Fireflies were part of every summer growing up as a child in Minnesota. Last year someone mentioned firefly season and I realized that I hadn’t seen fireflies for 10 or 20 years. Or that most of my students probably had never seen fireflies. Here is some great information on fireflies in Taiwan from Travelking.
I did a little research and found that there are many great spots to find fireflies in Taiwan but the closest to Kaohsiung is Namasia. I have visited Namasia a few times and in my opinion it is like Maolin or Wutai except there aren’t nearly as many tourists nor has it been developed like those villages. I plan on taking a couple more trips to Namasia this year and eventually I will write a full guide like I did for Maolin and Duona.
The best time to see the fireflies is just after sunset and in March and April. We apparently showed up during a firefly festival and there were busloads of tourists everywhere but that didn’t affect anything (other than eating at a restaurant). We viewed the fireflies on the private property of a friend but there are many places to see them. The most important thing is that it needs to be a light free area.
Taking photos of the fireflies will be difficult. The above photo is a single shot taken on a tripod with a 40mm lens (cropped DSLR). I found the best results to be done at the largest aperture (f2.8 in this case), high iso (12,800) and a long shutter speed (30 seconds). The 30 second shutter speed means that one firefly shows up many times since they light up every couple of seconds. If I go back I will take my 50mm f1.7 lens and experiment with light painting some of the surroundings to create a forest scene. Here is an article from a fellow (and much more experienced) waterfall guide writer about photographing fireflies.
For now here is a brief overview of Namasia
Many aboriginal restaurants – recommendation – look for the archer shooting the sun (on the signboard)
Longfeng Waterfall (found on Google Maps) was completely destroyed during Typhoon Morakot – I also haven’t found any other waterfalls yet
Sanmin Fire – probably still there – It is an eternal flame fueled by some sort of gas vent.
I am sure that I am missing many things but there isn’t a lot of English information about Namasia available. Do you know about any other places in Namasia? Are there any other blog accounts (in English) that you like about Namasia?