My Favorite Waterfall Swimming Holes in Taiwan

I love a challenging waterfall hike but in a (near) tropical country like Taiwan there is nothing better than swimming at a perfect secluded pool on a hot day. I have already published a list of My Favorite Easy Waterfall Hikes and a list of Taiwan’s Ten Most Famous Waterfalls.

It was very, very difficult to reduce this list to just 17 waterfalls with great swimming pools. Initially I started with 40 great waterfall swimming holes and it was very difficult to leave off so many of them. The ones I left off might be just as good and will likely contain many of your favorites as well.

Which waterfall is your favorite swimming hole in Taiwan?

Most of these waterfalls are less known and you can find yourself in an idyllic setting all by yourself. Despite not being very popular, they aren’t very long hikes but they might require hiking off trail (usually in the river bed).

Tragically many drownings have occurred at some of my favorite waterfalls because people went immediately following heavy rainstorms. Usually these swimming holes are as dangerous as the deep end of a swimming pool but after heavy rainstorms (or typhoons) it is possible to be swept downstream or unable to swim out (if inexperienced) against swirling currents. These situations can happen very quickly and even happened on one of my trips (no injuries luckily). If you see fast moving water then it is a good idea to avoid it and alert others to the possible danger unless you are very experienced.

    All 170 waterfall guides (and some hikes) are linked on the above map

Lover’s Gorge Waterfall  情人谷瀑布 (Kaohsiung) was one of the first waterfalls that I visited in Taiwan many years ago. It is a short hike from the parking lot up to a beautiful pool. A landslide has occurred since I last visited and the trail is passable but might be marked as closed.

Click for directions to Lover’s Gorge Waterfall

2. I had rather low expectations for Shuishang Waterfall 水上瀑布 (Nantou) last winter. The creek was mostly dry downstream from the waterfall and the few pictures that I had seen looked alright. We walked around the corner and found a perfect double drop waterfall with a huge swimming pool. I definitely plan on coming back here this summer for a swim in the icy water.

There are many waterfalls near Puli and Sun Moon Lake that could be visited on the same day. I recommend Menggu Waterfall.

Click for directions to Shuishang Waterfall

3. Aohua Waterfall 澳花瀑布 (Yilan) is one of those amazing waterfalls that would be very popular except that it is located very far away from any major population center. But if you are in Hualien then it isn’t that far and you can also visit Qingshui Cliffs on the drive.

Click for directions to Aohua Waterfall

4. Shuiliandong Waterfall 水濂洞瀑布 (Tainan) isn’t very big and it isn’t very well known but the grotto is a great place for a swim on a hot day. You can also stop at Bianfudong (Bat Cave) Waterfall for a second refreshing swim on the way back home.

Click for directions to Shuiliandong Waterfall

5. Caihong (Rainbow) Waterfall  彩虹瀑布 on the Malalou Trail (Taitung) is a giant waterfall that falls down a sheer cliff. Ordinary hikers can’t access the base of the waterfall but they can get to an idyllic pool with a small waterfall. This trail is short and adventurous with numerous creek crossings in <1km. Avoid this trail if there is a threat of rain though.

Caihong Waterfall is near the very famous Sansiantai and you could easily visit both on a daytrip.

Click for directions to Caihong (Rainbow) Waterfall

6. Feilong Waterfall 飛龍瀑布 (Pingtung) is a personal favorite of mine since it is so close and features a large grotto where you can swim under the waterfall. I always like to stop at one of the aboriginal restaurants in Wutai for a large meal of fatty pork, sausages and local vegetables. You can also stop for a swim at Shenshan Waterfall on the way to Feilong Waterfall.

Click for directions to Feilong Waterfall

7. Guguan Dam Waterfall 谷關水壩瀑布 (Taichung) might not be a natural waterfall but the blue water looks amazing for a swim. Maling Hot Spring is another 1.5 hours past Guguan Dam Waterfall.

Click here for directions to Guguan Dam Waterfall

8. Shalawan Waterfall 沙拉灣瀑布 (Pingtung) is one of Taiwan’s best waterfalls. It is just one of many impressive waterfalls in this remote part of Pingtung. The other waterfalls are varying levels of really difficult to impossible to get to though but Shalawan is an easy 30-40 minute walk from the end of a terrible road. It drops about 80 meters into a huge pool.

Currently Closed – Might open at the end of the year.

Click here for directions to Shalawan Waterfall

9. Meihua Waterfall 梅花瀑布 (Hsinchu) is a fun challenge to get to. There are many river tracing guides that lead trips up to the waterfall and I recommend using a helmet and felt shoes if you DIY. The waterfall is great for swimming and the more daring can jump from a variety of heights (not something that I recommend).

Meihua Waterfall is very close to both Qingwashi (Frog Rock) Waterfall and Yuanyang Valley Waterfall. All three could be done during a daytrip to Hsinchu.

Click here for directions to Meihua Waterfall

10. Kuhuatan Waterfall 苦花潭瀑布 (Miaoli) isn’t far from the very popular Shenxian Waterfall but there isn’t much of a trail back to it and very few people even know about it. Further down the road is the even less known is Fengmei Waterfall.

Click here for directions to Kuhuatan Waterfall

11. Qinglong Waterfall 青龍瀑布 (Chiayi) is just one of many virtually unknown waterfalls near Zengwen Reservoir that are great for swimming. The hikes to most of the waterfalls are also an adventure since any paths have long since washed away.

You can also check out LianyunSanlong  and Tianma Waterfalls. You will probably want a full two days to properly explore the area.

Click here for directions to Qinglong Waterfall

12. Jinyue Waterfall 金岳瀑布 (Yilan) is a full blown river trace and one of my favorite experiences in Taiwan. I did this one 5 years and have wanted to go back ever since.

Click for directions to Jinyue Waterfall

13. Lingjiao Waterfall 嶺腳瀑布 (New Taipei) is one of the many waterfalls in the Pingxi area and it is my pick for the best swimming hole in the area. It is a broad waterfall in the Keelung River just upstream from the much more famous Shifen Waterfall.

Click here for directions to Lingjiao Waterfall

14. I saw a photo of this waterfall but they only knew the name was 1000 step waterfall and you just take the train station road out of Chiayi. It took me a little time to find Fenghuang Waterfall 鳳凰瀑布 but it is easy to get to and amazing for a swim on a hot day. Be warned though – there are more than 1000 steps down to the waterfall and you will need to go up at some time.

Click here for directions to Fenghuang Waterfall

15. Golden Grotto Waterfall 黃金峽谷 (Hualien) is one of my favorite waterfalls in Taiwan but the famous waterfall isn’t that great for swimming. There are two smaller tiers downstream that you must climb up and each of them has perfect swimming pools in an enclosed gorge. Guide and gear highly recommended.

Click here for directions to Golden Grotto Waterfall

16. You won’t be able to do any actual swimming at Qikong Waterfall 七孔瀑布 (Pingtung) but it is perfect for relaxing on a hot day.

Check out the Jialeshui Scenic Area first and then stop for a swim afterward at Qikong Waterfall.

Click here for directions to Qikong Waterfall

Which waterfall is your favorite swimming hole in Taiwan?

Hiking Bali’s Waterfalls

People have been going to Bali for many years for many reasons.  Bali’s tourism has exploded over the last couple of decades due to its wonderful weather, amazing beaches, cultural heritage and great nightlife.  But Bali has been a popular destination for a century.  A Dutch steamship began bringing tourists there in the 1920’s.  It became an artist enclave and was a vacation for the rich and famous including Charlie Chaplin.  Tourism has had obstacles like WWII, political instability and more recently two bombings (2002 and 2006) to overcome but it remains one of the top southeast Asian getaways.

Check out my blog post on North Sumatra’s waterfall – even better than Bali

There are many reasons why Bali is such a popular destination.  Individually there isn’t a temple complex that compares to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Bagan in Myanmar or Borobudur in Java but there are 1000’s of amazing temples that each have their own individual charm (another blog post).  Bali is also able to boast many world class beaches all over the island.  Art has continued to be a central part of Balinese culture with Ubud as the heart.  The people are friendly and the island is stunningly beautiful.

Pura Ulun Beraten

Check out my blog post on Bali’s Temples

For my June vacation this year I jumped at Air Asia’s special offer (<$250) on their new (direct) Taipei to Bali route (possibly getting discontinued this fall).  Of course staying on the beach or relaxing in Ubud is popular but my online research found Bali to be an underrated hiking paradise.  The main hiking attractions are volcanoes and almost two dozen waterfall hikes that are located on a small island.  The great thing about Bali is that the tourist infrastructure extends far past the main tourist areas and all of the hikes can be done as daytrips from the comfort of a great guesthouse that meets all of the wants of a foreign tourist.  I stayed on the beach in Lovina for most of my trip but there are many other great places to stay.  One of my favorites was an overnight stay in Munduk.

I stayed in varying levels of guesthouses (cheap to expensive) but everyone of them had great views.  This is from my patio in Munduk.

I am not going to suggest that anyone should travel to Bali for the waterfalls but they are an excellent excuse to go for a long drive through the countryside.  Bali is in the midst of a struggle to maintain their cultural traditions with ever advancing modernization but so far the rural areas have retained their charm.  It seems that someone could almost randomly pick a rural road in Bali to explore and find terraced fields of rice in varying shade of green and yellow depending on the season, hidden temples that see relatively few visitors, quaint small villages, views of volcanoes and perhaps even a waterfall.

Just another rice field.

For the most part the waterfall hikes in Bali are short and well trodden.  Many have a small entrance fee (plus parking) and a well maintained (usually concrete) path to the waterfall.  Some have guides that will oversell the difficulty of finding the waterfall and be hard negotiators.  Some have many vendors that may or may not be bothersome.  Some are just perfect and there even a couple that have no signs, no vendors and no tickets prices.  If you are able to shrug off the commercialization by the local village you will find that all of the waterfalls are pretty awesome.

 1)  Aling Aling Waterfall (northern Bali) is far enough off of the tourist trail that you will likely only see a handful of tourists.  This is one of the nicest waterfall hiking trails and it is the best waterfall to swim at in Bali.  You descend down into the valley where there is not one but four beautiful waterfalls.  The main waterfall is quite impressive but swimming is best done upstream in a narrow gorge or downstream at the smaller waterfalls (Kroya, Kembar and Pucuk).

Aling Aling Waterfall

Kroya Waterfall

Kembar Waterfall

Pucuk Waterfall

Click for directions to Aling Aling Waterfall and the 3 smaller ones

2) Banyumala Waterfall (northern Bali) is a spectacular hidden waterfall.  There is very little information on the internet about this one and I knew nothing about it.  I was riding a scooter on the crater rim next to Lake Buyan when I saw a waterfall sign.  I had no idea what to expect but I took a chance.  I hired a local farmer to be a guide after he stopped me on the road.  Most of the time local guides are completely unnecessary but I never would have found this waterfall without a guide.  The hike isn’t long but this is the most remote waterfall that I visited.  There is great swimming and a really cool wall of cascading water just past the waterfall.

Click for directions to Banyumala Waterfall

3. Blehmantung Waterfall was another spectacular hidden waterfall.  There was a lot of info on the Internet but all that remains is a faded sign that has fallen down next to the highway.  I followed the two track road down to an abandoned house at the end of the road.  Unlike all of the waterfalls in Bali (except Banyumala) there weren’t ticket takers, local guides, vendors or even other tourists here.  For the first time in Bali I was all by myself for a waterfall hike and it was wonderful.  The hike is easy and short but the waterfall is a perfect place to relax in solitude.

Click for directions to Blehmantung Waterfall

4. Git Git Waterfall is by far the most famous waterfall in Bali.  If you say the word waterfall in Bali you will immediately get a response of Git Git.  The waterfall is one of the easiest waterfall to get to and it is spectacular.  But temper your expectations, it is a short concrete path past many vendors to get to the waterfall.

Click here for directions to Git Git Waterfall

5. Git Git Twin Waterfall (aka Campuhan) is just a little upstream from Git Git Waterfall.  It is also famous, touristy with a concrete path trail back to the falls.  The Balinese name, Campuhan, means twin waterfall.  It isn’t a physically impressive waterfall but it is unique with the twin streams of water.

Click here for directions to Git Git Twin Waterfall

5b. Mekalongan Waterfall is 50m’s downstream of Git Git Twin Waterfall.  In some ways it is a more beautiful waterfall.

5c. Bertingkat Waterfall (aka Terraced Waterfall) is another 200 m’s downstream from Mekalongan.  It is a little difficult to walk to but I have directions on my waterfall guide or you can drive to the other trailhead.  This is the best and possibly the only choice for swimming out of these three waterfalls.  It is also less visited so you might have a little privacy for your group.

6. Jembong Waterfall is completely different than every other waterfall I visited.  Many waterfalls discharge a large volume of water but Jembong Waterfall cascades thunderously down the rocks.  It isn’t a long hike but it is unique.  Some were very impressed and thought it was a top 5 Bali waterfall but I was underwhelmed.  It is really close to Aling Aling Waterfall so both can be combined into one daytrip.

Click here for directions to Jembong Waterfall

7. Lemukih Waterfall is the other waterfall at Sekumpul village.  Visitors will see the amazing Sekumpul Waterfall from a viewpoint but there is a 2nd smaller waterfall in the distance.  In fact that smaller waterfall is actually part of  three large waterfalls that surround you at the end of the gorge in addition to other small ones along the way.   If Sekumpul Waterfall wasn’t so incredible then this would be a destination by itself.

The right waterfall could be seen from the viewpoint.  The 3rd waterfall is almost directly behind you with a lot of mist coming off.  I need to practice my panorama (using stitching) skills to really give you the idea of how incredible this place was.

Click here for directions to Lemukih Waterfall

8. Les Waterfall is one of the most remote waterfalls in Bali located on the northern ocean road between Amed and Singaraja.  The roads are actually in good shape until the last 1/2 km and the trail is very easy to hike.  This village has the best tourism practices.  There are no annoying guides pressuring you to hire them but there is a price list with guides available.  There are two drink/snack shops along the trail and a really nice guesthouse.  More motivated hikers can take a longer trail that will take you to 5 waterfalls but you will need a guide.

Click here for directions to Les Waterfall

9 and 10. Melanting Waterfall and Munduk Waterfall are closely linked and you can’t talk about one without talking about the other.  Munduk and Melanting are beautiful villages east of the 3 lakes at 600-700m’s of elevation.  There are many great guesthouses and restaurants at all price levels that look out over a valley towards Batu Karu (one of Bali’s holiest mountains).  But there is some confusion regarding the waterfall names.  There is a mixture of village names, English names and Balinese names resulting in 7 names for 3 waterfalls.  It is explained more in the guide entries.

The local village has landscaped a beautiful trail down to Melanting Waterfall.  Melanting Waterfall looks very similar in size and shape Git Git Waterfall.  It isn’t great for taking photos (covered in water) but there is a wonderful mist that sprays off of the waterfall.

Click here for directions to Melanting Waterfall

Munduk and Melanting villages are very tourist friendly.  I didn’t see any local guides hassling tourists at trailheads but local guides are available through your guesthouse.  There also weren’t any souvenir shops on the trail. There were 3-4 drink/snack/small meal shops along the trail.  They did sell spices but they weren’t pushy.  Overall this was the best waterfall hike that I did.

Click here for directions to Munduk Waterfall

11. Nungnung Waterfall is a lesser known waterfall that is easily accessible as a daytrip from southern Bali.  The drive takes you through an amazing rural area where there are large no development areas with just rice fields.  Nungnung village is quite small and there are usually only a handful of hikers on the trail.  Many hikes in Bali are down a seemingly endless staircase but this was the longest with 486 stairs.  Not only that but some of the stairs are huge.  If it isn’t too late in the dry season there is also a second smaller waterfall beside the trail.

 

Click for directions to Nungnung Waterfall

12. Sekumpul Waterfall is the most impressive waterfall in Bali and it is one of the top waterfalls in all of Indonesia.  As an added bonus visitors can also visit Lemukih Waterfall which is a unique experience.  There are claims that the right branches are spring fed while the left branch is river fed and turns brown during heavy rain.  I could not find any pictures on the internet to verify this observation.  You can swim at both waterfalls and on sunny days you have a good chance at seeing a rainbow in the waterfall mist.

Click here for directions to Sekumpul Waterfall

13. Tegenungan Waterfall is the easiest to access from southern Bali and probably the most visited waterfall in Bali.  You will have to put up with people there but it is an incredible waterfall.

Click here for directions to Tegenungan Waterfall

More waterfalls that I didn’t visit, couldn’t access or were dry when I visited.  Hopefully on my next trip I will be able to visit many of these in addition to hiking Gunung Agung or Batu Karu.

1. Colek Pamor Waterfall – This is located just upstream from Git Git Waterfall.  There is a separate trailhead but it can be accessed from the same parking area.

2. Cemara Waterfall – This is located near Aling Aling but I am not sure if it is upstream or downstream

3. Dusun Kuning Waterfall – This is a lesser known waterfall in southern Bali.

4. Carat Waterfall – I found this but it was completely inaccessible from my entry point.  There has to be a better way to the bottom of the waterfall.

5. Peguyangan, Sebuluh and Temeling Waterfall – These 3 waterfalls are on Nusa Penida island and are seasonal according to various internet sources.

6. Juwuk Manis Waterfall – This appears to be somewhere on the southwest coast

7. Singsing Waterfall – This waterfall is convenient for those staying in Lovina but it is definitely dry during the dry season.

8. Golden Waterfall – This is located near Munduk Waterfall

9. Git-Git Waterfall – Another Git-Git Waterfall but this one is near Blehmantung Waterfall.

10. Melasti Waterfall – falls onto the beach near Tanah Lot.

Are there any more waterfalls that I am missing in Bali?  What are your favorites?