From Shifen Old Street to Shifen Waterfall
I never thought that going from Shifen to Shifen Waterfall could be this difficult. From the countless readouts I have gotten, non mention it was difficult to be there. So much so that it nearly spoiled the beautiful dream I had of Shifen.
We were at Shifen then to release the famous Sky Lantern, and enjoying one of the most unforgettable day we had in Taipei. It was near to 1 pm when we decided to move on to Shifen Waterfall.
So how to go to Shifen Waterfall?
Of course the easiest way to be there is to take a taxi to Shifen Waterfall, it costs about TWD$200 or USD$ 5.50 and takes less than 5 minutes. There are plenty of taxis available at the entrance of Shifen Old Street.
Another way is to go there by renting a bike, as shown in the following yellow signage. It says no driving license is required, and it takes only 5 minutes to be there instead of taking a 30 minutes walk.
But we decided to take a walk there. It is easy to be there, simply take a walk there and follow the slabs along the way. I got all the information from the many shop owners I approached. The yellow coloured arrow in the following picture shows the direction to Shifen Waterfall.
From the information we had gotten, we already knew it’s not going to be a sweet trip there, still I managed to persuade my spouse and children to go through this difficult route with me. I just wanted to explore and testify how correct were all those information I got online.
The route to Shifen is easy, along the way, there are many direction signages to guide you. It’s very straight forward, no left turn and right turn to confuse you.
We went through a long row of shop houses, it’s another way to see how people live here.
After a 10 minutes walk, we hit reached the first destination: Shifen Visitor Centre.
Go collect all information you want about Shifen or Shifen Waterfall in this Visitor Centre. There is a café here for tired travelers.
This Shifen Visitor Centre is the last stop for all travelers to either continue or give up the trip. If you have taken a taxi or bus, you need to alight here too. For the authorities allow no vehicles to go beyond here. Mind you, it gets tougher as you proceed further.
The map tells you that going by foot to Shifen Waterfalls only takes you 15 minutes. Wow, so easy, could have come another 10 times! That’s what we thought.(Above picture) That’s the map of Shifen Waterfall.
From here on, it takes only another 5 minutes to reach Shifen Waterfall. But the route to it was the toughest, it was going up and down the wooden stairs……
……and down many steep slopes.
With no sight of the waterfall and no sound of it, you could feel that you actually is hiking the mountain rather than to come see the waterfall.
As we were suffering from the rough road to it, we kept wondering: where is the waterfalls actually, or is there one at all? Until you are about 20 meters away from the viewing platform it could you hear the fall of the water and another 10 meters nearer to actually glance it for the first time. Suprisingly, Shifen Waterfalls is rather ‘quite’.
If you could get pass the rocky road, congratulations, let’s enjoy the scenic view of Shifen Waterfall!
We arrived at a time when it was either raining or drizzling the whole day since early morning, hidden in the forested mountain, Shifen Waterfalls was rather misty.
The first impression of the waterfall is it looked rather small. Many said it is the Niagara Falls of Taiwan, and having seen Niagara Falls of America just 2 years back, I was wondering which part of Shifen Waterfall are they actually comparing to?
The comparison is not fair to Shifen Waterfall. With due respect, it is really beautiful. The only thing that is lacking is the sound of the fall. I hardly hear any roaring sound one usually associate with a waterfall. She is rather quiet, she is too shy to make much noise.
Due to the poor weather, only few visitors were there at time of visit.
Perhaps, it is because we’re seeing the waterfall from a higher ground, it makes the waterfall less impactful.
In my first visit to Shifen I had failed to come due to being unaware of its closing time. Today, 4 months after, I come again, I finally got to see it personally, but it was all disappointment. A place which I wanted to come and see so much in the end gave me little in return.
Well, well, time to go back.
Leaving Shifen Waterfall? It’s as tough as coming! Look at the following picture:
You have got hundred steps of stairs to climb, brace yourself for that.
At the top of the summit did we realised that we might have come to Shifen Waterfall too early. We saw that the construction of a lift to the waterfall was actually in progress, I guessed it should be completed by another 3-4 months.
Despite having a lift, unless shutter service is provided, still you need to walk all the way in. Well, it seems that hiking Shifen Waterfall is unavoidable.
At the top of the mountain we could see a slight overview of the waterfall.
We were very glad that finally we arrived back at Shifen Visitor Centre, where taxi is readily available. We eagerly hoped onto one and left the unwanted hiking of Shifen Waterfall.
So how much time we took to reach Shifen Waterfall from Shifen Old Street? 30 minutes to be exact, excluding few minutes we spent at the Visitor Centre.
So did I enjoy visiting Shifen Waterfall?
Yes, and No. It is kept at its most natural state, kudos to the park management for that. But visiting it is really tough for everyone, including the young.
I’m not discouraging you to come to Shifen Waterfall, but just a reminder to anyone who has difficulty in walking and the very young ones. Certainly, one need a bit of stamina and fitness to be here.
Take note of the closing time to the waterfall, 4 months ago it was till 5.30 pm, now it has changed to 4.30 pm.