In 1987, the New Era Resort & Spa was established for the simple purpose of showcasing the beautiful sculptures of Lin Yuan, a highly respected Taiwanese sculptor. Through the years, however, this 6.6-hectare park has evolved into a leading tourist destination, complete with vacation cabins, conference areas, art facilities, a restaurant (widely known for its healthy French-inspired vegetarian dishes), spa and garden. These facilities give tourists a number of reasons to come and visit, other than appreciating Taiwanese art.
Located at Puli in Nantou, the New Era Art Resort & Spa is the first of its kind in Asia. This private facility was built by Huang Bin Sung, the proud owner of the stone sculptures of Lin Yuen on display within the park. Also displayed are sculptures done by Yang Ying Feng and Chu Ming. These three sculptors were all born in the year of the Ox, which is why the garden inside the park is named “Ox Year Arts Garden”.
Lin Yuen is known as a plain artist because most of his works are on plain nature. His hand skills were developed early in life as he did some stone cutting and carpentry work when he was only 17 years old. He was also a farmer. He lived a life as a farmer, carpenter and stone cutter until the ripe old age of 65. He began his career as an artist at 65 and at 68 he was already a well-known artist. All his sculptures are products of his bare hands and pieces of nature, without any aid from modern tools or technologies. He did not attend any formal art school and so his style is completely of his own making and in-born creativity. The park’s Stone Sculpture Garden and Lin Yuen Arts Gallery are dedicated in displaying his works from the last 10 years, which are the park’s main attractions.
Other than sculptures, some of his works on display are drawings on wood, embroidery, metalwork, stonecutting, and so on. New Era Art Resort & Spa also offers a Children’s Art Gallery Hall, Handicraft Shops, Honey Bee Farm, Paper Making Demonstrations, Local Arts Exhibits, Tea Houses, and Food Halls. The garden is marked with different kinds of plants and always alive with the singing of birds. And since the park is also spa, there are also a variety of spa facilities such as steam rooms, saunas, herbal bath areas, and swimming pools.
New Era Art Resort & Spa is situated on Chungsan Road Section 4, in Puli Township, Nantou County. To reach it, tourists must take a Nantou bus from the Taichung train station to Puli. It is not difficult to find since people in the area know about it. If coming by car, tourists must drive through National Highway 1 to National Highway 3, National Highway 6, through Ailan Interchange, and finally through Provincial Highway 14. The park is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during the summer, and 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during winter. Room rates range from NT$2,800 to NT$7,200.