. Could it be the breeze calling you towards the local tea processing plant? Make your approach, inquire politely, and take a moment to observe the unique production process of Taiwan’s oolong tea. The roasting tea leaves exude a sweet and positively enchanting fragrance. If you happen to pass by any teahouse on your journey, feel free to walk in to ask to sample some local tea with the owner and patrons.

As for the low and bristly pineapple fields, they too exude an influence over this highland town. In the summer, when the fields are bearing fruit, the surrounding air is wrapped in its sweet and tangy fragrance. Catching a whiff of this tropical tangy sweet, succulent scent will surely leave you longing for a cup of the local pineapple iced tea.






Luye’s famous Red Oolong has a peculiarly sweet fragrance akin to honey.


A green quilted carpet composed of rice paddies.

A Comforting Green Carpet

Arriving at Guanshan and Chishang, you will be surrounded by fertile fields of rice on all sides, with hardly a utility pole to be seen. From above, these fields resemble a snug green carpet.

Pay close attention, now, to the light odor which rests on the nose. The gentle, meandering aroma of rice and fresh grass has a comfortable, soothing effect. Paired with the sight of the Central Mountain Ranges on the horizon, a charming rural scene emerges spontaneously.

As the sun goes down, the villages in the countryside gradually relax and return to calm ness. T he slow breath of the woods blows down from the mountains. Many years ago, a friend visiting from Japan once said, “The mountains of Taiwan themselves have a distinct fragrance.” Can you smell it too?


A green quilted carpet composed of rice paddies.


來到關山和池上,縱谷平原一眼望去盡是種滿稻子 的良田,幾乎看不見電線竿,從高處俯瞰,就像一張舒適的綠地毯。

細心留意迴蕩在鼻尖的氣息,稻子的香氣在鼻間流 轉,甜甜的青草香讓人感到舒適與放鬆,搭配遠方中央山脈的山嵐,一幅農村美好景象油然而生。

太陽西下,農村漸歸平靜,從山邊吹來的風,是中 央山脈森林的呼吸,「台灣的山都香香的。」好多年前一位日本友人到訪台灣時留下了這句話,你也聞到了嗎?

Deep in the Mountains – the Scent of Plum Blossom

From either Guanshan or Chishang, you can head towards the Central Mountain Range to enter upon the Southern Cross- Island Highway, famous for its gorgeous scenery.

Along this highway, you’ll find many plum gardens. In winter, as the leaves drop off from the trees, the blooming plum blossom exudes a sort of cool and elegant fragrance. It is a beauty that deserves a solemn kind of appreciation. It’s easy to lose track of time while standing under the plum tree and admiring the unblemished white of the plum blossoms.

Walk on higher, and you will come to Xiangyang Forest. The altitude here is about 2,300 meters. In the summertime, an ethereal mist begins to rise at about 3 o’clock. The forest here is different from other areas in Taitung since it is covered with cypress and pine and bears a naturally therapeutic aroma.


The scent of plum blossom is a delicate and unintrusive fragrance.


身處縱谷,在關山或池上往中央山脈的方向前進,就可以 進入以美景著稱的南橫。

南橫沿線有不少梅園,到了冬天,樹葉落盡,開滿枝頭的 梅花,流瀉出一種清冷淡雅的香,是一種必須靜靜領略的美好, 站在梅樹下欣賞潔白嬌小的梅花常常讓人流連忘返。

再往高處走,來到南橫向陽,這裡海拔約 2300 公尺,夏日 午後約莫 3 點就開始起霧,這裡的林木和台東其他地區不同, 多了許多高山針葉樹,空氣裡帶有檜木和松木的香氣,盡情享 受最天然的精油香氛吧!

Continuing along the Southern Cross-Island Highway, you can also explore Jiaming Lake, colloquially known as “Angel’s Tears.” Let us take a moment to investigate this turquoise blue gem nestled amongst the lush green forests. Despite not being fed by a stream, the water of Jiaming Lake is crystal clear and remains at a perpetual marvel. It takes at least three days and two nights along mountain paths to reach on foot. Upon arriving, you will see that its beauty is as transcendent and rare as that of a masterful painting. Could this be the mythical wonderland often talked about in legends?


Located at 3310 meters above sea level, Jiaming Lake is often referred to as the “Tears of an Angle” when the blue sky reflects off its clear still water.
海拔 3310 公尺上的嘉明湖,反映藍天而有「天使的眼淚」之稱。

On your travels, you will surely experience a plethora of novel, captivating, and unrepeatable sensations. An array of fleeting sights, sounds, tastes, and feelings will accompany the various stages of your journey. Interestingly, it is often the scents that memories attach themselves most strongly. The sense of smell works like a time capsule, binding together an amalgam of remembrances and storing them in the far reaches of your consciousness, waiting to be recalled. A whiff of a familiar smell immediately takes you back, in heart and mind, to a time when that same smell bore a particular significance. Now, let’s fill our lungs with Taitung’s air and capture the scent of memory of Taitung together.

在南橫還可以一探「天使的眼淚」嘉明湖。一起去探訪這顆被綠絨圍繞的藍色寶 石吧!沒有溪水注入卻湖水清澈、永不枯竭的奇景,需要三天兩夜的登山行程才能抵 達,是台灣熱門的登山路線。

旅行,除了用眼睛看、用嘴巴吃、用心感受之外,還可以用氣味留下記憶,一 起大口呼吸台東的空氣、記憶台東吧!