Taiwan – Shifen Waterfall (十分瀑布)

Shifen Waterfall (十分瀑布)

Shifen waterfall (十分瀑布) is also known as the Little Niagara of Taiwan and well, I think it’s worthy of the nickname. Its curtain waterfall does resemble the real Niagara fall, albeit a much smaller scale. It is still very grand nevertheless. The waterfall is located in Pingxi District, near Shifen train station (along Pingxi line). From the station, head towards the shop houses at the old street and you should reach the waterfall in about 20 minutes. Please be warned that there isn’t any proper pavement for pedestrians and we were walking by the side of the road, with heavy vehicles zooming past. But not to worry, just be more careful and you should be ok.

Trust the direction from the signage; the distance is inaccurate though.

Spotted this holiday chalet along the way

Walking on the side of the road as there was no pavement.

While you are walking along the main road, keep a lookout for a sign on the right that will direct you onto a path that is off the road (See the photo on the right below for an idea and do note that the photo was taken when I was on the way back. Hence your view will be in a reverse angle). Go down the slope and continue along the path, you will come to a beautiful suspension bridge. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a nice view of the facade as the bridge was under renovation then. Beyond the bridge is a railway track and you are less than five minutes away from the waterfall.

A river stream leading to the waterfall

After the stream, you will see this railway track that leads you to the waterfall

Entrance to Shifen waterfall

Map of Shifen Waterfall

Shifen Waterfall – View from the top

A group photo – Does the waterfall look more majestic now?

Another view of the waterfall

A favourite spot for group photos

Our next stop was Taiwan Coalmine Museum where we sat on an authentic coal train.

Useful Information – Shifen Waterfall:

Opening Hours:

  • 08:00-17:30 daily

Directions:

  • Alight at Shifen train station along Pingxi Line
  • Walk towards the direction of Shifen Old Street
  • Follow the direction of the road signs (See photos above)
  • Entire journey is about 20~30 minutes walk (one way)

Admission Charges: 

  • NT$100 per person

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Taiwan – Shifen (十分)

Shifen Waterfall (十分瀑布)

Our original plan was to cover three towns, Shifen (十分), Pingxi (平溪) and Jingtong (菁桐), along the Pingxi railway line in a day. However, we got delayed with our check-in at our accommodation in Jiufen and it was already past lunch when we were ready to set off. Since the sun sets early in the winter (around 5pm), it was quite unrealistic to even attempt to cover three towns in one afternoon; not with the infrequent train schedule. After some consideration, we decided to spend the whole afternoon in just one town and Shifen was the chosen one.

There were a few reasons why we chose Shifen instead of the other two. Firstly, Shifen is the nearest station (among the three towns) to Ruifang and the shorter travelling time is definitely something we appreciate very much in a tight schedule. Secondly, sky lanterns (天燈) are also available in Shifen; although we would very much prefer to do it at Pingxi, which is the original site for sky lanterns. Thirdly, we prefer the attractions in Shifen (Shifen Waterfall and Coal Museum with coal train ride). With these “justifications”, we convinced ourselves that Shifen was the one and I am glad we made that decision.

Map of Pingxi area

The train ticket from Ruifang to Shifen

All hyped up to light the sky lantern

Shifen Train Station

If you are planning to visit the various towns along Pingxi line, you should considering getting the All-Day pass (about NT$54/person) which will give you unlimited rides for the day (along Pingxi line only, obviously). A single trip ticket is about NT$20 and just do your math to decide which is a better deal for you.

Since we planned to visit only one town, we bought the single trip ticket. The train ride was surprisingly very comfortable and it took only 20 minutes to reach Shifen from Ruifang. Like I mentioned earlier, the train schedule along Pingxi line is not very frequent and thus please check the timing of the next train before you leave a station.

The Pingxi district was once an important coal mining area in the 20th century and the Pingxi line was built then for the transportation of the coal. Now there isn’t much coal left in the area and the railway line has been preserved to serve tourists instead.

What makes the trip interesting is that the railway actually runs through a couple of towns. Similar to roads running between buildings in a city, the Pingxi line cuts through the heart of these towns. Do take note that there is no traffic lights or proper crossings and the only warning is the long horn when the train is approaching…

A train running through Shifen

Railway tracks running so close to the shops …

After exploring Shifen town for a few minutes, we were off to Shifen waterfall (十分瀑布), which is otherwise known as the Little Niagara of Taiwan.

Useful Information – Pingxi area:

Pingxi Railway Line:

  • Ruifang -> Houtong -> Sandiaoling -> Dahua -> Shifen -> Wanggu -> Lingjiao -> Pingxi -> JingTong

Things to do at Shifen:

  • 十分 Old Street
  • 十分 waterfall
  • 十分 Coal Mine and Mining Train

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