No.326, Sec. 2, Wenhua Rd., Rende Dist., Tainan City 717, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
In Japanese Colonial Era, a huge amount of sugar cane was planted in Taiwan because the climate was suitable and the war demanded sugar. After World War II, the Japanese withdrew from Taiwan, yet they left quite a few sugar mills and exclusive railways. However, as industries were upgrading, land prices rising, and imported products getting cheaper, many sugar mills became disused. Some were razed to the ground so the land could be sold to financial groups, while others were preserved and remodeled into a creative park. Ten Drum Art Percussion Group has procured two mills: one in Qiaotou (橋頭), Kaohsiung, the other in Rende (仁德), Tainan. The group renovated old warehouses to demonstrate the production process of drums. Visitors can play the drums by themselves, and there are percussion groups performing here regularly.
While the music is impressive, the more fascinating part lies at the end of the rails. Walk along the rails, you are actually leaving the warehouse and heading to the factory in Rende Sugar Mill. First, you will see three molasses tanks. Walk inside you'll see a cafe with industrial-style decor that outshine all the Taipei cafes of the same style. Industrial lamps are studded on the inside wall of the tank, and an opening is kept on the top of the tank to let the sunshine in. Walk to the top along the stairs, you can overlook the sugar mill. Cross a footbridge, you find yourself at another molasses tank, which has a huge spiral slide and a playground with color balls. Later, continue your trip on the visiting route, you'll walk into the major production factory. The three or four stories high massive machinery are somewhat rusty, and the pipelines in the building look even more ancient. Yet to make visitors feel the production process better, some of the machines are deliberately repaired and are functioning with special sound effects, as if they were bringing people to 100 years ago. Visitors feel flushed with excitement while walking to and forth among the machines of all sizes and looking at various controllers, complicate wires, and gears taller than a man.
Leave the factory and go back outdoors, you can ascend the Skywalk to stroll around the Five Elements Holy Tree (五行聖樹). Take a close look from the roots to the branches, as if you were exploring in a forest. Then return to the warehouse, where you can read an introduction to the century-old sugar mill and buy some freshly-baked bread. In the gardens within the creative park, you can admire flowers and butterflies in a specially planned greenhouse area. Finally, when stepping out of the park, you can sample a red-bean flavored popsicles to cool off the heat.