The Wonderful Shifen Waterfall of Taiwan

Taiwan may be known for its strong Chinese culture, vibrant street life and culinary prowess, but it also caters to those who adore nature. One of the country’s most prized natural attractions is the Shifen Waterfalls.

Located at the Pingxi Township in Taipei County, the waterfall is surrounded by a mountainous area adorned by kettle pits in river beds. Kettle pits refer to round shallow pits created because of the erosion of soft rocks and rapid water flow. Shifen Waterfall is considered by many guidebooks and travel experts as the most beautiful in the country.

ShifenBecause of their resemblance, the Shifen Waterfall has been referred to as the Little Niagara of Taiwan. The waterfall is quite accessible from the capital Taipei as the Shifen town is only an hour away. A number of tourists take the train service from the city’s main station – specifically the Hua-Dong or Yilan line. If you are on board either train line, you have to get off the Houtong or Ruifang station and transfer to Pingxi Line. This particular line has the Shifen station. From this station, you will only need to walk 15 minutes to reach the Shifen visitor center. It is also possible to drive to Shifen or take regular bus routes that pass through the waterfall section. You need to pay a fee to gain entrance to the waterfall area. This fee covers the maintenance costs of the attraction and insurance.

The Shifen visitor center is situated in the Ruifang Special Scenic Area, which covers a land area of 56.89 hectares that runs from the Keelung River to the regions of Xinliao and Nanshan. The scenic area is appropriately named as it showcases a spectacular landscape characterized by luscious mountains, waterfalls and river potholes.

TaiwanDropping by the visitor center before proceeding to the fall, is quite advantageous because you can get brochures in English and Chinese from here. This brochure features an extensive map of the area and some important information about the waterfall and kettle pits. The center also conducts regular video presentations and sky lantern making classes.

The nearest attraction to the visitor center is the eyeglass cave. You can get here by walking across a suspension bridge and heading towards the river. The cave is made more interesting because of a small waterfall that flows through it.

As you go towards the main Shifen waterfall, you will find local vendors with stalls that sell barbecue pork sausages. These sausages are reportedly very tasty and give out an aroma that is simply irresistible to many visitors. Reaching the waterfall requires you walk beside a railway track, which still receives trains every half an hour, so be cautious. The path to Shifen waterfall is not really tough, but it is filled with small pebbles; so make sure that you wear comfortable outdoor shoes.

The waterfall exudes a very laidback and calming vibe, which is similar to what you will feel all through the town. However, the amount and the speed of the water plunging to the big deep pool underneath is quite astounding and it creates a mist that surrounds the entire area. After experiencing the beautiful Shifen waterfall, you can also enjoy a cup of coffee or tea at a nearby quaint coffee shop.

About Author:

Arie Boris has extensive travel industry experience, including business and sales development for commercial aviation, the International emergency assistance & travel insurance industry and a national association of travel agents. He was a contributing editor to several print and Internet travel publications, including Fieldings’ Worldwide Cruise Guide and was part of the start up team for CruiseCritic. He has written over 400 cruise ship reviews. Arie also produces and hosts Cruise Gourmet Voyages, a variety of fundraising & theme group cruises for various charitable and arts organizations. He has produced theme cruises for a variety of special interest groups including opera, comedy, spiritual retreats and fan clubs for TV shows like Dark Shadows and Dancing with the Stars!