January was one of the busiest and best months I have ever had chasing waterfalls in Taiwan. The combination of great weather and seemingly endless holidays meant that I went camping 13 days on 4 different trips. Overall I visited 20 waterfalls and added 13 more to my waterfall guide.

February is also going to be a great month with the second half of Chinese New Year and the 4 day 2/28 holiday weekend. After that I will be slowing down and concentrating on blog/guide/website/social media updates. I currently have 9 waterfalls (+3 from the Philippines still), 8 hikes, 4 cool campgrounds and many blog posts to write or update. The goal will be to write 1 or 2 a day and try to get all caught up sometime this spring so I can direct my attention to website improvements and building my social media referrals. Instagram and Facebook are going quite well but I have only dabbled in Pinterest a little and haven’t even tried other forms. I find Flipboard particularly interesting and I should establish a Twitter channel but I hate the platform.

January started out with a fantastic 3 day holiday weekend. I first visited Caihong Waterfall 4 years ago but it was getting late and I only saw the 200 meter waterfall from the parking lot. I finally completed the hike and the trail ends at a smaller tier with a stunning swimming hole.

The main focus of the weekend was river tracing up to Sanzhan’s Golden Grotto. I spent all week checking the weather and luckily the temps remained unseasonably warm and the forecast was dry. I had really high expectations for this hike and it exceeded them. This is without a doubt one of my five favorite waterfalls in Taiwan. And I still need to write the waterfall guide and a separate blog for it.

We also visited three other smaller waterfalls that weekend. None of these will be on my favorites list although that is a pretty elite list.

Saguer Waterfall is a nice short hike in Hualien City and Caihong Waterfall (a second Caihong Waterfall) is part of a beautiful and rarely visited valley near Liyutan (Carp Pond).

My favorite was Zimu Waterfall near Mugumuyu in Hualien County. Mugumuyu is famous for its blue waters and swimming holes. It is so famous that they restrict entry to 600 people/day but it was unfortunately closed (and will be closed for awhile) due to a landslide. Outside of the police station I found a map with a mysterious waterfall on it. We checked it out and although the waterfall was small we found a perfect bluegreen swimming hole that Mugumuyu is famous for but without the hassle of a permit.

The following weekend I had planned to stay home but the weather was so nice and I really wanted to see maple trees so I planned a trip to Shimenggu and Shipangu in Chiayi County. Shipangu is a very nice hiking trail with several maple trees alongside the trail. The best spot was at one end of the suspension bridge but it doesn’t compare to back home or in Japan. So far in Taiwan I have seen scattered maples and other trees turn red, orange or yellow but not an entire hillside.

Shimenggu remains one of my favorite day hikes in all of Taiwan. This trail has it all. There is a giant suspension bridge, a deep and long valley, giant bamboo, a beautiful garden at an old farmhouse, maple trees, a waterfall, giant cypress trees, mossy forests and amazing pools. This time we hiked up a hidden canyon and believe that this is the reason that the place is called Shimenggu (Stone Dream Valley). This is a side hike that everyone should do when they visit. I plan on going back this summer when the waterfall in the hidden valley is flowing.

My only Tuesday hike this month with the Southern Taiwan Hiking Group was to Wanan Waterfall. The waterfall is impressively tall falling in 4 tiers but we found a secret butterfly valley (blog coming soon or perhaps someday…). We found at least a dozen different kinds of butterflies and the largest swarm of Maolin’s famous purple butterflies that I have ever seen. There were 100’s of them in the trees.

Every couple of months my junior high school students (4 classes) have a big test at their school and they study for that instead of coming to English class. I barely have any classes to teach that week and I go hiking and camping instead. This time I went to Hsinchu. I had been to Hsinchu twice before but I had a huge list of places I wanted to see and many I wanted to go back to. Yuanyang Valley Waterfall was my first stop. I had been there once before but I was rushed and didn’t go back to the final waterfall.

Next up on the list was one of northern Taiwan’s best waterfalls. Maliguang Waterfall is a long drive from pretty much anywhere but the hike is short and the waterfall is spectacular. They lie about the height though. It isn’t anywhere close to 80 meters tall.

After Maliguang I decided to check out the Guanwu Forest Recreation Area. It is a long drive but a couple of waterfalls have been on my list for years. I stopped at Baxian Waterfall and observed it from really far away since there isn’t a known trail that accesses the bottom. Followxiaofei and I are looking (more him than I…) for info on how to safely get to the bottom since the waterfall looks amazing.

My main goal was to find Guanwu Waterfall though. I had mistakenly thought that this waterfall was part of the Dabajianshan hike (the famous mountain on the 500 TWD bill) but there are other interesting waterfalls on that hike (which I must do sometime). Guanwu Waterfall is around 100 meters tall and has its own hiking trail in the park.

But the Zhenshan Trail stole the show at Guanwu Recreation Area. Dabajianshan deservedly is the main reason that people go to Guanwu but the Zhenshan Trail was spectacular even though you can barely see Zhenshan Waterfall through the trees. It isn’t an easy trail but I loved the forest and the views could be amazing if you get there before the afternoon fog. I also want to return and hike the Kuaishan Giant Tree Trail at Guanwu.

My final trip of the month was to Nantou for the first half of our Chinese New Year vacation. It was a little disappointing that the bridge to Momonaer Waterfall was being replaced but the Chunyang Hot Spring Campground was amazing. They have 19 private hot spring baths and a large community pool to relax after a long day hiking.

Our first hike didn’t involve a waterfall but Hehuanshan instead. Hehuanshan has 5 different peaks but 3 of them are fairly easy. They should be hiked but they are short walks on paved roads or stairs. North Peak however is a great hike and it is on the way to West Peak. Full details of Hehuanshan are included in this blog post but North Peak and West Peak are really difficult. We averaged a pathetic 1.25 km/hour due to the elevation gains and losses (and being slow). At the halfway mark we chose to turn around because we would have been hiking until 8 or 9pm or later (6pm sunset) to finish the hike. I will have to return another time to finish this hike.

Hehuanshan

We took it easy the next day and went to Jingying Hot Spring. Luckily Jingying Hot Spring has a really cool waterfall upstream.

On the final day of the trip we went to Aowanda Recreation Area which was predictably busy. The bridge and forests are still cool but they have built a new trail and viewing platform for the waterfall. They also built a new Maple Tree Trail which we didn’t have time to do this weekend.

The last waterfall for the weekend was a bit of a surprise. I had known about Shuishang Waterfall for a few years due to Richard Saunders but had never been in the area to check it out. I finally had a few hours on the drive home and took the opportunity to check it out. We started hiking down the trail and it was really, really dry. We expected the waterfall to be completely dry also but we found a little oasis. It was perfect.

So this was just January. I don’t expect to keep up this kind of pace any longer but it was a pretty great month. All (almost all) of the places above have been updated in the waterfall guide and I am busy writing up everything else. I hope you had a great January also.

2016 was an absolutely incredible year for me. I visited over 100 waterfalls in four different countries and am part of a new and growing hiking group in southern Taiwan (Southern Taiwan Hiking Group – FB). My waterfall guide has grown to 150 waterfalls (end of January) and over 50 more in 4 other countries. 2017 will see a focus on getting to the last really important waterfalls in Taiwan such that I will be able to publish a Taiwan’s Waterfalls guidebook someday. This is a daunting task but step 1 is collecting the information and writing it down. I hope to have information on 200 waterfalls by the time I self-publish. For the latest updates you can follow me at Taiwan’s Waterfalls FB and Taiwan’s Waterfalls IG.

My next goal is to start doing more international trips. Indonesia is one of my favorite countries and I have found so many interesting and incredible waterfalls there. Japan has always interested me but I am usually busy during the summer and fall and haven’t been able to schedule a trip yet. I also want to cover the major waterfalls in all of the East Asian countries and visit Europe sometime. I have a future expansion of my waterfall guide planned. Right now I hide my international trips on my Taiwan’s Waterfalls website but soon they will have their own website (bought the domain) with their own IG and FB accounts. You can start following them now Planet Waterfall IG and Planet Waterfall FB.

One other big first for me this year was publishing a Taiwan’s Waterfalls calendar. I didn’t do much promoting it but I did sell 80 copies of it. This is something I definitely plan on doing again next year and hopefully come up with an even better plan for selling it. The calendar is print on demand so all you need is a credit card and lulu.com will ship anywhere in the world. Click to view the calendar on lulu.com

I hope that everyone’s 2016 was great and I hope that some of you were able to use my waterfall guide to visit some great places. Did anyone do something particularly memorable in 2016? Does anyone have any big 2017 plans?

My top waterfalls from 2015

My 2016 waterfall to do list (did 8/10)

My 2014 year in review (link)

  1. I started last year by going to Baiyang Waterfall in Taroko Gorge on January 1st. My sister and brother-in-law braved the horrible holiday traffic on the way to one of Taroko Gorge’s best places. The hike to the waterfall passes through (at least) 8 tunnels along an old road before arriving at the waterfall. The traffic leaving Taroko Gorge was awful unfortunately. I cannot believe they don’t have some sort of traffic control on peak traffic days to avoid buses getting stuck in the narrow roads. Multiple times we (and many cars behind us) had to back up due to a buses coming uphill.

Find out more about Baiyang Waterfall

2. Longgong (Dragon Palace) Waterfall in Chiayi had been on my to do list for a long time. At Longgong Waterfall hikers are able to go behind the waterfall via a cleft in the rock.

Find out more about Longgong Waterfall

3. At Chinese New Year I planned my entire trip to North Sumatra around visiting Sipisopiso Waterfall. It didn’t disappoint at all. The waterfall is over 100 meters tall and all you need to do is turn around for a great view of Lake Toba. The hike is nothing special (600+ stairs) but it is a magnificent waterfall.

Find out more about Sipisopiso Waterfall

4. I had high expectations for Sipisopiso Waterfall but I knew very little about Dua Warna Waterfall prior to visiting. Dua Warna is less visited and it follows a trail for 4 km through a beautiful forest. Dua Warna falls 25-30 meters into a stunning turquoise blue pool surrounded by green walls. It is one of the most beautiful waterfalls. Sadly, a flash flood occurred this year and about 20 university students were killed. The waterfall remains closed the last that I heard.

Find out more about Dua Warna Waterfall

5. During the 2/28 holiday Asher (followxiaofei.com) and I hiked the Shimenggu Trail in Chiayi and this is the trail that I repeatedly tell people is my favorite hike. The waterfall is nice but this trail has it all. You start by hiking up a nearly straight, 500 meter tall valley. There is a suspension bridge to 1000 person cave and Shuiyang Lake. There is an old farmhouse with a beautiful garden with cherry blossoms, rhododendrons and maple trees. Sadly most of the giant cypress trees were illegally logged recently but one still stands next to the trail. I returned this year and explored the valley above Qingrengu Waterfall and I can see why this place is called Shimenggu (Stone Dream Valley).

Find out more about Qingrengu Waterfall

6. Hudie (Butterfly) Waterfall is part of one of the 7 Guguan Heroes hikes in Taichung. I didn’t think the Tangmadanshan Hike was that great but Hudie Waterfall is a really nice one.

Find out more about Hudie Waterfall

7. Wutai in Pingtung County is one of the best regions for checking out waterfalls in Taiwan. Feilong (Flying Dragon) Waterfall was another great find by Asher (followxiaofei.com). This was also the start of our Tuesday morning hikes with the Southern Taiwan Hiking Group (FB). Most English teachers don’t start work until 5pm on Tuesdays and we took advantage of that by going out for morning hikes to some great places.

Find out more about Feilong Waterfall

8. I grew up in Minnesota and took many trips to the peaceful Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) but I didn’t spend much time exploring the rest of the north shore in Minnesota. I went home in June last year and dragged my family to a total of 13 waterfalls on my trip home. Minnesota has an amazing system of state parks and the north shore is wildly underrated nationally in my opinion. The High Falls of the Baptism River at Tettegouche State Park is just one of the great waterfalls along the north shore of Lake Superior.

Find out more about High Falls on the Baptism River

9. The High Falls on Pigeon River is located on Minnesota/Canada border and is legitimately one of the top 25 or 50 waterfalls in the US. My trip home occurred weeks after heavy rains hit the state and all of the waterfalls looked amazing.

Find out more about High Falls on the Pigeon River

10. Fenghuang Waterfall isn’t particularly large and the hike isn’t that great down 1500 stairs but it is a great swimming hole. This was one of trips where the Southern Taiwan Hiking Group really came together as a group. 14 of us hung out for one afternoon and kicked off a great fall and winter of exploring Taiwan.

Find out more about Fenghuang Waterfall

11. Shiwang (Lion King) Waterfall had been on Asher’s (followxiaofei.com) to do list for a long time but I never had any really good information or photos of the place. The area is really, really steep and I had thought it might be inaccessible by normal hikers. Asher’s persistance paid off on a tip from some elderly Taiwanese hikers and we found the trail down to the waterfall. I plan on going back this spring using the river from Sandimen because I didn’t like this hike at all. It descends about 300 meters in only 1 km on broken slate. The other route might be longer but likely more enjoyable.

Find out more about Shiwang Waterfall

12. Rainy weekends and later on typhoons affected Taiwan all summer and we took very few trips. I had looked forward to the 4 day Moon Festival holiday weekend for weeks and was devastated when a typhoon was going to ruin our plans. In less than 24 hours I booked a plane ticket and landed in East Java to explore waterfalls. My favorite waterfall was obvious (the next one) but many of them could have been on this list. I had done a lot of research on this area but I missed Watu Ondo Waterfall and only found this one because I was looking for others.

Find out more about Watu Ondo Waterfall

13. I really enjoyed my East Java trip in September but Madakaripura Waterfall absolutely blew me away. It falls 200 meters into a hollow green tube. This is without question my favorite waterfall that I have ever been to.

Find out more about Madakaripura Waterfall

14. Almost immediately after returning from Indonesia I flew to the Philippines for the TBEX (Travel Blogger Exchange). That event was outstanding and it was the perfect excuse to explore southern Cebu and Kawasan Falls.  Kawasan Falls is famous internationally for its amazing blue waters but the atmosphere suffers a little bit due it being built up with restaurants. My recommendation is to do the full day canyoneering trip down to Kawasan Falls.

Find out more about Kawasan Falls

15. Kawasan Falls might be the most famous waterfall in Cebu but Inambakan Falls was easily my favorite. The biggest reason is that there were very few people and it was nearly as beautiful as Kawasan. Southern Cebu unlike much of the Philippines is terrible for farming but it contains a lot of limestone and every one of its waterfalls had beautiful blue pools.

Find out more about Inambakan Falls

16. Yunsen Waterfall is a great waterfall on one of the nicest waterfall hikes in northern Taiwan. The trail is easy and passes through a beautiful forest. Stronger hikers can see up to 8 waterfalls if they do the longer version of the hike to Manyueyuan.

Find out more about Yunsen Waterfall

17. Aohua Waterfall is really, really far from Kaohsiung but I loved this less known waterfall on the east coast. I look forward to taking a trip back here sometime.

Find out more about Aohua Waterfall

I have been to about twenty countries and most of Southeast Asia but Indonesia is one country that has completely blown me away. Indonesia is made up of 13,000-18,000 islands (no agreement apparently) and stretches over an area that is nearly as big as the continental US. Indonesia’s numerous volcanoes (many over 2000 meters), heavy rainfall and tropical temperatures result in a lush landscape with 1000’s of incredible waterfalls. I have just started exploring this amazing country.

Check out my trip to Bali’s Waterfalls in June 2015

Indonesia has impressed me so much that I have visited three times in less than two years and I am already planning my next trip (Lombok). My trip to East Java was a spur of the moment decision and planned less than two days. In September a big typhoon was headed to Taiwan on a Wednesday and in addition both Thursday and Friday were holidays that would have been ruined by bad weather so I took advantage of the time off and left Taiwan just before the typhoon hit. Luckily I had done a fair amount of research on Indonesia and had a good idea where I wanted to go. I still missed many great waterfalls that I have learned about through Instagram through many of the Indonesians that I follow. Follow me on Instagram

I started my trip by staying in a hostel in Malang and renting a motorcycle to explore the first 4 waterfalls in 2 days. After that I hired a private car to take me to Madakaripura Waterfall and then to meet my sister in Surabaya. I had completely underestimated how long it would take to travel between places and I should have limited my trip to the Malang and Probolinggo regions but I really wanted to see Grojogan Sewu Waterfall (#8 below) so my sister and I ended up riding long distances in hired cars. After meeting my sister we hired a second driver and stayed in Madiun and Yogyakarta before flying to our respective Asian homes (Taiwan for me and Jakarta for her).

Check out my trip to North Sumatra’s Waterfall (February 2016)

Indonesia is always hot so you can’t time your trip for cooler weather but there are distinct wet and dry seasons. Java and eastward tends to be rainy from December to March and then dryer the rest of the year. The best time to see waterfalls would be March to May but many of these big waterfalls should flow year round.

What waterfall recommendations do you have for me in East Java and the rest of Indonesia? I want to visit everywhere in this beautiful country.

  1. I started my trip with Pelangi Waterfall on the slopes of Mt Bromo. Pelangi Waterfall is one of the waterfalls that can be combined a Mt. Bromo sunrise tour (from Malang). It is a short hike into a deep lush valley. I was very impressed by the effort given by the locals to keep it clean (mostly clean).

                    

Click for directions to Pelangi Waterfall

2. Rondo Waterfall is one of the best known waterfalls in the Batu area. There isn’t much of a hike but the waterfall is quite impressive. There were other waterfalls in this region that are more remote that I will explore on my next trip.

Click for directions to Rondo Waterfall

3. Talun Waterfall isn’t located too far away from Rondo Waterfall but it only gets a fraction of the visitors. The short hike goes through a varied landscape before a steep downhill to the waterfall. It isn’t as tall as most of the waterfalls on this list but it is one of my favorites.

Click for directions to Talun Waterfall

4. Watu Ondo Waterfall was one of my favorites on the trip. It was a little off of the beaten path so it wasn’t too crowded (on a weekday) and the trail down to the waterfall provided perfect viewpoints the entire way down. As an added bonus there was a second smaller waterfall across from Watu Ondo Waterfall.

Click for directions to Watu Ondo Waterfall

5. Madakaripura Waterfall instantly became my favorite and the most impressive waterfall that I have ever visited. The stream isn’t particularly large but it is one of Indonesia’s tallest at 200 meters. But the most impressive part was walking into the 200 meter tall cylindrical tube with the green cliff walls towering above you. As an added bonus there is a smaller curtain waterfall that visitors will have to walk through before entering the green tube.

Click for directions to Madakaripura Waterfall

6. Sedudo Waterfall is one of East Java’s most famous and tallest waterfalls. It is fairly spectacular at 105 meters tall but the downfall of this popularity is a lack of nature. There were signs for two other waterfalls on the road to Sedudo Waterfall and these could have been the nice hike that I was looking for.

Click for directions to Sedudo Waterfall

7. Seweru Waterfall isn’t very big but it is located in an amazing gorge in a rarely traveled place. It takes the most effort to get there out of any on this list but it still isn’t very hard. Climbing over rocks and walking through the stream might be exciting for some. I loved the remoteness and the beauty of this waterfall.

Click for directions to Seweru Waterfall

8. I had such high expectations for Grojogan Sewu Waterfall and went way out of my way to get there. Because of these expectations, it was also the only disappointment of the trip. The waterfall itself is incredible but the area is overdeveloped, crowded and they use a significant two tiered pricing policy for foreigners. On weekends tickets cost 160,000 IDR (12 USD) compared to about 15,000 IDR for a local. Every other waterfall that I have visited so far in Indonesia was less than 25,000 IDR. I don’t mind paying 50% more or even double but 10x seemed ridiculous.

Click for directions to Grojogan Sewu Waterfall

Other waterfalls to check out next time. The links go to various blogs written in Indonesia Bahasa.

  1. Kapas Biru Waterfall
  2. Tumpak Sewu Waterfall
  3. Kakek Bodo Waterfall
  4. Jahe Waterfall
  5. Dolo Waterfall
  6. Canggu Waterfall
  7. Rais Waterfall
  8. Singkoromo Waterfall (near Sedudo Waterfall)
  9. Telaga Warna Waterfall

Last year I chose to go a slightly different route with my blog. Previously I would write a waterfall guide entry and then combine everything that happened on a weekend into one post. The result was blogs that largely duplicated the guide entries that I had written and jumbled mess of what we did. Instead of doing that I wanted to do more comprehensive regional blogs like the one that I did for Maolin (Explore Taiwan – Maolin and Duona) in April. I also wanted to do some best of lists like the 10 Best Easy Waterfall Hikes and North Sumatra’s Waterfalls. There were also some places or events like Shimenggu or The Wang Ye Boat Burning that needed much larger blogs to do them justice. Along with a few other recurring blog themes (Local Spotlight and Great Bloggers) this was the plan for the year.

Something happened though. I traveled so much and so often that it was impossible to work and to keep up with the waterfall guide entries. I visited 40 NEW waterfalls in Taiwan and 35 waterfalls in Minnesota, the Philippines, East Java and North Sumatra in addition to dozens that I have gone back to because I wanted better photos, better information, better maps or simply because they are great waterfalls. If you do that math I went to almost 100 waterfalls in 2016. Blogging became an afterthought since it was nearly impossible to keep up with all of the basic information in the waterfall guide entries.

The logical solution would be to scale back the number of trips that I go on but I have actually increased the number of trips so far in 2017. Taiwan received a nearly devastating amount of rain from two typhoons and a couple of heavy storms this fall. That combined with the unusually warm temperatures this winter has resulted in perfect waterfall chasing conditions. Not only is the weather perfect for hiking but I have swam at almost a dozen waterfalls in December and January. Maybe it will slow down in February (unlikely with so many holidays). Perhaps March…

So this year I am going to try to make an effort to do a brief rundown of all the waterfalls and places that I have visited each month. We will see how long I can accomplish that.

December’s first trip was a 3 day weekend to Taipei/New Taipei. I stayed at this spaceship themed hostel which was very interesting and was also able to meet many Taipei Hikers (FB group) that I hadn’t seen for awhile for a potluck dinner one night. More importantly though I was able to add 5 new waterfalls to my guide that weekend.

Yunsen Waterfall has been on my to do list for a long time but I chose not to do the whole loop to Manyueyuan so I will be back sometime to do it again.

Xiufeng Waterfall was my favorite of the three waterfalls on Dajianshan.

Silong Waterfall was a nice short hike that was pretty easy to get to.

I have also been leading hikes with the Southern Taiwan Hiking Group. One of benefits of teaching English in Asia is that most classes don’t start until the afternoon or even the evening. I lead 2-3 Tuesday hikes every month to places in Kaohsiung or Pingtung and have made really good progress on my local area to do list.

The Liangshan Waterfall trip was actually at the end of November but close enough. This was my 3rd trip to Liangshan and I finally got the perfect photo. No, I don’t know who that woman is. She showed up and posed for 3 minutes and then left.

Swan Lake is a rarely visited but once very popular recreation area. It isn’t easy to get to either Swan Lake Waterfall or Lover’s Lake Waterfall but it is awesome to be there with only your friends.

One of the bigger trips that I led in December was a Miaoli Research Trip. I had only been to one of the waterfalls before and I wanted a smaller group that could handle poor trail conditions. We visited the Luchang and the Taian Hot Springs areas and made it to 4 out of 5 of the waterfalls that I wanted to visit.

Kuhuatan Waterfall was a difficult to find but perfect swimming hole that our group didn’t fully enjoy in December. It would be great to return here with warmer temperatures.

Shenxian Waterfall is a nice waterfall made very famous by the Seediq Bale movie. It lacks the fun aspect since they ‘discourage’ people from going down to the waterfall. My favorite part was the hike from Shimen Bridge to Shenxian Waterfall. Of course, they strongly discourage this with ‘DANGER’ signs. This waterfall can officially be known as the No Fun Waterfall.

Shuiyun Waterfall was the highlight for the weekend. The waterfall drops into a beautiful side canyon full of interesting rock strata. Josh has always been in the right place at the right time for my photos. I only wish that his wardrobe didn’t consist of shades of gray. I also wish that he hadn’t moved back to the states. He has been an excellent waterfall adventuring companion for the last year.

The final trip of the year was a Christmas Day hike to Maolin and Duona. Guifu Canyon is one of my favorite places but this trip is one that I will think about for a long time. Three people in our group got caught in an eddy and couldn’t swim out. Everything happened so quickly but luckily we were able to get them out.

At least Lesley knows how to wear bright colors for photos.

After six years of waterfall adventures in Taiwan I have finally published a calendar just in time for Christmas. This calendar contains some of my favorite waterfalls from every part of Taiwan and your friends and family back home won’t be able to believe how beautiful it is here.

Print on Demand

I chose to use print on demand for this calendar. When you order a calendar they will print a calendar and mail it to you. Right now I don’t have the time or the energy to self publish locally, advertise and distribute 100’s of calendars throughout Taiwan (and the world). Print on demand allows me to design a calendar online that is individually printed and shipped from several different locations all over the world. By going this route I don’t have to worry about any unsold calendars that I would have to take a loss on. Most importantly they handle all of the money (credit card or paypal) and do all of the shipping allowing me to continue to explore new places in Taiwan this winter. I have been very busy lately and I have many plans to visit both new and old places.

Cost

The calendars are priced at 16 USD/each. This includes a cost of $9.99/each to print, $4.81 profit to me and $1.20 profit to Lulu.com. The size of the calendar is 8.5″ x 11″.

Before ordering check out the Lulu.com homepage for any sales. There is usually a 10% or 20% off coupon code.

Shipping and Ordering

This is where things get a little complicated. It is very easy to ship the calendars into the US/CA, the UK, Australia/NZ and many of the other western countries. It is also possible to ship into Taiwan but you will need to call customer service to place your order if you are ordering more than one. I had a long exchange with the help desk and their shipping calculation is broken for Taiwan (or it is too complicated to automatically calculate shipping for all of the non-western countries). It automatically charges 9 USD/calendar when placing the order online but the actual charges will be much lower if you call and place your order.

Link to order on Lulu.com

How to buy the calendar

#1 – If you live outside of Taiwan or are sending it home as a gift then it is much, much easier to order it yourself and ship it directly home.

#2 – If you live in Kaohsiung, I have 40 calendars being shipped to me and I will set up a few times to distribute them in local parks (likely Aozidi Park) or pubs. If you want to personally pick one up from me then reserve one now. Those that aren’t reserved will be sold on a first come first serve basis (unless all are reserved). They cost 525 NT/each (or 500/each if buying 3+). Remember that if you are sending them home then it is easier and cheaper to order directly on the Lulu.com website and ship it directly home.

#3 – For those living elsewhere in Taiwan you will have to order yours separately. You might be able to do a group order together and split up the shipping costs but you will need to call Lulu.com to place your order for 3+ calendars. Be aware that it could take 3 weeks or longer to receive the calendar due to printing time, shipping time and customs.

#3* – I will be in Ximending on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night and can meet you. The calendars cost 525NT/each (or 500/each if buying 3+). Let me know and we can arrange something.

Future offerings

Next year I hope to design 2-3 calendars (Bali/Lombok or Asia’s Waterfalls) if this goes remotely well. Lulu also offers print on demand coffee table books and if I can get really focused I hope to put out a Taiwan’s Waterfall guide book with basic information for each waterfall. This will be a huge project so don’t hold your breath waiting for it.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated on the calendar, the Taiwan’s Waterfalls website and anything else. 

Let me know what I should work on next year.

 

I am probably biased as a homegrown Minnesotan but I think Minnesota is one of the best places in the US to live. Okay, I don’t like the short, cold days of winter but at least that is a beautiful time of year. There are many great places around the state but by far my favorite places are the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and the North Shore of Lake Superior. I don’t think this area gets the national recognition that it deserves but perhaps that is a good thing. It has retained some of that small town American charm in an incredibly beautiful place.

Part 1 of my trip home focused on the waterfalls in southern Minnesota where my father has a farm.

Part 2 (this blog post) focuses on the waterfalls of the North Shore of Lake Superior.

Part 3 will focus on everything else we saw along the North Shore of Lake Superior.

On my trip home in June we didn’t go to the BWCA but instead we spent a lot of time visiting the state parks and the lakeshore. As a child we took many trips to the BWCA but aside from Gooseberry Falls we didn’t really stop at the state parks. I had no idea that there were so many state parks and that each of them was so peaceful. Both Waterfalls of Minnesota and Waterfalls of Minnesota’s North Shore and More are great guidebooks and each provided a lot of help planning my trip. I wasn’t able to visit all of the waterfalls or state parks along the north shore but I plan on taking many more trips home.

1. Gooseberry Falls was always one of stops coming back from the BWCA when I was a child. Sometimes we went swimming or sometimes we just stopped to stretch our legs. Since then they have built a new visitor center and a walking bridge under the Hwy 61 bridge. You can now do an easy (some stairs) 1 hour loop and see the 3 tiers of waterfalls. There is also a great picnic area down by Lake Superior and many longer hiking and biking trails.

Click for directions to Gooseberry Falls

2. Beaver River Falls is one of Hwy 61’s biggest roadside waterfalls. This is a great waterfall for those that don’t feel like hiking. You are able to get out of your car and stand on the bridge to view the falls although there are some steep trails that lead down to the water.

Click for directions to Beaver River Falls

3. High Falls on the Baptism River is an impressive waterfall located at Tettegouche State Park. Gooseberry Falls gets all of the visitors but this one is a little harder to get to with fewer visitors. The trail leads to a viewpoint directly on top of the waterfall and then there are stairs that take you to the base of the waterfall where you can swim. Hikers can also visit Two Step Falls on a short detour back to the car.

Click for directions to High Falls (Tettegouche State Park)


4. Cross River Falls is another of Hwy 61’s roadside waterfalls near the Temperance River. This is the view from the Hwy 61 bridge but there are more waterfalls upstream for hikers.

Click for directions to Cross River Falls

5. Temperance River State Park‘s best waterfall inside a narrow gorge. The best views of the waterfall are actually from the top where the water disappears into the gorge. There are several other small waterfalls but this is a beautiful river hike. There is also a stunning view of a small bay with steep cliffs at the mouth of the Temperance River.

Click for directions to Temperance River State Park

6. Cascade River State Park is a series of nice waterfalls with steep cliffs that is easy to access from Hwy 61. Like many of the state parks along the north shore it connects to the Superior Hiking Trail. We hiked along the river from the state park to county road 45 and were picked up. This is a great intro to the Superior Hiking Trail and makes me want to plan a thru hike on the trail someday.

Click for directions to Cascade River State Park

7. High Falls on the Pigeon River is a major waterfall that deserves recognition in top 50 US waterfall lists. The Pigeon River also forms the US/Canada border and the falls can be viewed from either country. One fascinating part of Grand Portage State Park and the High Falls is that it is a cooperative project with the Grand Portage Indian Reservation and the Minnesota State park system. It isn’t as convenient to get there but this is the best waterfall in Minnesota (albeit shared with Canada).

One of my friends commented that the waterfall looks like a giant bear giving the middle finger. Can you see it?

Click for directions to the High Falls on the Pigeon River (Grand Portage State Park)

Most normal people wouldn’t step off of an 11 hour flight from Asia and stop for a waterfall hike on the way home but I (and my sister and brother-in-law who were on the same flight) am not normal. We landed early in the afternoon and one of the most important things (in my experience) to get over jetlag quickly is to stay up until 9pm the first night no matter how tired you are. The short hike to Hidden Falls (#1 on this list below) was perfect. It wasn’t very difficult but we stayed active and jet lag was minimal for the trip.

My trip started at my father’s farm near Conger, Minnesota before spending a few days in the Twin Cities and finishing up on Minnesota’s North Shore. I had taken many trips to the BWCA as a child but other than Gooseberry Falls we didn’t stop at many of the waterfalls along Hwy 61. I am still surprised at how many and how big the waterfalls are up there but those will be shown in part 2 (3 parts) of this blog series. Other than Minnehaha Falls (not really southern Minnesota…) I had no idea that any waterfalls existed in southern Minnesota. Here are the five waterfalls that I visited in southern Minnesota.

  1. Hidden Falls at Nerstrand Big Woods State – Northfield, MN

Hidden Falls in Big Woods State Park was the biggest surprise for me on this list. The Minnesota and Mississippi river valleys have some hills so waterfalls aren’t a complete surprise but southcentral Minnesota is as flat as a pancake. Hidden Falls is only 8-10 feet tall but it is a broad fall and is very impressive after recent rains. It is only a short hike to the waterfall but there are 11 miles of hiking trails at Big Woods State Park for those wanting to stretch their legs a little more.

Click here for directions to Hidden Falls

2. Minnehaha Falls – Minneapolis, MN

Minnehaha Falls is Minnesota’s most popular waterfall since it is located in the center of Minneapolis. It will be crowded on weekends but the park is a lovely area to spend an afternoon in.

Click here for directions to Minnehaha Falls

3. Minneopa Falls at Minneopa State Park – Mankato, MN

Minneopa Falls was an unexpected surprise fairly close to my hometown. I had taken many trips to Mankato and even lived there for a month as a child (Vikings training camp was awesome) but Minneopa Falls wasn’t on my waterfall radar until I started planning my trip home. My expectations for Minneopa Falls were modest but we were pleasantly surprised by a beautiful 40 foot waterfall that nearly matches the more famous Minnehaha Falls.

In addition to the waterfall you can also visit a bison conservation area at Minneopa State Park. We saw about 8 bison in a meadow near Seppmann Mill. Only cars (DO NOT GET OUT) are allowed into the conservation area but there is a walking trail on the other side of the enclosure where you might have a better chance of seeing them.

Click here for directions to Minneopa Falls

4. Minnemishinona Falls – Mankato, MN

Until recently Minnemishinona Falls was on private property but Nicollet County took advantage of an opportunity and acquired the land. The waterfall and the overhanging cliff are pretty cool but I really wanted to be at the bottom of the waterfall instead of on the bridge. They only acquired 3 acres of land and the rest is private property. Please respect the neighbor’s land.

Click here for directions to Minnemishinona Falls

5. Vermillion Falls – Hastings, MN

Vermillion Falls is part of Hastings history with one its mills located right next to it. There is a nice park and a few miles of trails next to the river to explore within the town of Hastings.

Click here for directions to Vermillion Falls

These are certainly not all of southern Minnesota’s waterfalls but these are the ones that I visited during my trip home in June 2016. Hopefully I will visit a few more waterfalls on my next trip home. Do you have any favorites that aren’t on list that I must visit next time? Remember that this is only part 1 of my trip home. I still have another blog of waterfalls along the North Shore to write. That entire area is beautiful and we only visited a small part of it on this trip.

I would like to give a special thanks to Lisa Crayford’s ‘Waterfalls of Minnesota’ guidebook (connect with her on her waterfall FB page). She has directions to over 100 waterfalls in her book (just released in May 2016). I really enjoy taking waterfall photos and I love her technical perfection that she shows in the book. I have been given a few new ideas for tricky to photograph waterfalls.

Long-time travelers tend to prefer the off the beaten path places while focusing on the downsides of famous places. Typically it sounds like the following: Machu Picchu was incredible except for the lines and crowds. I loved Akgkor Wat except for all of the tourists and vendors. The beaches were beautiful it was too hard to get a photo that didn’t include someone with a selfie stick. I am not innocent in this. My favorite places are those with longer hikes or a little off of the beaten path but I have also been to Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat and they are incredible places and I loved my time there.

The most famous waterfalls in Taiwan obviously pale in comparison to Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat but they get dismissed in the same way. For example only one of these waterfalls will be in My Favorite Waterfalls of Taiwan list (more focus on the hike or swimming possible) published later this year but there is no denying that they are spectacular. There are a few waterfalls that compare from a physical and beauty standpoint but they are located in rather remote areas and don’t get the same tourist numbers.

Ten Easy Waterfall Hikes in Taiwan

This list is part of a 5 year project that I have been working on. During that time I have visited and added over 100 waterfalls in Taiwan to my waterfall guide. Earlier this year I posted a list of Ten Easy Waterfall Hikes in Taiwan. This list is similar to that since most of the roads and hikes to all ten of these waterfalls are in good condition and anyone is able to visit them. They are mostly located in northern and central Taiwan. There are several great waterfalls in southern Taiwan but they aren’t as well known and some of them are very isolated.

Some other waterfalls that were considered. Lover’s Gorge Waterfall is one of my favorites but it doesn’t seem as well known throughout Taiwan. Liangshan Waterfall is probably the most visited waterfall in southern Taiwan but it lacks the raw size and beauty of those on this list. Sandiaoling Waterfall Trail is very popular among hikers but it doesn’t seem to be as well known overall. Manyueyuan was a consideration for the list but I haven’t been there yet and the waterfalls itself don’t seem to be as famous.

Can you think of any that should be on the list? How many have you been to?

Visit my waterfall guide to see over 100 waterfalls in Taiwan

 

  1. Wufengqi Waterfall (五峰旗瀑布) falls in three separate tiers near Jiaoshi, Taiwan. The bottom two tiers are nice but the highest tier is the special one. The highest tier falls in three streams (if there is enough water) in a lush green bowl. Unfortunately they often close the trail to the highest tier for safety reasons.

Click for directions to Wufengqi Waterfall

2. Xiao Wulai Waterfall (小烏來瀑布) is my pick for the most physically impressive waterfall in Taiwan. The photos don’t really do it justice but it is really big with a high flow. Xiao Wulai is easy to get to but the facilities (like parking) struggle to match the popularity of the place. Xiao Wulai can be viewed from across the gorge, from near the base after a short hike or visitors can go out on a skywalk above the falls. To give you some idea of the scale of the waterfall the skywalk is in photo with 20+ people just above the falls.

Click for directions to Xiao Wulai Waterfall

3. Shanlinshi (horrifically romanized as Sunlinksea in English) boasts two waterfalls on this list. Chinglong (Green Dragon) Waterfall (青龍瀑布) falls over 100 meters into a beautiful turquoise pool. Unfortunately the trail doesn’t go all the way to the bottom of the waterfall but it is a beautiful waterfall.

Click for directions to Chinglong Waterfall

4. Songlong (Pine Dragon) Rock Waterfall (松瀧岩瀑布) is just 5 km away at Shanlinshi but it is a completely different waterfall. This waterfall isn’t nearly as tall but visitors first see an idyllic pond before walking through a large cave next to the waterfall. In addition to the waterfalls there are several nice hiking trails, a botanical garden and a 5m penis totem (link).

Click for directions to Songlong Rock Waterfall

5. Huangjin Waterfall (黃金瀑布) is much smaller than all of these waterfalls but its unique rust color and its proximity to Jiufen make it a very popular destination. Debate continues as to whether or not the color is the result of mining upstream or naturally occurring due to the high mineral content of the area but there is no debate that the water is toxic.

Click for directions to Huangjin Waterfall

6. Shifen Waterfall (十分瀑布) is Taiwan’s most famous waterfall and its most picturesque. You will be surrounded by crowds and concrete but the many little cascades are a stunning sight. In addition to this you can take the train to 4 other great waterfalls along the Pingxi Rail Line. The best is the Sandiaoling Waterfall Trail (三貂嶺瀑布) with three beautiful waterfalls.

Click for directions to Shifen Waterfall

7. Wulai Waterfall (烏來瀑布) is the highest (80m) in northern Taiwan and it was the first waterfall that I took photos of for the waterfall guide. It is located immediately across the Tonghou River from Wulai Village. In addition to hot springs you can also ride a cable car to the top of Wulai Waterfall, rivertrace or go to Neidong Waterfall.

Click for directions to Wulai Waterfall

8. Neidong Waterfall (內洞瀑布) competes with Shifen Waterfall for the most beautiful waterfall in Taiwan. It is also located a few km away from Wulai Waterfall and can easily be combined as a daytrip from Taipei. Unfortunately Typhoon Soudelor devastated the Wulai region and Neidong is closed until they can rebuild the trails and roads.

Click for directions to Neidong Waterfall

9. Taoshan Waterfall (桃山瀑布) is not as convenient to reach as many of the others on this list but it is a very popular hike at Wuling Farm in Sheipa National Park. Not only does the trail lead through a beautiful forest at the base of several 3000+ meter peaks but it is also wheelchair accessible. There is also a chance that hikers will see a Swinhoe Pheasant (photo link) along the trail.

Click for directions to Taoshan Waterfall

10. Taroko Gorge is Taiwan’s most famous national park and Baiyang Waterfall (白楊瀑布) is one of its most hiked trails. Originally the trail was a road for large hydroelectric project but thankfully the idea was abandoned. The hike starts in several hundred meter long tunnel and passes through 7 more tunnels before ending at Water Curtain Cave. Water Curtain Cave is actually another tunnel but it is unique since they hit an underground spring when constructing the tunnel and water pours from the ceiling uncontrollably.

Click for directions to Baiyang Waterfall

Sandiaoling Waterfall Trail is one of the best waterfall hikes in Taiwan. Not only are there 3 great waterfalls on this trail but there almost another 10 nearby waterfalls that can be combined as part of your dayhike. Typically most people start their hike at Sandiaoling Train Station and end it at Shifen Waterfall but I have suggested a different and in my opinion better route in my waterfall guide. Shifen Waterfall looks great in photos but it is filled with mobs of people and the entire area is concreted. The other problem is that if you end your Sandiaoling hike at Shifen then you have to walk through a railway tunnel. I have done this before and it kind of freaked me out (no trains came). It is also very illegal to walk through the tunnels although many do.

Directions for Sandiaoling Waterfall Trail on my guide

Instead I recommend that hikers start at Dahua Train Station. If you have time you can take a short walk down the tracks and view the Dahua Potholes (photo above) at the exit to Yerengu (Wildman Valley). Yerengu was a famous attraction with 4-5 waterfalls until a typhoon wiped it out over a decade ago. I would love it if they were able to open the area up again someday

The red bridge crosses the Keelung River just downstream of Shifen Waterfall and can be reached from Dahua Train Station. This bridge and trail used to connect to Yerengu but now it is the longer version of the Sandiaoling Waterfall Trail.

After the red bridge you ascend almost 1/2 km up what I call ‘The Stairs of Death’. These kind of stairs covered in moss are found all over Taiwan and are probably one of the most dangerous parts of hiking here. I strongly prefer walking up stairs like this instead of down. At least they have installed a railing for part of the route now.

 

After hiking up ‘The Stairs of Death’ you come to the large parking for Yerengu. The gates are locked but you can access a small Tudigong Shrine with a view of Xinliao Waterfall.

The next part of the hike is a mix of roadwalking and small trails until you get near Pipadong Waterfall. You can easily make a few wrong turns between Yerengu and Pipadong Waterfall but hopefully my waterfall guide is clear enough to follow.

Directions for Sandiaoling Waterfall Trail on my guide

Before reaching Pipadong Waterfall you will have to climb down a ladder similar to this one. This ladder was between Pipadong and Motian Waterfall and has been replaced with a metal staircase. I don’t think it would be fun in the rain but it looks scarier than it actually is to use.

Pipadong is the first waterfall that you will reach if you start at Dahua Train Station. The water falls over an impressive overhang and there is a small pool below. The water isn’t very deep but this is probably the best swimming opportunity although there are some nice pools downstream of Motian Waterfall.

At Pipidong Waterfall you can see potholes being hollowed out. The rocks are stuck in the holes and during heavier rains they move around in the hole. These potholes are everywhere in the Pingxi area.

The rope-log ladder might have been replaced by metal stairs as shown below but that doesn’t mean that it is an easy trail between the two waterfalls though. Overall it isn’t that difficult but some might be comfortable hiking here. The trail from Sandiaoling Train Station to Motian Waterfall is quite easy to hike and doesn’t involve any ropes or ladder climbing. That is an excellent option for those that are less confident in these situations.

Motian Waterfall is frequently called Sandiaoling Waterfall but there actually isn’t a Sandiaoling Waterfall. The trail is named after a local village and the 3 waterfalls have different names.

At Motian Waterfall you can hike in a small cleft in the rock wall behind the waterfall. Here is a rare photo of me.

There are two cool rope bridges pass over small streams near Hegu Waterfall.

There might be some old trails that lead to the top of Hegu Waterfall but most only see the waterfall from the viewing platform. One improvement is that your view isn’t as obstructed as much at the viewing platform as before and you can see most of the lower tier at Hegu Waterfall.

My version of the hike ends at Sandiaoling Village although for most it starts there. The old school has been turned into a small museum. There are bathrooms at the school and some snack and drink vendors are now in Sandiaoling on the weekends. Don’t expect much but several years ago there was nothing to buy in the village.

Directions for Sandiaoling Waterfall Trail on my guide

I have been lucky enough to spend part of the last 3 years traveling around Taiwan with Richard Saunders while he researched his latest book. I like to consider myself resourceful when it comes to finding unknown places but Richard frequently took us somewhere not even on my radar. And every time it would be an incredible experience. The book is now complete and everyone can experience the places that Richard has shown his group of Taipei Hikers.

Update (July 27th) – I don’t have any copies left to sell. To get your books you can try Eslite (supposed to be there) or contact Richard in September when he returns

Richard Saunders is best known for leading hikes with the Taipei Hikers FB group and his previous hiking guides. He currently has four additional guidebooks for sale. Taipei Escapes Vol 1 and Vol 2 each include 20 day hikes and 10 day trips that can be done from the Taipei Area. Yangmingshan – The Guide contains 41 hikes (not duplicated in Taipei Escapes) all over Yangmingshan. And in 2013 he completed his Islands of Taiwan book. This is THE BOOK that you want if you are traveling to any of Taiwan’s outlying islands. It not only contains all of the travel information that you want but a countless amount of history and little known facts about the islands.

Taiwan 101 Essential Sights, Hikes and Experiences on Ilha Formosa is a departure from his previous guides that focused more on hiking. Overall the two volumes contain 101 different chapters about Taiwan. Volume One contains Northern and Eastern Taiwan while Volume Two focuses on Southern and Central Taiwan. They contain information on the unusual cultural experiences like the Mazu Pilgrimage, the Wang Ye Boat Burning and Foguangshan. There are several chapters devoted to historical cities like Keelung and Tainan. Some readers might not be as interested in travel themselves so they will focus on the extensive Taiwan history that is presented in the book in addition to the best museums on the island. Hikers will of course not be disappointed with the information on Taiwan’s National Parks, high mountain hiking and other famous hiking trails in the book.

If anyone wants to make a bucket list of places to visit while in Taiwan or if the want to learn about Taiwan then this is your guidebook. I haven’t even been to half of the places (I counted about 40) that Richard wrote about and I am sure that some think I have been everywhere. My to do list just got a lot longer.

Richard will be distributing the books at Daan Park in Taipei personally on Saturday, May 28th.  You will also be able to meet Richard in Taipei (usually at an MRT station) and buy books if you cannot meet this weekend. For those living elsewhere in Taiwan you can email Richard (richard0428@yahoo.com – that is a zerofourtwoeight in the email) and arrange shipping (for a small additional fee). Richard will be off on his next adventure (an awesome trip) in a couple of weeks so you won’t be able to buy direct from him during the summer and will instead have to try to find it at Caves or Eslite (possibly in stock there in mid-June).

I will be getting a box of books shipped to Kaohsiung for those that reserve books and distributing them for Richard (at no profit for me). I am planning on distributing books at Aozidi Park (near the MRT) on Sunday 5/29 (no books available 5/29) from 2pm-4pm and Saturday 6/4 from 2pm-4pm. I will get a few extra copies for those that don’t reserve books but please reserve books if you think you want them. If you are unable to meet at Aozidi Park then you can also meet at my apartment (near the Art Museum). Contact me through the Taiwan Waterfall FB page, my personal contact info if you have that or leave a comment and I can email you.

Let me know immediately if you want to pick up some books from myself in Kaohsiung. Contact Richard about books for all other places.

How to get the books:

In Taipei – contact Richard (richard0428@yahoo.com – that is a zerofourtwoeight in the email)

In Kaohsiung and can meet Kirk – contact me (Taiwan’s Waterfalls FB – or leave a comment)

Elsewhere in Taiwan or cannot meet me – contact Richard and arrange postal delivery (a little extra cost) or wait for the books to be sold in Eslite or Caves

Outside of Taiwan – contact Richard

Prices:

Taiwan 101 Essentials – 700/each volume or 1200 if you buy both volumes

The Islands of Taiwan – 450/each (sale price) (also available as an ebook online at Camphor Press)

Taipei Escapes Vol 1 and Vol 2 – 450/each (sale price)

Yangmingshan The Guide – 450/each (sale price)

Here is a photo gallery of some of the trips that I have been on with Richard in the past 3 years. These trips have been an unforgettable part of my Taiwan experience (6 years with many more planned).

Wang Ye Boat Burning Festival, Donggang

Hehuanshan, Nantou

Qufengbi Coastal Trail, Pingtung (note the giant shipwreck has been removed)

The giant trees at Jianxibao, Hsinchu

Guifu Canyon, Kaohsiung

Alanyi Coastal Trail, Pingtung

Maliguang Waterfall, Hsinchu

This is one of the Chiang Kai-Shek vacation homes that Richard visited and gives directions to in the book. Chiang Kai-Shek may be controversial but this is an interesting part of history and some of the homes are really cool. This one is now a hotel in Lishan, Taichung.

Lianyun Waterfall, Chaiyi