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?
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.