Why Manzhou Township in Kenting is called Little Switzerland of Taiwan?

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Why Manzhou Township in Kenting is called Little Switzerland of Taiwan?

Since when and why Manzhou Township in Kenting’s “wild side” is called “Taiwan’s Little Switzerland”?

It is because of the green meadows that can be seen everywhere in the creek river basin of the port. These are all the pastures planted by farmers.
Manzhou, a pure “wild side” of Kenting – is located already at the east side of the Taiwan, and usually, if you glance at any of tourist guides, the main symbol of the area with being the eagle, and this is true –  Manzhou County is located in a valley, and surrounded by mounds. Since the mountains form a natural barrier, it is the best place to shelter from the Hengchun winds.

With the added attraction of abundant vegetation, the Gray-faced Buzzard Hawks have for many years selected the mountainous forest areas to be their roosting stop during their long southbound migration. One year, more than one thousand hawks were recorded to have visited there.

However the lesser-known fact is – Manzhou, and also several other parts of the Kenting are home to magnificent meadows, used as pastures and places later gather the hay. 

Pangola Grass in Manzhou

Pangola Grass meadow in Manzhou

In the summer and autumn season of every year, the oily green pasture is the most important landscape of the valley alluvial land.

When it is winter, it is time to harvest pasture. Firstly, the grass is pruned by using the mechanical harvester, and the cut grass should be laid out in rows for exposure to sun and for turning of the grass. Then, the grass collector is used to collect grass, and then the machine is used to pack pasture bales of three hundred kilograms for each bundle, before pasture bales can be carried to the car and transported away.

Longzipu grassland is another must-visit place in Kenting not only for a grass – located just above Chuanfanshi (Sail Rock) beach area, this place not only offers a great view of grassland, but also a birds-eye view on Chuanfanshi Beach and homestays at the area.

360° Video made at Longzipu Grassland

Since there are only few large-scale pasture planting places in Taiwan, during the annual pasture harvesting season, every place where pasture is planted has become attraction for tourist to chase for the “grass cutting show”, so it will look something like this:

grass harvesting in manzhou

If you already have browsed a bit on our Kenting Interactive Tourist Map – in the Manzhou area, you will notice a pretty famous place, called Ocean Day By Day Park & Cafe.

We also featured it as one of 5 cafes that you can consider visiting while you are in Kenting.
What is particularly specific in there, that whole the park (asides from being located just near the ocean), is – yes, you guessed it – the same grass haystacks that are a landmark of the Manzhou area! 

Take a walk yourself in our Virtual Tour:

 

In the creek river basin of the port, the downhill wind prevails after the autumn of every year, and general crops cannot resist this unusually dry and cold wind.

Only the pasture grass and a few crops are not affected, and this is the main reason why farmers in Manzhou area will choose to plant pasture.

In the pasture areas where the downhill wind prevails, most of the plants are Pangola grass –  they are perennial Gramineae Digitaria, which are also known as Digitaria decumbens.

They are introduced from Philippines around 46 years of the Republic of China and they like to grow at rainy, high temperate areas with an altitude of below one thousand meters. Their soil adaptability is quite wide, and they have been planted in Hsinchu, Tainan, Pingtung, and other places during early days.

In Taiwan, the most important production area is Hengchun Peninsula.

local pangola grass production area worker

Weight of the each bundle can exceed 300 kilograms!

Pangola grass, which is suitable for planting in the tropics, has aboveground stem with a strong creeping extensibility.

Additionally, every section of the stem can take root. From May till October, there is flowering period.

There are four to five columns of the raceme; they have finger-shaped arrangement, but lack of seeds.Therefore, the way of propagation can only rely on cuttings or divisions.

Pangola Grass is rich of fiber, and is easy digested by a cattle.

The plant can reach a height of 50 to 70 cm, and the leaf sheath has sparse soft hairs. The leaves are smooth and hairless; the leaf bodies are soft.

The
dairy cows fed with them have milk with a particularly delicious taste, and the meat of the beef cattle fed with them are also quite tender. They have always been the most popular pasture in animal husbandry;

Manzhou Township once had up to seventy percent of the fields planted with this grass, and the annual turnover could be more than 30 million dollars.

manzhou farmer with grass bundles

Plantation of grass not only need fertilization, but also removal of weeds which is more troublesome.

The purpose of doing so is to ensure that there will be no other mixing weeds during harvesting. It is often possible to see people squatting or standing while weeding in the emerald-green pasture fields.

The price of pasture will greatly vary depending on the weeds it contains, and the price of pure grasses with “simple grass appearance” can often be 20% to 30% higher than that of those grasses containing other weeds. It may even exceed 50%.

You can now buy Pangola grass even in e-commerce websites, such as Shopee, and price will be around NTD60 for a 1 kg:

pangola grass price to buy online

This shopee seller offers Pangola grass for your rabbit online for ntd60 for 1 kg. 

Hengchun Peninsula is rainy and high temperate during spring and summer period. This is the most suitable planting period for Pangola grass.

They not only grow rapidly, but also contain high nutrients. After entering autumn and winter, when grass grows till about 60 to 80 cm, and the growth rate becomes slow, then it is time to harvest pasture.

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