Traipsing and Swimming to 10 of Taiwan's Top Waterfalls

Traipsing and Swimming to 10 of Taiwan's Top Waterfalls
Xiaofei

What you need to know

Pick a waterfall and off you go.

There's nothing quite like a brisk swim at the end of a long hike and Taiwan, the wettest developed country on Earth, has plenty of good options to choose from. Here are 10 waterfalls to consider:

Jiaolong Waterfall - Chiayi County, Meishan Township

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Credit: Xiaofei

With a main waterfall over 400 meters tall and a total height over 600 meters, Jiaolong waterfall is literally in the clouds. This massive waterfall is best viewed within a few days of a heavy rain. It’s also recommended to visit in the morning, as the waterfall can be completely obscured by clouds in the afternoon. The waterfall can be seen from miles around -- cars can drive directly to the viewing platform.

Jiaolong waterfall takes my breath away. It just goes up and up and up until it disappears in the clouds. Even though it’s so big, looking for it is like a treasure hunt, since it only flows after a heavy rain.

Tianma Waterfall - Chiayi County, Fanlu Township

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Xiaofei

This beautiful waterfall is part of the Caoshan Waterfall group which is a cluster of more than 10 amazing waterfalls in the Caoshan River north of Zengwen Reservoir. Getting to this waterfall requires hiking and swimming, but it’s a nice reward for people who are looking for more adventure. If you just want an easy hike without any swimming, the one above it is also very nice and is much easier to get to.

Tianma waterfall is an adventurer's dream come true. Lot’s of scrambling, swimming and water slides along the way. I can’t wait to go back.

Baxian Waterfall - Hsinchu County, Wufeng Township

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Credit: Xiaofei

Although most people view Baxian Waterfall from the road, for a truly spectacular view you need to hike down to it. It’s not a long hike through the forest, but the path is unclear at the beginning. Please check this map carefully to avoid making a wrong turn.

The first time I went to Baxian Waterfall, I got lost. The second time, I climbed up through the river from the bottom, which was very difficult and the water was freezing, even in July. It was all worth it though, this waterfall is amazing. The forest path that I couldn’t find before was easy to follow going up; I won’t get lost again.

Long Dragon Waterfall - Kaohsiung City, Taoyuan District

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Credit: Xiaofei

Two hours north of Kaohsiung City lies the remote and beautiful Long Dragon Waterfall. It can be seen from the road, and hiking to the base of it takes about 15-20 minutes. There used to be public hot springs bath in front of this waterfall, but sadly it was buried by landslides during Typhoon Marakot.

The first time I went to Long Dragon Waterfall, I was so relaxed after the hike and swim that I dropped by glasses and didn’t notice they were gone until I was back in Kaohsiung. I had to go all the way back and look for them in the dark, but I found them eventually.

Fan Waterfall - Yilan County, Nan’ao Township

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Credit: Xiaofei

The river leading up to Fan Waterfall is one of the most beautiful river traces in Taiwan. For those looking for an easier or faster way though, there is also a path on left side of the valley that goes all the way to the waterfall. The entry point to the side trail not obvious though, so please check this map for more details.

I liked Fan Waterfall so much that when I met some people going upriver on my way down, I decided to turn around and hike all the way back up with them again. Waterfalls aren’t just great places to swim and enjoy nature, they’re also great places to make new friends.

Dagui Waterfall - New Taipei City, Ruifang District

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Credit: Xiaofei

This colorful waterfall is only a 30 minute drive (and a one hour hike) from downtown Taipei. There is a wonderful view of it from the hiking trails along the mountain, or you can also trace to the bottom if it through the river. Getting to the bottom of the waterfall requires swimming and climbing, so please plan accordingly.

Sometimes I feel like I’m living a contradiction. I can’t get somewhere because I don’t have a map, but I don’t have a map because I haven’t been there yet and drawn one! So it was when I went to Dagui Waterfall. I thought the mountain path was the path to the waterfall. It wasn’t until after a difficult climb down that I realized the right way is just to hike up the river.

Ocean God’s Pools - Pingtung County, Sandimen Township

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Credit: Xiaofei

Ocean God’s Pools are a series of three round pools which take about 40 minutes to hike to. It’s a popular place to swim and play because it’s very beautiful and the rocks also form a natural waterslide. The best time to photograph the pools is before 1 p.m., because in the afternoon direct sunlight won’t make it into the canyon. Some swimming is required, so please prepare accordingly.

Ocean God’s Pools is my home away from home. I’ve been going here several times a year for the last five years. It’s only April and I’ve already been twice this year.

Wutai Waterfall - Pingtung, Wutai Township

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Credit: Xiaofei

The gigantic second level of Wutai Waterfall used to be quite difficult to get to. Thanks to a new trail though, it’s now an easy walk. Getting to the first tier (above) still requires a short swim.

I’ve known these waterfalls were here for several years, but I'd never been able to find them. It wasn't until a Japanese team took me down the river with ropes that I was able to find the old path. As usually, it’s always easier to follow the path up from the bottom, and then, once you know it’s there, it’s easy to follow back down again.

Shuiliandong Waterfall - Tainan City, Dongshan District

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Credit: Xiaofei

This cute little waterfall is located inside the Zengwen Reservoir Scenic Park. It’s only a few minutes walk from the road, and can also been seen from the bridge. Zengwen Reservoir Park has a small entry fee, and other attractions in the park include Zengwen Dam, a lookout tower, and several monuments.

Nothing makes me happier than a Shuiliandong – the cave behind the waterfall. There’s something about the white water blocking your view and the sounds echoing off the rocks that makes it a calming and peaceful experience.

Shuiliandong Waterfall - Yunlin County, Gukeng Township

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Xiaofei

Below Gukeng village is a really amazing waterfall with a very similar name to the one above. You can easily walk behind it. It’s close to the parking lot and is an easy place to go for families with small children or anyone who doesn’t want a long hike. The signs on the road are misleading, so please follow this map to drive all the way down to the bottom.

I stop by this waterfall on almost every road trip, so don’t be alarmed if one day you see me taking a shower here in the morning. It’s big an easily accessible, and at around 10 a.m. the sun is just right to photograph a big rainbow.

Read Next: Handling Snakes and other Nocturnal Adventures in Taiwan’s Forests

TNL Editor: Morley J Weston


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