About Kayoufeng Waterfall (卡悠峰瀑布 [Kǎyōufēng Pùbù]) or Neishi Waterfall (內獅瀑布 [Nèishī Pùbù])
The Kayoufeng Waterfall (卡悠峰瀑布 [Kǎyōufēng Pùbù]; I’ve also seen it spelled Keyoufeng) was probably my favorite waterfall of Southern Taiwan. As you can see from the photos on this page (where people getting close to the falls were dwarfed), the waterfall was big as it was said to be 40m tall and fanning out to what appeared to be at least 10m width or greater. But more importantly, with the hot and steamy climate of Southern Taiwan, this waterfall really was a great place to cool off as it sent spray all over the place when we showed up at the end of an unusually warm October in 2016. For that reason, it wasn’t surprising that this place was very busy, which made for some interesting moments during the drive to get here, which I’ll get into in the directions below.
From the car park, we hiked up a pretty well-made trail that went uphill and ascended quite a few steps along the way (said to gain about 70m in elevation). According to the signage, the trail was 510m each way (or 1.1km round trip) taking about 30 minutes in each direction (or about an hour round trip). The falls was said to be at an elevation of 260m above sea level. While these distances seemed modest, it was the stifling heat and humidity that made this hike deceptively more tiring and sweaty than at first glance. The trail skirted the western banks of the gorge carved out by the Ashiwen Stream (阿士文溪 [Āshìwén Xī]). The further up the trail we went, the more scenic the views downstream towards the valley.
The most dramatic part of the trail was going up along some metal steps towards the top of the climb, where we were able to see some intermediate cascades on the Ashiwen Stream while the views down the valley kept getting better. The metal steps then skirted the ravine before rounding another bend as the gorge closed in. And with another 100m more or so to go, we started to see the Kayoufeng Waterfall up ahead. Eventually, we’d reach the lookout area where there was a platform that we could climb up to for a more elevated look at the waterfall as well as the continuation of the trail leading right to the waterfall’s base where it was throwing up a lot of mist when we were there (making it a bit difficult to take photos closer to its base).
During our visit, the sun was coming in and out of the budding tropical clouds, and when the sun’s light did refract in the mist, we managed to see some faint rainbows off to the side. We were here at about 10:30am. Anyways, this was quite the popular spot, especially since we were here on a Sunday morning. So as more and more people were showing up as we had our fill of the falls, we returned to the suddenly busier car park. Overall, we wound up spending a little over an hour away from the car so the signs were pretty spot on in terms of the time commitment here.
The Kayoufeng Waterfall was between the town of Kenting (墾丁 [Kěndīng]; at the southern tip of Taiwan) and the city of Kaohsiung (高雄 [Gāoxióng]), which was like the capital of Southern Taiwan. The closest town was the Fangshan Township (枋山鄉 [Fāngshān Xiāng]) though the falls was technically in the Shizi Township (獅子鄉 [Shīzǐ Xiāng]). Since we made the drive up here from Kenting, I’ll describe that route first. Then, I’ll discuss how we would have driven south from Kaohsiung via Pingtung (屏東 [Píngdōng]).
So from Kenting, we drove north on the Tai-26 highway for about 34km, then we kept left to continue north on the Tai-1 highway. We continued driving for about the next 9km to the first turnoff (Guozhong Road or 國中路 [Guózhōng Lù]) on the north side of the Fangshan River (枋山溪 [Fāngshān Xī]). There was a traffic light here. I didn’t recall the signage for this turnoff was obvious (though we did notice a small sign for Kayoufeng Waterfall in Chinese when we were waiting at the stoplight on the way out) so just keep in mind these landmarks so as to not miss this turn.
Next, we followed the Guozhong Road for about 4km as it skirted the Fangshan River’s northern banks (which might be flood prone during a typhoon or heavy downpour as we saw evidence of water damage on parts of this road). That was when we noticed there was a signpost for the Kayoufeng Waterfall at a turnoff to the left, which then followed along a nearly narrower road (mostly single-lane) for nearly the remaining 4km to its end, where there was the car park for the Kayoufeng Waterfall.
Given how narrow and dicey this final stretch of road was, we had to be real cognizant of blind turns (definitely pay attention to those circular mirrors at these turns), especially given how much traffic in both directions was on this road. Speaking of the traffic, the single-lane road was narrow enough to create a lot of awkward passes as vehicles going in opposite directions had to really squeeze past each other with hardly any pullouts or shoulders to make this pass easier. Anyways, this drive took us a little over an hour to cover this 50km drive.
If we were coming from Kaohsiung, we would take the Tai-88 Expressway east to the Tai-3 Expressway in Pingtung County. Then, we’d drive south on the Tai-3 Expressway before getting off at the 187. Then shortly after driving east on the Route 187, we’d then turn right and drive south on the Tai-1 highway for the next 30km eventually reaching the town of Fangshan, where we’d then turn left onto the narrow Guozhong Road (before Tai-1 would cross the Fangshan River). Then, we’d follow the directions as above to reach the car park. This drive would take at least 90 minutes.
Finally, for some geographical context, the Fangshan Township was about 68km south of Kaohsiung or 56km south of Pingtung City (both about an hour’s drive), 45km north of Kenting (under an hour’s drive), and 103km southwest of Taitung (about 2 hours drive). Kaohsiung was 362km from Taipei (over 3.5 hours drive or over 2.5 hours by train) and 111km north of Kenting (under 2 hours drive).
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