Badlands, Waterfalls and Aboriginal Culture in Kaohsiung County

In Aboriginal Culture, Cultural relics, Day hikes, Geological curiosities, Kaohsiung City, Mountains, River Tracing, Tainan City, Waterfalls by Richard0 Comments

Badlands near Yanqiao

Badlands near Yanqiao

Meiya Waterfall, near Maolin

Meiya Waterfall, near Maolin

Crossing the Wanshan no. 1 Suspension Bridge (by scooter...), near Maolin

Crossing the Wanshan no. 1 Suspension Bridge (by scooter…), near Maolin

The Natural Cleft behind the 'Stone Breast' Temple near Tianliao

The Natural Cleft behind the ‘Stone Breast’ Temple near Tianliao

The 'Grand Canyon' near Nanhua

The ‘Grand Canyon’ near Nanhua

The main reason for our recent scooter weekend in Kaohsiung County was to explore a couple of new sights, and revisit the area’s mud volcanoes for a new project I’m working on, but we got to fit a lot more into those two jam-packed days.

First up came the wonderful Badlands landscapes: the magnificent ‘Grand Canyon’ (大峽谷) near Nanhua (南化), just across the border in Tainan County…

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…and some un-named and less well-known examples near Yanqiao and on beautiful route 39-1:

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Next we motored east to Maolin to see the famous butterflies, who overwinter in the lush wooded hills here in vast numbers (unfortunately the weather was so cold the day we went the poor things were unwilling to fly, and we saw very few), and the fine Meiya Waterfall (nearby – still very fine despite the scars left behind by Morakot).

The route to Meiya Waterfall (now a fun scramble - Morakot destroyed the path)

The route to Meiya Waterfall (now a fun scramble – Morakot destroyed the path)

Despite the unseasonably cold weather, at least one of us felt brave enough for a swim at beautiful Meiya Waterfall

Despite the unseasonably cold weather, at least one of us felt brave enough for a swim at beautiful Meiya Waterfall

A short-cut from Meiya Waterfall back to the road up to lovely Duona goes straight across the very long and very high Wanshan Suspension Bridge – just as well we only saw just how high it was after we’d crossed it on our scooters!

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Saturday night in Duona (多納) was spent walking around the lovely, quiet aboriginal village, eating al fresco, on the street, and (some of us) drinking far too much of the villagers’ home-made millet wine.

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Apart from Meiya Waterfall and the Ghost Axe Canyon, we did manage to get a couple of (very short) hikes in – an ascent of the conspicuous Cockscomb Mountain (雞冠山) near Yanqiao…

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Climbing the Cockscomb Mountain

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…and the remarkable natural cleft behind the ‘Stone Breast’ Temple (yep, that’s it’s real name) just south of Tianliao (田寮):

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The Stone Breast Temple, named after two rounded stalactites (which appear to be venerated by locals) in the small cave behind the structure

The Stone Breast Temple, named after two rounded stalactites (which appear to be venerated by locals) in the small cave behind the structure

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I’m getting to know this area better each time I visit, and while the hinterland of Kaohsiung City doesn’t hold a candle to the countless amazing mountainous landscapes and stunning spots within an hour or two’s drive of Chiayi (still my absolute favourite area of Taiwan to spend a weekend on a scooter), it certainly has it’s fair share of unusual and arresting corners – I’ll be back!

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