Cigu Salt Mountain and the Taiwan Salt Museum

Cigu Salt Mountain

The Cigu Salt Mountain is a remnant of Cigu's historical salt production.

Cigu Salt Mountain and the Taiwan Salt Museum

(Qīgǔ Yánshān gēn Táiwān Yán Bówùguǎn 七股鹽山跟台灣博物館)

tourists climbing the salt mountain

tourists climbing the salt mountain

If you mention Cigu to most people, they will invariable think of salt. Due to the area’s long history of generating salt and its current contribution of over 60% of the nations salt production, it is pretty clear why the area is so renown for this mineral substance. The tourist industry has also helped with the fame. In addition to those just coming to view and photograph the salt plains, there are a couple of tourist sites that have given a boost to Ciqu’s notoriety. The Cigu Salt Mountain and the Taiwan Salt Museum are both a fun way to learn about Taiwan’s former backbone industry.

The Cigu Salt Mountain, or Qigu Yanshan, is both a postcard image for the area and an entertainment site. This quirky place may give you little background into the salt industry, but it’s worth seeing just for how bizarre it is. The mountain itself is a two hectare mound of salt left over from the Taiwan Salt Corporation’s Cigu Salt Fields. It is climbable, and the surrounding view of the ever-flat area surrounding it is enjoyed by busloads of aged tourists on a daily basis. Steps have been carved into the hard salt to make for easy climbing.

Santa's Workshop

Nothing says Santa like a salt mountain.

More interesting than the hill itself is the strange atmosphere that has grown around it. The grounds around the salt mountain look a little like an abandoned theme park. For one thing, there’s a broken down Santa’s workshop with a  mock-up of Santa and his reindeer ready for a photo-op. What Santa has to do with a salt mountain, I have no idea. It must be a salt = white + snow = white + snow = Santa means that salt = Santa kind of formula. There are also pony rides, an off-road go-cart course, paddle boats on a lagoon, and a salt water spa that looks clean, but completely disused. The whole situation looks like the remnants of someone’s poorly thought-out idea to make the salt mountain more marketable. If a few hours at the mountain aren’t enough, there’s an island on the lagoon where you can rent barbecue space and even pitch a tent for an overnight stay. I would wager than most people just climb the salt mountain, take in the view and then leave.

Taiwan Salt Museum

Taiwan Salt Museum

The Taiwan Salt Museum is right next door and is a little more informative, but also rather quirky. It is, after all, built inside of a double pyramid. Here you could learn about the science of salt, the history of the salt industry in Taiwan, and the use of salt world-wide. I say could because, with the exception of the overview display on the first floor, all the descriptions are strictly in Chinese. It’s still worth visiting, though. Even if you can’t read, you can still get a lot of the experience due to the visual information. There are some very telling and nicely crafted wax recreations of salt planes work scenes, various visual aids, and some interactive learning. Still, bringing along someone who can translate and explain would really heighten the experience.

one of the displays of working on the salt flats

one of the displays of working on the salt flats

There are four floors of displays detailing salt and the salt industry. On the first floor, there is also a gift shop where you can buy various salt products including things like soap made from salt. Outside of the museum are some example salt flats where you can try your hand at what a hard days work in the salt industry must feel like.

The salt industry in Taiwan dates back over 300 years to the early Chinese settlers. But with cheaper salt being imported from other countries, this is a dying industry in Taiwan. Qigu is one of the last places in the country you can find working salt flats. A few years from now, Ciqu Salt Mountain and the Taiwan Salt Museum may be all that’s left.

To get there from Zhonghua East Road, take highway 17 north to Cigu. Turn left on route 176 and follow the signs.

Cigu Salt Mountain

Admission: NT$50

Hours: Daily 9:00AM ~ 6:00PM

Phone: (06) 7800511

Location: No. 66 Yengcheng Village, Cigu Township, Tainan County

Taiwan Salt Museum

Admission: Adult: NT$130, Concession: NT$80

Hours: Open Daily 9:00AM ~ 5:30PM (6:30PM May to October); closed on the third Wednesday every month

Phone: (06) 7800990

Location: No. 69 Yengcheng Village, Cigu Township, Tainan County

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Comments
4 Responses to “Cigu Salt Mountain and the Taiwan Salt Museum”
  1. Arnaud says:

    Once I saw a picture of my niece with her big jacket playing with snow. I asked where she had gone skiing. I was then told that it is the salt mountain. I had forgotten that Taiwanese wear ski jackets when the temperature plummets below 20 degrees…
    Anyway, if I thought she went skying, why not a Santa…

    • tainancity says:

      I can see where photos of the salt hill might just look like snow if people were dressed in their winter coats. It also looked like you could sled down the salt hill, but that just seems like an injury waiting to happen. Good thing liability lawsuits are a rarity here.

  2. Angeline says:

    Hi,

    I would like to go to the Cigu Salt fields in July.. Any idea how to get there from tainan via public transport?

    I will taking a train from Kaoshiong to Tainan.

    Thanks!

    • tainancity says:

      I’m not sure exactly how to get there on public transport. Bus number 7667 goes out to Cigu, but not necessarily the salt fields. It also doesn’t pass Tainan train station. Bus 99 goes to the Sihcao Salt Field Eco Culture village which has some of the same things as Cigu and would be much more convenient. If you’re scooter friendly, I’d say rent a scooter outside the train station and ride up. It would give you more flexibility in exploring the area. If you can only do public transport, I’d say ask the nice folks in the information center at Tainan Station. They usually speak good English and are knowledgeable about that sort of thing.

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