LIVING A DREAM: BEST EXPERIENCE I COULD HAVE WISHED FORHidden away in the South-East of Taiwan lies a farm called Juhu. Right there in between vast banana fields and rolling green mountains by the calm coast of the Pacific ocean, lives an amazing family with hearts filled with sheer kindness. For generations they have been taking care of acres of highland filled with vegetable and fruit crops of all kind; from sweet potato, to guava, dragon fruits, to nuts (ahh I will never forget the taste of these amazing oak tree nuts). The Lai family does much more than simply grow crops; they focus on maintaining the entire ecosystem of the area intact to provide a happy, uninterrupted life to all animals, even insects that inhabit the land. The family works hard to help others learn and discover what nature is really about; from organizing plenty of projects and immersion camps for Taiwanese school children from all parts of the country, to giving regular people a chance to plant trees on their land. I stumbled upon this place almost by accident (or one may call it fate;) while making my way around Taiwan and I soon discovered that it was super extraordinary. Here are a few things that have made me fall in love with Juhu: - The family does not use any poisonous repellants nor fertilizer to keep animals away from their food, or force the crop to grow in larger numbers. they approach their land with patience and understanding. - They grow crops that are native to Taiwan and specifically focus on restoring many plants and trees that are endangered (investing a lot of their time and capital into making that happen) - They built three little houses on their own, for people to be able to come and stay in nature with them; the family makes sure you see every bit of their land, and try every delicacy that comes from it -The people that come and visit their farm are amazing; most of the visitors are families that have been coming there for more than 10 or even 20 years. the reason is simple, once you discover this place you’ll always want to come back - Everywhere you look you’re facing some incredible views of the coast, mountains and green fields, which makes it possible to truly enjoy simply sitting - During the evening the fireflies make you feel that all the stars have come down to earth - It’s a true representation of harmony; flies are calm, bugs don’t bite, spiders look friendly 😀 - There are four different kinds of bananas and plantains here that grow all year round. from them the family makes dried plantains, which are placed in the oven at low temperature for 3 days so that all the nutrients are kept (they sell them at very low prices so that anyone can enjoy this delicious treat <3) - Their hospitality and generosity is truly one of a kind; I was treated and cared for as if I was part of their family Mr and Mrs. Lai and the wonderful individuals that work by their side are all people with their sleeves rolled up, ready to take on any challenge life brings on and make unimaginable things happen. I’ve learnt so much from my time at Juhu and I truly cannot wait to be back there!
Getting close to Nature with your kidsAfter a friend's recommendation and reading some online reviews, we decided to check out this homestay in the mountains with our 22-month old toddler in tow. With the limited natural flora and fauna in Singapore and the lack of decent trails, we thought it will be good for junior to get exposed to natural beauty as it should be. Not the recreated ones in Singapore. After getting our train details, Mr Lai showed up promptly at the station in a gleaming new Volkswagen Caravelle, nicely fitted with a comfy child seat. My kid took to that seat like fish to water. The boot space was more than enough for the portable cot, baby trekking carrier and personal luggage that we brought along. After a nice meal of Yuli noodles, we were brought on a scenic drive to the homestay, going from the Central Mountain Range to the Coastal Mountain Range. Mr Lai was very keen to explain the various geographical features of the area, such as where the Huadong fault lines lie and why there is always a low-lying mist in the mountains. I lapped it up like a student deprived of real geography lessons. We were welcomed by the friendly in-house mascot, a doggie by the name of XiaoYi. Throughout the stay, my kid got so chummy with the dog that we had to warn him that not all dogs that he come across will be as friendly and allow him to pet. We had an enjoyable stay at the homestay peppered with spontaneous encounters with nature (plenty of tree lizards, frogs & butterflies), amazing trek (Yushan National Park's Walami Trail), wonderful home-cooked dinners by the Mdm Lai (at least 7 dishes for dinner) & lovely coastal exploration and walks. Nights were spent stargazing on the purpose built platform, to the sounds of croaking frogs. Be sure not to get the room closest to the pond unless you like the idea of a frog symphony playing the whole night. For those into astrophotography, do remember to bring along a tripod and you will be rewarded by a location that is close to zero light pollution. Mr Lai does offer a spotting scope on a tripod as well. Mr Lai has also built an obstacle course for student outdoor training during summer. He may just get you to try some of the obstacle or at least the 'swing'. There's also a fruit farm at the top of the hill and you will be surrounded by persimmons and canton oranges. It is quite an experience to relax on a hammock while taking bites from a yummy mandarin orange and looking out into the vast Pacific Ocean. Mr Lai even gave us a giant pomelo to bring home to Singapore! The accommodation was clean and the room was large. There's a nice corner setup for junior's sleeping needs. That area is also stocked with children's books, adult books, DVDs and music CDs. The bathroom has a nice bath tub done up like the hot spring ones in Beitou but minus the spring water. The rear of the unit has a spacious balcony with a wee view of the Pacific. For those who likes to sleep in late, be sure to draw the large curtains leading to the balcony as that's where the sun rises. I also did a 5km run around the roads leading to the homestay. It provide for some nice scenery and the air is pristine. Friendly locals also greeted me along the way. The entire homestay experience was fantastic! There was so much about nature to learn from and the homestay seems to be located in such a classroom. The customised daytrips were wonderfully planned and being ferried everywhere make us feel like royalty. The owners, right down to the staff were warm and hospitable. The food was exquisitely prepared and plated. The fruits we had throughout the stay was fabulous and the best part is, it is organically grown. Do check out the dried fruit that Mr Lai sells as well, they are great nibbles!
Truly exceptional in every way!We stayed 2 wonderful nights with Juhu Farmstay and it was an absolutely fantastic experience from start to finish! We made some new friends too! This is now my joint favorite B&B in Taiwan, Errantry Lodge in Hualien being the other. This is a working fruit farm (persimmons, bananas, oranges) located high up in the hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is about 4km off Route 11 along a narrow, winding road which is well signposted. There are 3 rooms and all offer epic views down the valley with the Pacific in the background. The hosts, Mr. & Mrs. Lai and Glee are very friendly, nothing is too much trouble. We arrived and didn’t use the car until we left. There is so much to do, walks through the fruit trees watching the groups of monkeys eating the fruit in the distance. Climbs up to the top of the mountain which offers truly fabulous views and one of the best sunrises I have seen in a long time! Or just lazing in one of the hammocks enjoying the views. Breakfast and dinner are included and worthy of any 5-star restaurant. All the ingredients are local and fresh, much of the fruit and vegetables come from the farm. Everything is cooked and presented perfectly, with love, and the results are mouth wateringly tasty. After dinner everyone sat, talking and laughing into the evening. Internet speed is a bit slow but this is to be expected given how remote the farm is. It was enough for basic browsing and voice calls but photo uploads took longer. No problem for us as we came to get away from the ‘net! I can’t say enough good things about our time here, it was without a doubt perfect. We will be returning to see our new friends again when we come back to Taiwan next year. Thank you to everyone for making us feel so at home and part of the family.
New York City, New York
Excellent hospitalityFamily trip with a 3.5 year old and a 5 month old. We stayed here for 5D4N, signed up for Mr Lai to bring us around and also for all our meals. We chose the room that was furthest away from the pond (which had frogs croaking quite loudly). The room we had also had a platform which they laid with a thin mattress and a comforter over. My 5 month old and I slept here for the 4 nights while my 3.5 yo and my husband slept on the bed (lined with the huge cushions from the sofa). Not going to lie that it was quite pricey to have all the accommodation and food and sightseeing covered but we didn't have much time to plan and with 2 cranky kids, it's great that you don't have to worry about the itinerary! Mr Lai and his wife (and other family members including Xiao Yi their 3.5 yo dog) were incredibly hospitable and generous. They treated us like family and we were very comfortable around them, so much so that my 3.5 yo was sad to leave on the last day and said, "but I love them!" Itinerary wise, it's very flexible and Mr Lai is very experienced. He is able to cater to your needs and understands how to keep kids occupied! He could arrange activities that my 3.5 yo would be engaged in (and yet allow us to do some form of touristy sight seeing) and also was extremely patient with him. My 3.5 yo is now in a very commandeering mode in terms of pretend play (e.g. you stand here, you do this, you do that etc) and yet, despite the language barrier, Mr Lai calmly and patiently played according to my 3.5 yo's fancy. During meal times, either Mr Lai or his wife, Mei Ju would help to carry and entertain our 5 month old so that we parents, could enjoy our meal. If meals were outside, Mr Lai always finds local delights that satisfy our tummies to the fullest, places where the locals visit. If dining at the homestay, it's not only highly varied but always healthy (meat, carbs, fruits, veg) yet yummy! Mei Ju sometimes bakes the bread and she tries to steer clear of sugar and uses e.g. banana to sweeten it. The breads are super moist and fluffy and not too sweet. Mr Lai was also very generous with the fruits he grows on his farm; my 3.5 yo unashamedly kept asking to eat the thick creamy and flavourful ba jiao (a type of banana) and the pomelos (super sweet and not bitter at all unlike some that I've bought at the SG supermarkets). There was also a night when Mr Lai tried to bring my 3.5 yo on a barking deer (山羌) hunt. We managed to see 1 resting under the tree quite far away. We also heard a couple of owls which he tried to find for us but my toddler insisted on heading back to the room since it was pitch black. Mr Lai is really knowledgeable too, introducing us to the different plants/fruits/insects/animals; too bad I can't retain much. Lol. 3 notes before I end: 1) the walk from dining area to the rooms >> uphill task. Literally. Thankfully Mr Lai graciously offers to carry my 3.5yo (who refuses to do the walk and says he's scared/tired) most of the time :) 2) bring insect repellent. like LOADS if you're prone to mozzie bites like me and lather it on yourself. even if you're walking, they'll come after you! 3) try to bring a good pair of shoes and long pants to walk the farm (taller weeds can get really annoying at times). if you have those waterproof shoes good too because we had the opportunity to play at the stream. if not, just go in barefoot it's fine.
Definitely worth the journeyHospitable owners, comfortable room, tranquil surroundings, cute family dog to play with, getting to eat all kinds of fruits on your walks in the farm, what's there not to like? Mr. Lai is patient with our 18 month old daughter and keeps her entertained with toys improvised with the products of mother nature. Upon observing how much the little one loves to eat, he made sure that there's always food for her, anytime, anywhere! The view at the property is amazing. The night sky was dotted with stars and we even got to see a flying fox in action! Meal times were also great. We get to enjoy home cooked food with fresh produce. Mrs. Lai is a wonderful cook and they always made sure that they fill us to the brim with a wide variety of food. And of course, the immensely cute Xiao Yi will be waiting at your table with puppy eyes, pleading for you to spare him some food. Would love to visit Juhu again, miss the place already!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of Taitung County Government and TripAdvisor LLC.