Taiwan – Taipei – Shifen Waterfalls

Shifen is a small town a short distance (1hr) away from Taipei. It is mainly known for Shifen Waterfall. The waterfall here is probably the most majestic of all waterfalls in Taiwan. The town is easily accessible by slow train (TRA: Taiwan Railways Administration). Go to the ticket booth in Taipei Main Station, and buy a ticket to Shifen (NT69). As there is no direct train to Shifen, a transit at Ruifang is required. Basically alight at Ruifang, and ask the helpful staffs when the train to Shifen will arrive and board it. It will be at the same platform as you alight. Unlike the High Speed Railway (HSR), this train has no allocated seat numbers and seats are on a first come first serve basis. Just like the subway, people hold on to handrails during peak hours and can be VERY packed. Railway tracks are laid in proximity to shops and houses, and even before the train pull up into the station, one can feel the bust and liveliness of the place, especially during weekends.

Alight at Ruifang to transit to another train.
Streets of Ruifang. You can actually go out to grab a bite while waiting for your train.
Shifen Train Station

Shifen is a pretty laid back place, and one can really feel the slow pace of life as you walk away from the train station. Looking at the raw unadulterated nature, one can even reminisce about their childhood, when all things were simple. The lost of such simple pleasure in life is all the more saddening, with the torrential rain pouring down, as if the sky too missed the time when there were no gaping holes in the ozone layer.

Rail tracks are laid almost in front of houses and shops.
A dog that found me, and accompanied me on my walk towards Shifen Waterfall.
Shifen Scenic Area
Crossing railway tracks remind me of scenes in movies where lovers hopped and walked along them.
Keelung River. Longest and widest river in Taipei.

Shifen Waterfall is a short walk (~30mins) away from the train station. There are ample signage around to guide tourists and locals alike to the waterfall. Though the waterfall can be viewed afar at no charge, a close up view would require you to buy a ticket into the “theme park”, where waterfall observation platforms have been specifically built. Ticket prices are cheap (NT80) and I highly recommend entering the “theme park”. Vast volume of water rush off the cliff in a sheer cascade resembling towering limestones. The splash of water down the waterfall reverberated around the foliage, drowning out speech.

Following the trail you will come to a split. Descend down the stairs to the “theme park” for a closer view of the waterfall.
Frontal shot of the waterfall. It was raining heavily with strong wind, and water was splashing all over me… 😦 If it wasn’t raining so heavily, the water would have been clear, and water would be falling like silk threads.
Shifen Waterfall
From this closeup, it really looked like limestone pillars.

This is how Shifen Waterfall look like on a sunny day with less water runoff.

After Shifen waterfall, head back to the train station. From here, either head back to RuiFang, or take the train further down to PingXi. For my Taiwan trip, I took the train back to RuiFang, and from there head to JiuFen.

Dec 2012

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6 thoughts on “Taiwan – Taipei – Shifen Waterfalls

  1. I’m here in Ruifang, did Pingxi last night, pouring rain, lit a lantern. Now reading your post wondering if I should go to waterfalls- it’s still pouring rain… and man do those trains get packed!
    I live near Niagara Falls back in Canada, but still…
    Thanks for the post

  2. i’m indonesianese …life in xindian…. some time i hope can go there…
    may be tomorrow….
    thanks 4 the pos… xie-xie ni…

    1. I think apart from the waterfall, the other attraction of Shifen is releasing sky lanterns. Lining the railway stations are shops that provide this service. First, you choose a lantern, and customize things like color and size (i.e. different prices, just choose the white one…) Next, you write your wishes onto the four sides of the lantern, and then release it into the sky. I guess that is pretty much shifen has to offer…

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