Friday, May 6, 2016

Maolin, Taiwan - 茂林國家風景區

Maolin Valley (茂林國家風景區) is one of the most beautiful places in Kaohsiung and Pingtung counties. It's about a two hour drive from Kaohsiung City and has many scenic locations on the way as well.
On our trip we decided to drive our scooters. The first hour we pretty much just drove north towards Tainan then started to head east. I read on another blog about mud volcanoes (燕巢烏山頂泥火山) but it wasn't clearly marked. Once you get onto the mountain there are signs marking the way.  

When we arrived the visitors center required our passport numbers, addresses, and names.  As we walked towards the mud volcanoes we could hear the mud bubbles popping extremely loudly. It was sometimes hard to tell where the sound was coming from, as sometimes the sound was coming from under our feet.  

There were some mud volcanoes that you could easily look down into and watch as the mud bubbled up and splashed over the rim. The mud wasn't hot at all; we didn't do this, but apparently you're able to light the mud volcanoes on fire.

大津瀑布 Dajin Falls - Maolin, Taiwan
After seeing the mud volcanoes, we headed towards Maolin (茂林). After about another hour we finally arrived. The first waterfall I wanted to check out had the road closed off. So we headed towards the next one (大津瀑布).

This is definitely one of the coolest waterfalls I've been to. It was very tall, had a shallow pool and had tons of butterflies and leaves falling down from above. It definitely felt like something out of a movie. I wanted to swim in it but  I didn't want to disrupt the Taiwanese meditating at the waterfall and live the American stereotype. However once we saw a few other Taiwanese take a dip, swimming was free game. (This actually isn't a great swimming spot because of how small and shallow the pool is.)

After our dip, we drove deeper into the mountains of Maolin Valley. Our main stop was a high suspension bridge going between two mountains. The roads wind back and forth as you slowly navigate through the valley, often getting stuck behind slow tour buses that can't turn easily around the many bends in the road. Once we arrived, however, the view was spectacular and well worth the time it took to drive there.

佛光山 - Fo Guan Buddhist Monastery

On the way home, because one of our friends hasn't gone yet, we stopped at Fo Guang Buddhist Monastery (Click here for my post on Fo Guang Shan).

Mud Volcano Wiki