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?

January Waterfall Updates/Trips

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.

December Waterfall Updates/Trips

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.

Taiwan’s Ten Most Famous 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 the famous ones are spectacular.

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 170 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.

My Favorite Waterfall Swimming Holes in Taiwan

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 themselves 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 170 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 Revisited

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

Richard Saunders Taiwan 101 Essentials Book Launch

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

 

 

 

Yaletown Bistro

I first tried Yaletown Bistro’s (耶魯小鎮 ) fries at the Kaohsiung International Food Festival several years ago. The fries are fresh cut and can be ordered with several different seasonings or sauces (called loaded fries). One thing that sets them apart from most of the expat owned restaurants is that their food is a little healthier. In addition to the fresh cut fries they also have paninis, sandwiches, salads and two new savory rice dishes. I usually order the lemonade (made from squeezed lemons instead of concentrate) but they also have smoothies.

The loaded fries (butter chicken pictured above) are a good option for those that want something more than a snack and less than a big meal.

Kevin and his wife opened Yaletown 4 years ago and it is located between MEGA/FE21 and the 85 Building. They chose the name Yaletown as part of Kevin’s Canadian roots. Yaletown is a trendy Vancouver neighborhood that is known for its nice restaurants. It might be a good idea to use their online reservation system (on their FB page) if you are coming during the peak meal times. There is a parking lot next to MEGA and several private garages in the alley that offer parking (30 TWD/scooter).

The Porchetta Rice is a new addition to their menu. The pesto dribbled on the pork porchetta was a perfect touch.

Location – No. 26-3, Xīnguāng Rd (next to the Family Mart and one block west of FE21)

Prices – 150 to 250 TWD although fries (more of an appetizer) are cheaper

Hours – 11:30 to 8:30 (or 9 Sat/Sun) – closed on Tuesdays

Contact info – 073341257 or 0973013900 – yaletownbistro@gmail.com – Yaletown FB

 

Previous Local Spotlights

ZZyZx Restaurant and Bar

Beast Bar and Grill

303 Kitchen and Bar

Legend’s Lunchcart

Truman’s Motorcycle Repair

Teresa’s Restaurant

Lighthouse Bar and Grill

10 Easy Waterfall Hikes in Taiwan

I haven’t been everywhere yet but here are 10 easy waterfall hikes to do with children or retired parents. There are also great for those that are a little out of shape or who want to have a lazy day. And I know all about lazy days. Let me know if you have done any easy and safe waterfall hikes that aren’t on the list.

I picked several criteria for these hikes.

First, it has to be a hike and I am setting the minimum distance at 2km round trip.

Second, there should be a good trail surface so young, old and less confident hikers are comfortable hiking. Likewise the trails should have minimal rocks, branches and other obstacles even though I really like these natural trails. Another big issue in Taiwan is slippery moss covered surfaces but I think the below list minimizes those surfaces but they are difficult to completely avoid.

Third, there should be modest elevation gain.

Fourth, there should be an awesome waterfall on the hike and this is perhaps the most important criteria.

  1. Shanfong Waterfall is part of Yushan National Park in Hualien. This is part of the much longer Walami Trail (and even longer but currently closed Batonggaun Trail) but dayhikers can hike up to the waterfall or campground (5km one way) w/o a permit. On the drive to Shanfong Waterfall you will pass Nanan Waterfall where many locals swim during the summer.

Click for directions to Shanfong Waterfall

2. Baiyang Waterfall is one of Taroko Gorge National Park’s most visited places. The hike is along an old road that was built for a hydroelectric project that was cancelled (thankfully). The trail gives hikers an introduction to some spectacular high mountain scenery without the effort. Hikers should remember their headlamps (smartphones are adequate but not that great) for the 8 tunnels on the trail. At the end the Water Curtain Cave is a long tunnel that started leaking water and is now a tourist attraction. It is best to check the trail conditions before your trip because this trail is frequently closed (currently closed 4/2016). Trail conditions (link)

Click for directions to Baiyang Waterfall

3. The road to Longgong (Dragon Palace) Waterfall might be challenging with dozens of switchbacks but the hike is incredibly easy. The most spectacular aspect is when the trail continues behind the waterfall and comes out the other side. In addition to Longgong Waterfall there are two additional waterfalls to see. Leiyin Waterfall drops 100’s of meters opposite Longgong Waterfall. Be warned though there are two trailheads to Longgong Waterfall. One of the routes is almost completely flat all the way to the waterfall and the other descends 350 meters of stairs in 2 km.

There is currently (4/2016) trail damage and you can’t walk behind the waterfall but you can see the waterfall as shown below.

Click for directions to Longgong Waterfall

4. Xinliao Waterfall is a very easy and popular hike in Yilan. They first built the trail in 2006 but it was destroyed by a typhoon a couple of years later and then rebuilt in 2009. For those looking for a more natural trail they can also check out the nearby Jiuliao Waterfall.

Click for directions to Xinliao Waterfall

5. Shuiliandong Waterfall is one of my favorites in Taiwan. The hike goes over a REALLY high red bridge in a tight gorge and there is one more even taller waterfall at the end of this gorge. There might be some trail damage but I haven’t been there in 4 years. I think I need to go this summer.

Click for directions to Shuiliandong Waterfall

6. The trail to Maolin Waterfall was destroyed in the devastating Typhoon Morakot 7 years ago.  Nearly every bit of infrastructure in the Maolin and Duona area was also destroyed by that typhoon but they have slowly rebuilt the valley into a popular tourist destination. In 2013 they rebuilt the trail with two impressive suspension bridges back to the waterfall.

Click here for directions to Maolin Waterfall

7. Wuling Farm isn’t the most convenient place to visit but if planned correctly you can see peach and cherry blossoms in the spring, hike through a beautiful cypress forest and visit Taoshan Waterfall. You can also use Wuling Farm for access to some of Taiwan’s best high mountain hikes like Snow Mountain and Wuling Sixiu.

Click here for directions to Taoshan Waterfall

8. Sunlinksea (hate the name – it should be Shanlinshi) Forest Recreation Area has two spectacular waterfalls. Chinglong Waterfall is a beautiful 116 meter waterfall that can be viewed from across the valley. Those wanting to do a few extra (A LOT) stairs can descend to a better viewpoint. Songlong (Pine Dragon) Rock Waterfall is located right next to a shuttle bus stop at the end of the road.

Click here for directions to Chinglong Waterfall

9. Yulan Waterfall used to be a bit of an adventure to access but they have built a wide trail and several bridges for easy access now. The forest on this hike is particularly beautiful and I could have spent hours taking photos.

Click for directions to Yulan Waterfall

10. Yunlong Waterfall is part of one of my favorite hikes in Taiwan. The Batongguan Trail starts in Dongbu Hot Springs, connects to Yushan and if it is ever repaired it can be hiked all the way to the Walami Trail in Haulien. The hike follows a deep V shaped valley with spectacular views. The trail is in good shape and easy to walk but almost the entire trail is next to a very steep cliff and may not be suitable for young children or for those with a fear of heights.

Click here for directions to Yunlong Waterfall

Honorable Mention: I believe Neidong Waterfall is one of Taiwan’s most beautiful waterfalls. Last August the entire Wulai region was devastated by Typhoon Soudelor and it is unknown how long it will be until Neidong Waterfall reopens to the public.

Click for directions to Neidong Waterfall

Some other easy waterfall hikes:

Shuangliu Waterfall in Pingtung

Linmei Shipan Waterfall in Yilan

Qingshan (Laomei) Waterfall in New Taipei

Yuanyang Valley Waterfalls in Hsinchu

Liangshan Waterfall in Pingtung

Qinglong Waterfall (at the Sky Ladder) in Nantou

Longying Waterfall at Fuyuan Butterfly Valley in Hualien

Manyueyuan Rec Area Waterfalls and Yunsen Waterfall in New Taipei (links to Josh Ellis’s blog)

 

Namasia’s Fireflies

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

Xiaolin Memorial

88 Waterfall

Yudashan short hike – potential sunrise spot

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

Holy Mount Zion

Valas Guesthouse and Campground

Sanmin Fire – probably still there  – It is an eternal flame fueled by some sort of gas vent.

This is an account of Namasia (including Longfeng Waterfall) from before Typhoon Morakot.

Here is another overview of Namasia from before Typhoon Morakot.

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?

Explore Taiwan – Maolin and Duona

Maolin was the first area that I explored on motorcycle when I moved to Taiwan 6 years ago. I knew about Typhoon Morakot but I had no idea just how severe it was or how much things had changed. I moved to Taiwan months after Typhoon Morakot but I didn’t know just how devastating it was for many of the aboriginal villages in southern Taiwan. Almost every bridge was taken out in Namasia, the entire Southern Cross Island Highway (parts still closed), Maolin and Wutai (among other places). In addition to that villages were washed away (mostly evacuated) and one village was completely buried (Xiaolin – not evacuated).  Altogether over 600 people likely died and the rebuilding continues today.

Duona was just a dreary ghost town with a couple of basic convenience stores selling snacks on my first visit. Fast forward a couple of years and Duona’s main street is packed with busloads of tourists on weekends and a dozen of stylish restaurants and businesses lining the main street. I have seen the reconstruction of numerous bridges on my various trips. Many of the trails to the sights below have been built in the last 3-4 years and they are so much easier to access.  Things have changed so much for the area and I love going back every time.

My goal is to explore every hidden corner of Taiwan and there will no doubt be even more spectacular places but Maolin will always be a special place because it is where the exploration started. It is also a pretty awesome place with many things to do.

Are there any places that I have left out?  What are your favorite places in Maolin and Duona?  

  1. Maolin is best known for its purple butterflies. There are many places in the world where butterfly migrations pass through yearly but there are only two (known) overwintering valleys in the world. One is in Mexico and the other is in Maolin, Taiwan. The numbers of butterflies have declined but with a little luck you can find swarms of butterflies along the Zishalishi Butterfly Trail in Maolin Village. Before hiking the trail there is a visitor center which explains the significance of the butterfly migration.

Click for directions to Maolin’s Purple Butterfly Valley

2. Lover’s Gorge Waterfall is the most popular of the waterfalls near Maolin and it is one of the best swimming spots in Taiwan. Two bridges (pedestrian and vehicular) to the waterfall have been built since Typhoon Morakot devastated the area in 2009. The rebuilt trail (2014 or 2015) starts at a parking lot waterfall and it is now an easy walk to the 2nd tier (and best tier) of the waterfall.

Click for directions to Lover’s Gorge Waterfall

3. After Typhoon Morakot, Douna Suspension Bridge was the only bridge that wasn’t destroyed. For awhile it provided the only permanent connection to Duona Village at the end of road 132. Today most traffic goes over a new bridge but tourists can still visit the 103 meter tall bridge (tallest in Taiwan) and hike out to nearby Longtoushan (Dragon Head Mountain).

Click for directions to Duona Suspension Bridge

4. Longtoushan and Shetoushan are pair of interesting case studies into Taiwan’s fascination of naming rocks and hills after animals that they vaguely resemble. In this case these are actually pretty cool.

Longtoushan (Dragon Head Mountain)

Shetoushan (Snake Head Mountain)

View the full blog post from one of my first trips to Maolin

5. I was originally told that Meiya Waterfall was broken up by several different sources but broken up seemed like a strange description and I was determined to investigate as far as I could. I was initially turned away by an impending rainstorm but the following year I walked up the creek to find Meiya Waterfall. The trail is completely destroyed though and visitors will have to pick their way through a rock field in the creek. There are rumors about a new trail being built but so far the project hasn’t started. Hopefully they don’t remove the best Chinglish sign ever.

6. I found Deengorge Guesthouse completely by accident 5 years ago. I was exploring Maolin a year or two after Typhoon Morakot and went down a random road ending up at the guesthouse on a Sunday evening. They were as surprised to see me as I was to see them since very few tourists came to Maolin after the big typhoon and even fewer ventured as far as Deengorge. We chatted for awhile and this has become my favorite campground in Taiwan. One of my favorite memories is the guesthouse owner looking at all of the frogs in the middle of the night because he heard an unusual croak that sounded different than the 12 species that are usually present.

Click for directions to Deengorge Guesthouse

7.  On my first or second trip to Deengorge I asked about the name of the waterfall near the guesthouse and they said it doesn’t have a name and it is only used for drinking water. I might have been the first person that was ever interested in that little waterfall but it is a nice two tier waterfall right next to the road and I have thus named it Deengorge Waterfall.

Click for directions to Deengorge Waterfall

8. I first attempted to go to Maolin Waterfall in 2012 and was told that it was an easy hike. Instead I found bridges lying in the creek and no trail so I improvised and walked up the creek (a lot of fun). Ultimately I was blocked by a small waterfall and wasn’t able to get to Maolin Waterfall. I still put it up on the guide but later I started getting comments about not having to walk in the creek and pictures of a completely different waterfall from confused hikers. In 2014 the government built a beautiful trail (27M TWD) back to Maolin Waterfall. This has become one of my favorite waterfalls in Taiwan.

Click for directions to Maolin Waterfall

9. On one of my trips to Deengorge I was told about the Tapakadrawane Festival happening that night in Duona. Tapakadrawane is a harvest festival that ironically is held at almost the same time as American Thanksgiving. Many groups participated in a talent show but the highlight of the evening was a ceremony similar to homecoming king and queen. About a dozen young men and a dozen young women performed and gave speeches in hopes of winning.

View the full blog post

10. Guifu Canyon is one of the rarest places that I have visited in Taiwan. Downstream and upstream the creek is a fairly typical green valley filled with river rock but for a short stretch it becomes a narrow slot canyon with steep walls and a waterfall drops into it from a sidestream. The end is blocked by a 2nd shorter waterfall. Trips need a little luck to be successful. If it has rained heavily recently then you won’t be able to enter the canyon and the waterfall dries up during the winter.

Click for directions to Guifu Waterfall

11. Weiliaoshan is at the entrance of Maolin Valley and it is a challenging but excellent dayhike. The trail follows the ridgeline on the Kaohsiung and Pingtung county line rising 1275 meters in 8.5 km.  The last 3 km are particularly steep and rocky.

Click here for directions to Weiliaoshan

12. I haven’t hiked the Liugui Special Garrison Trail yet but Tyler has provided excellent details on a lost and overgrown section of the trail in his new blog. The Liugui Special Garrison Trail is a 50 kilometer route along a ridgeline all the way from Dajin to Baolai. The trail was built by the Japanese and had a police station every kilometer. Now the police stations are just piles of rocks and only sections of the trail are walkable. Tyler plans on blogging about these sections next on his blog.  You can follow his blog at tylercottenie.wordpress.com.

Note – I wouldn’t recommend walking the section that Tyler did in his blog but the other sections look very interesting.

Click to view the full blog post

13.  There are three waterfalls located just outside Maolin Valley that can be a fun side trip. Dajin Waterfall is very popular on weekends and goes up (and then down) over 800 stairs. Dazhi Waterfall is a decent waterfall but it goes dry early in the season (read between the lines here – it is one of my least favorites). My recommendation would be Hulugu (Calabash or Gourd Valley) Waterfall for a cool little area to explore or relax.

14.  One area that I would like to explore further is an overgrown trail at Meiya Waterfall. The sign is now obscured and unreadable but it mentioned an old aboriginal village somewhere up the hill. It is also possible that this trail leads up to an overlook for Meiya Waterfall.

15. I don’t know anything about Wanshan Petroglyphs but I have been told that it is strictly off limits unless you arrange a local guide (no idea how to arrange a guide though). This is on my secondary (or tertiary) to do list. I have so many other trips planned in Taiwan before I figure out how to go back there.

16. There is a small waterfall and hot spring up one of the river valleys but I lost the blog link to it. Based on memory this required an overnight camping trip (maybe 15 km each way).

17. I definitely need to add more info on things to do in Duona and Maolin Villages. There are numerous cool spots (including UBAKE art space) and we have eaten some amazing food. We enjoyed the meal below from the Diplomatic (?) Restaurant near the main intersection in Maolin. We also ate roasted chicken in Duona and the food at Deengorge (a large set meal) was delicious. One local specialty is xiaomijiu (millet wine). On two separate occasions this led to disasters though so be prepared for the bottles to explode (when opening). I don’t even want to write about the other disaster.  It was awful.

18. And just so people are clear – Duona Hot Springs are completely buried by 10+ meters of rock (Typhoon Morakot). Perhaps they will excavate this in the future but I have not heard of any plans to do so.  There might be plans to setup a hot spring at a different location but I don’t know any details about it.

Are there any places that I have left out?  What are your favorite places in Maolin and Duona?