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Exploring the Gardens and Tea Factories of Lishan, Taiwan: a Unique Tourist Experience

In early December, we welcomed tourists to the tea factory from both London and Taichung.


Totally different experiences! On one side, a tea enthusiast who traveled halfway around the Earth to experience Taiwanese culture and its vast tea world. On the other side, a group of families from the third-largest city in Taiwan who wanted to learn about the tea process and life in a Lishan factory.


Tea Tour in Taiwan, from London to Lishan



In November, we received news that Luca, an Italian based in London, wanted to visit Taiwan and, if possible, tour tea gardens and/or factories. He was coming in just a couple of weeks! So, with Iris, we quickly organized a 3-day, 2-night tour in Lishan, where Luca could personally visit the Yang family's tea garden and factory. In fact, we stayed overnight at the factory for both nights!


Next, we'll tell you in detail what these 3 days were like, to see if you're up for a visit! And then, we'll share the experience of the group of families from Taichung who visited us later. Get ready, it's going to be good!


Organizing a Tea Plantation and Factory Tour

Since Luca had a trip planned in a couple of weeks, Iris and I sent him a customized tour proposal based on his availability in Taiwan so he would know what we could do during his visit. We scheduled a video call to get to know each other and fine-tune the details.


The itinerary looked something like this:


Day 1: Meet at the train station and travel to Lishan


We agreed to meet Luca at the high-speed rail station in Taichung on a Wednesday in early December. This is the fastest connection from Taipei (where he was staying) to the road leading up to Lishan, which we took with Iris.

From here, we traveled on National Highway No. 6 (國道六號) towards Puli (埔里) and then all the way up the Hehuan Mountain (合歡山) reaching an altitude of 3,300 meters!



About halfway up the ascent, at around 1,700 meters, we stopped to acclimate our bodies. When ascending to these altitudes, it's important to walk to promote blood circulation and stay hydrated. We did this in Ren'Ai, where we also took the opportunity to grab a bite.

This is a photo we took on the same spot but on the way back 2 days later.


The rest of the journey to Lishan was accompanied by heavy rain. Mountain weather can be unpredictable, so the other stops were brief. Below, we'll show you photos from the return trip, which was completely the opposite – radiant sunshine allowed us to stop and climb one of the peaks along the way.


In Lishan, after lunch, we explored the village and its iconic places like these (this is a compilation of photos from previous months):


As it was cold this time of year, entering winter, we had our fair share of tea upon return, followed by dinner and rest to embark on the garden and tea factory tours the next day!


Day 2: Tour of Tea Gardens and Factory in Lishan, Taiwan

The next day, we got up early to make the most of the sunny day ahead. After breakfast, we watched a video about the production of high-mountain Taiwanese Wulong tea so that Luca could get a general idea of the process. Since his vacation had already passed the harvest season, we prepared this video. If you want a more detailed idea of each stage, visit this article.



On the way to the tea garden


And finally, we headed to the tea garden! Here are some photos; the day was spectacular, and we explored the entire garden. We even took a ride on the monorail they use to transport freshly harvested tea leaves.


We observed details of tea cultivation, such as the soil in the Lishan mountain (rockier than in other regions, giving the tea unique characteristics). We saw tea plants of different ages to compare the size of their trunks and branches, in addition to enjoying the breathtaking view of the mountain.






Between strolling through the gardens, chatting, sharing knowledge, and enjoying the mountain, the whole morning passed. It was time to return for lunch and then continue with the tea factory tour.


Step-by-Step Tea Production Tour at the factory


Later, we started the tour of the factory, delving into each stage of processing, trying to explain as best as possible even though tea production wasn't happening at the Yang family's factory during this time.


We took our time with each stage so Luca could ask any questions that came to mind. Apparently, the most fascinating stage is the rolling – a delicate and, at the same time, effort-filled process.


We concluded with a blind tasting of Taiwanese Wulong teas. Iris prepared 6 teas, including 3 cultivars, 3 production areas, and 2 different seasons.



To complement, here are some articles that might interest you:


Day 3: Back to Civilization, Trip to Taichung, and Visit to a Modern Tea House


On the third day, we set off early back to Taichung, following the itinerary we discussed with Luca. The idea was to make the most of the return trip, have lunch in Taichung at a typical restaurant, and then visit a friend's modern tea house.


Once again, we had a sunny day, so on the return trip and in the Hehuanshan area, we took the opportunity to get out of the car and walk to one of the summits accessible from the side of the road. Here are some photos from over 3,200 meters above sea level:



It was an incredible experience for us, and from what Luca has told us, it was for him too.


Thank you very much for your visit! And we hope to see you soon in Taiwan, hopefully during the harvest season, haha.






Family Tour, Taiwanese Also Want to Learn about Tea Processing


The day after Luca's visit, three families from Taichung, along with some friends, visited us in Lishan (yes, we went back to the mountain, haha, we're happy to breathe that fresh air again!)



This time, it was the children who took the opportunity to explore the factory, paying close attention to every detail. Since we weren't producing tea at that time, the kids could roam and play around, always under the watchful eyes of their parents!


The visit was brief but very interesting! In addition to tasting tea, we also ate fresh fruits harvested in Lishan: apples, pears, persimmons, and they even took freshly harvested cabbages to cook during the week.


Their visit was part of a long weekend they had off from school. It was great that they took the time during their mini-vacation to learn how the tea consumed by their families daily is produced.


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