Immediately inland from Taitung, the Maolin National Scenic Area occupies a nexus of deep river valleys, surrounded by dramatic, wooded mountains that are rich in wildlife and flora. In 2009 this idyllic region was devastated by a typhoon. Many of its villages had to be relocated.
One large settlement, however, survived the storm, and serves as a target for trips into this spectacular area. Located at an altitude of 1,000m, Wutai, in Pingtung County, comprises half a dozen hamlets inhabited by members of the Rukai indigenous minority.
Many of the houses are built in traditional style, of dry slate, and if you’re lucky you’ll meet locals wearing handwoven tunics, accompanied by headdresses with fronds of bracken stuffed into them for good luck.