Maolin National Scenic Area RSS >Copyright 2019 <![CDATA[ River Rafting Route ]]> Laonong River originates from the East Peak of Mt. Jade. It meanders along Central Ridge to the island’s Southwest, passing through Liouguei District of Kaohsiung. In Liouguei, it creates a valley and some alluvial fans, in addition to rushing currents, hot springs, waterfalls, and cliffs. As a result, rafting became popular here.

The history of rafting on Laonong River dates back to 1986. Before Typhoon Morakot hit Taiwan, Laonong was once acknowledged by the Tourism Bureau as the most exciting and fun river for rafting in Southeast Asia. Quite a few international rafting events have been held here.

Risky beaches, strange rocks and a height difference of 65 meters all make Laonong River unique, exciting and fun. Enjoy rafting with your friends, appreciate the beautiful scenery of mountains and waters along the way, and take pride in yourself for conquering nature!

Rafting route

Starting point

Tulong Bay Meadow

Ending point

18 Arhats Mountain

Route length

10-12 km, about 100 minutes for a single journey

Special features

You will pass by Liouguei Bridge which was rebuilt after Typhoon Morakot hit the island, cliffs and waterfalls. Lush green mountains and rapid water currents are everywhere. You will also pass by the 18 Arhats Mountain which is hailed as the Guilin of Taiwan. The magnificent scenery is breathtaking. The height difference between the upper and the lower streams is 65 meters. Laonong is truly the most beautiful and exciting river for rafting in East Asia.




Notice for Rafting

  • Remember to put on sun protection. Do not imbibe alcohol, and those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, pregnant women, and those below 12 years old or older than 65 should not participate.
  • Please wear ventilated, long sleeved pants and shirts. Do not wear jeans or other articles that easily absorb water.
  • It is advised that rafters wear river trekking footwear or old shoes that do not easily fall off and will assist in preventing bumps or scratches from stones. Do not wear sandals or slippers.
  • Please deposit important or valuable articles with the staff. Wear sturdy glasses. Do not carry towels or other items. Safety First.
  • Life vests and helmets should be worn tightly. It is forbidden to take them off during the experience because of heat. Listen closely to the coach at the beginning of the course.
  • Rafting is a mutual experience of cooperation ad taking care of each other. Sit balanced on both sides to keep the ship level. Legs should be straddled across the center of the boat, and hands should be kept in the center holding on tightly to the rope in the center. Avoid changing positions during the course.
  • When in rapids avoid turning the ship horizontal. Pull up the oars, hold tighly onto the rope, cling tightly to the boat with your legs, curl up your legs to avoid hitting them on rocks, and do not forget to open your eyes, even when screaming. Remember to use some strength when you can!
  • If you fall overboard without the ship flipping over, do not panic. The life vest will float. Do not attempt to stand up within the rapids. Keep your head backwards and your legs in the front. Maintain this position and float with the flow. Keep calm and soon a life guard will come to you help.
  • If the ship flips over do not panic, especially if you are covered by the boat. Grip your life vest tightly at the chest with both hands and raise your head up. This will let you float. Maintain normal breathing and soon a life guard will come to your rescue.
  • Every time you raft you should take notice of accompanying life rafts and coaches.

River Rafting Video

<![CDATA[ Butterfly Watching Route ]]> There are two species of winter migrating butterflies in the world, the Mexican Monarch Butterflies and the Taiwanese Purple Crow Butterflies (Euploea tulliolus). The Mexican Monarchs stay within temperate climate gorges, living in mountainous areas 3000 meters above sea level, unreachable even by cars. Because of the low temperature, they usually cluster in tight packs on trees and are rarely active. Most often it is a silent admiration of them.

In contrast, Taiwan’s Purple Crow Butterflies are subtropical butterflies, and live within gorges that are located less than 500 meters above sea level. As long as the weather is right, rainless and sunny, they are active from morning to night every day. They follow their “Three No’s Policy” strictly: No checking in, No being late, and no taking leave. Thus, in contrast, the viewing of Taiwan’s Purple Crow Butterflies is relatively easier, more rewarding and very interesting.

The Precious Purple Crow Butterflies of Maolin

  • Striped Blue Crows

    Striped Blue Crows

  • Double-Branded


  • Dwarf Crow Butterflies

    Dwarf Crow Butterflies

  • Chocolate Tigers

    Chocolate Tigers

Maolin's Purple Butterfly Valley is a very rare and special place in the natural world – a winter home for butterflies that migrate from colder areas every year. In Butterfly Valley, one might see hundreds of thousands of butterflies: Dwarf Crows, as well as Striped Blue Crows, double-branded Black Crows, Chocolate Tigers and six or more other species.

Visitors should arrange more time if they want to watch butterflies.

Scientists have found that at least nine species of Danaine Butterflies (also known as Milkweed Butterflies, because they lay their eggs on milkweed plants) regularly migrate in the fall from northern and central Taiwan, flying up to 300 km to warmer sheltered valleys near Maolin. Hundreds of thousands of butterflies may gather there over the winter, covering the trees and remaining fairly quiet during the cold weather. They become more active as it gets warmer, and in March the migrating butterflies begin courting and mating, and then individually fly north to the breeding areas. Only a few such places are known around the world. The most famous is in Mexico: the winter home for millions of Monarch Butterflies from the US and Canada.

The best season to watch butterflies

The best season to watch butterflies is between November and March.

The first flocks of butterflies arrive around November, and gradually increase in number. After February the numbers gradually dwindle as some will die from courtship and mating, or some others will migrate. Thus, the peak of the butterfly season is from December to February, which also corresponds to the local Chinese date harvest period. Visitors can arrange for a tour that includes both butterfly watching and experiencing the Chinese date harvest!

Eight-thirty a.m. to eleven a.m. is the best period of time to go butterfly watching.

The most ideal situation is the day after a rainfall, when the sun is shining brightly. If visitors are lucky, and the time and place are all perfect, masses of Purple Crow Butterflies can be seen gliding down through the gorge, preparing to feed, drink, and sunbathe. As visitors watch their elegant appearance as they search for flowers and drinking nectar, it becomes clear why people refer to these butterflies as the dancers of nature. Obviously, it will take some luck to be able to see all of this in one day!

What you should know about butterfly watching

Organisms choose where they dwell. They choose the climate, the temperature, the humidity, and indicators of forest health. Their choices change with the environment, and thus each and every forage or tree represents a butterfly; we cannot and should not disturb the environment.

The best place to admire Purple Crow Butterflies is the Butterfly Walkway and Ecological Park designed by the Maolin District Office. The Maolin Administration has also laid out a self-guided pathway, with narrative signboards to serve as guides.

Along the roads there are also road signs to remind drivers to “Slow Down. Butterflies Ahead.” Maolin National Scenic Area is the only place in the world where traffic signs have been set up for butterflies!

<![CDATA[ Indigenous Culture Route ]]> In Taiwan, one should recognize and learn about the earliest inhabitants of the island, the aborigines and their culture.

Indigenous traditions tell us that the earliest Indigenous tribes were equivalent in structure to countries in modern times. Each tribe had its own tribal territory, tribal council, rituals and ceremonies, festivals and even foreign diplomats for contacting other tribes. Within a tribe, the leader was the chief, or the elder in a family. Since everything was organized similarly to a country, they believed that their tribes were nations.

To really explore Taiwan’s Indigenous culture, tourists should choose Maolin National Scenic Area, where there are several Indigenous groups, including: the Siasanshe Rukai of Maolin Township; the West Rukai of Wutai Township and Sandimen Township; the Paiwan of Majia Township; and the Bunun and Tsou of Taoyuan Township. To get a better sense of the extent of Indigenous culture, one should plan a two-day trip. If a guide with in-depth knowledge of the aborigines is present, tourists will experience a meaningful and rewarding trip!

Manah tainga (Hunting festival)

Manah tainga (Hunting festival)


The In the past, the Bunun were the only tribe whose scouts dared to go alone to reconnoiter other tribes. They were ferocious warriors.
They worship their ancestral gods, believe in spirits (good and evil), and within their legends all animals and plants came from transformed humans. Every four years the Bunun hold a “manah tainga” festival, to train their men to hunt, inform them of various taboos and rules, and to show reverence for their hunting heroes. They also celebrate their harvest. Within the Bunun tribe culture serves an educational purpose.

Miyatjgu festival

Miyatjgu festival


The Tsou have a traditional festival, the “Miyatjgu”. It is said that the spirit of their ancestors attach themselves to the collected shell beads. During the ceremony the priest brings these beads out and hands them to every person in the tribe briefly, as a symbol that the spirits of the ancestors will protect them. Then the elders throw the precious shell beads into the sky, for warriors to pick up, symbolizing the courage and wisdom that will be brought to the tribe by them.

Pottery, bronze knives, glass beads

Pottery, bronze knives, glass beads


The Rukai and the Paiwan are two tribes that share similarities within their cultures. They both worship the sky and land, and respect nature. They don’t worship ancestors, and their societies are divided into four classes: chiefs, nobles, warriors, and civilians. The eldest son inherits the position of chief.
They also have three treasures in common: pottery, bronze knives and glass beads.


Traveling Arrangements

Day One:

Taoyuan Township (*the Mountain Jelly Fig is a must try!) → Jiasian Township → Liouguei Township → Meinong Town (*try out delightful classical Hakka dishes) → Home

Day Two:

Day One:

Orientation at the Maolin NSA Visitor Center→ Lovers’ Gorge → Duona Suspension Bridge → Eat an Indigenous lunch at Dragon Head Mountain → Explore the Duona Stone Slab Houses in the afternoon and learn about Indigenous stone slabculture → Duona Hot Springs → Stayovernight at Duona Village B&Bs and immerse yourself in the culture of Duona

Day Two:

Head towards Wutai from Maolin → Yila → Shenshan → Lunch at Wutai (reservation required) → Majia Culture Park → Sandimen → Home


Tour emphasis


Cottonmouth snake totems in front of a house means that it is the home of a chief or noble (*Attention: This is a reminder that without the consent of the owner, please do not explore the inside of the house, and avoid making comments such as: “There is a TV inside?!”

Headdresses and clothing of men and women:

The cottonmouth stands for nobles, butterflies for agility, and the lily is the tribal flower. When men carry the lily it is a sign of a warrior; when women carry it is stands for chastity.


It is the privilege of the Rukai women (men are prohibited). By displaying their beauty and talent through their skill on the swing, women can attract the attention of the men.

Glass beads:

In the past only nobles owned these. These beads represented identity and class. Every glass bead has its own name and myth associated with it.


It is also known as matriarchal culture. When members of the noble class marry they must prepare betrothal gifts such as Yang Jars and Yin Jars.

Knife carrying:

A knife is the second life to a man. Ceremonial knives, work knives, and hunting knives all have their meanings and cultural purposes.

Songs and dances are a combination of power and beauty:

Songs and dances represent the context of Indigenous life.


Most knowledge about Indigenous culture was orally passed on from generation to generation, so the myths are very unique.

Stone slab culture:

Tourists can learn about the reason for stone slab houses, methods of differentiating between first generation and second generation houses, and telling the difference between male and female slabs.


Indigenous Culture Route

Indigenous Culture Route

<![CDATA[ Biking Route ]]> The most exhilarating outdoor activity that also saves energy at the same time is a tour of biking with the winds.

While communicating with Mother Nature through sweat and energy,and experiencing the best of views on one’s bike,the companionship of the winds will allow you to enjoy the liberation of your soul even more.

Liangshan Waterfall

Pursuit of Winds Route 1:Maolin District to Majia Township

About 37 km

Maolin → Dajin Falls → Saijia Recreation Park → Majia Culture Park → Liangshan Waterfall

(Overnight Boarding: Majia)

Eagle Valley (Dragon Head Mountain)

Pursuit of Winds Route 2:Maolin Village to Duona Village

About 15 km

Maolin NSA Visitor Center → Lovers’ Gorge → Purple Butterfly Valley → Maolin Valley → Eagle Valley (Dragon Head Mountain) → Duona Suspension Bridge → Shetou Mountain → Hongchen Valley Springs → Duona Stone Slab Houses

(Overnight Boarding: Duona Village B&B )

Wutai Rock Slab Art Pathway

Pursuit of Winds Route 3:Sandimen Township to Wutai Township

About 20 km

Sandimen → Jhongshan Park (visit the Culture Exhibition Hall) → Dimo-er (Life Park) → Yila (Rainbow Bridge)Shenshan → Wutai (Rock Slab Art Pathway)

(Overnight Boarding: Wutai B&B)

* Routes 1 through 3 are challenging routes for experienced, independent bikers in excellent condition. We recommend that novices choose Pursuit of Winds Route 4.

Saijia Recreation Area 5-star Camping Area

Pursuit of Winds Route 4:Saijia Recreation Area to Cingshan Village

About 13 km

Saijia Recreation Area in Sandimen Township → Koushe → Ma-er → Anpo → Cingshan (Here, bikers will be able to view the undisturbed natural scenery of the Haishen Palace area.) (Those planning on staying overnight can camp within the Saijia Recreation Area 5-star Camping Area, divided into the Formosan Ash Camping Zone, Green Maple Camping Zone, and the Camphor Tree Camping Zone. All showering facilities use the energy conserving Heatpump method to provide hot water.)

The distance between Saijia and Cingshan is approximately 13 kilometers, and thus this is a very challenging route to take. It was laid down by the Maolin National Scenic Area Administration and the Pingtung County Government. This route is a favorite among young bikers, going uphill and downhill at varying slopes, and with many rest stops that exhibit Indigenous totems along the way.

Distinguishing Features of the Pursuit of Winds Journey

On this independent biking tour in pursuit Plantof the winds, you will be surrounded by luscious green mountains and vivid trees that will help refresh you during the exhaustion of the ride. If this is your first time, the suggested route begins from Ma-er, passes through Anpo, and ends at Cingshan. This route will pass through maple tree forests and a tunnel of natural green. The forests are beautiful, and with statues of Indigenous warriors standing along the way, you’ll definitely discover that your first independent bike ride ended just too quickly.

The Saijia Recreation Area offers bikes for rent- contact 886-8-7992221.

<![CDATA[ Hot Spring Route ]]> Besides the numerous commercially operated springs, the Maolin National Scenic Area also boasts the most extensive distribution of natural stream springs in Taiwan. Within the region there are Lakusih Stream (Gold Stream) and Fusing Hot Springs of Taoyuan District, Laolao Hot Springs of Gaojhong, Baolai Hot Springs, Bulao Hot Springs, Shihdong Hot Springs and Cikeng Hot Springs of Liouguei District, and finally, Hongchen Gorge Hot Springs of Maolin District.

The minerals of Taiwan’s springs can be divided into three types: volcanic rock, sedimentary rock, and metamorphic rock. The water is also said to promote general blood circulation, improve circulation in the extremities and help conditions such as joint pain or neuropathy. Many tourists consider Hongchen Gorge Hot Springs, where the water is a sodium bicarbonate solution, the best springs they’ve ever been to. Sodium bicarbonate helps to moisturize and whiten the skin, softens cuticles and treats inflammation. It’s also great for conditioning the hair.

Baolai Hot Springs

Baolai Hot Springs

There are many hot spring villas within the Baolai Hot Springs area. In the morning, head towards Shenwei Tiantai Mountain, Shihba Luohanshan, Liouguei Tunnel and the Liouguei Visitor Center. In the afternoon, head over towards Pulai Sitoushe Walkway to catch a panoramic view of Baolai Village and Laonong Stream. At night, enjoy dishes such as “golden chicken” and “plum sauce bean curd” on the streets of Baolai. Additionally, enjoy different flavors of “wild jelly fig” (coffee, millet and red beans). After dinner, stay at one of the hot spring villas, each with their distinctive features and enjoy a bath or spa.
不老溫泉 + 藤枝森林遊樂區

Bulao Hot Springs and Tengjhih National Forest Recreational Area

The Bulao Hot Springs are named for the Chinese meaning of its name, which is ‘hot springs that grant you immortality’. Tengjhih is the area around a small riverhead in the south, which begins at 1850 meters above sea level and ends at 1550 meters above sea level. It used to be divided into two hiking routes, A and B, going upstream on A and downstream on B in a test of endurance. They are now known as the Wax Begonia Path (formerly A) and the Dragon Spruce Path (formerly B).
The local culinary specialties include monkey head mushrooms, bamboo shoots, peanuts, oyster mushrooms, pumpkin cookies, mountain tea, peaches, and a bounty of other treats. These all serve as delicious snacks or gifts for friends at home to let them know you were thinking of them.

Baolai Hot Springs and Shanping Forest Ecological Science Park

Shanping is the best ecologically preserved place in southern Taiwan. Great forest showers can be enjoyed in both Shanping and Tengjhih. Besides a tour of the hot springs, why not consider arranging a tour of its natural beauty?
Local specialty products include Black Diamond wax apples, golden mangoes, and Sweet Silk Chinese dates.

Notice for bathing within stream springs in the wild

  1. Persons with infectious diseases should not enter the bath(s).
  2. Persons suffering from chronic diseases such as heart disease, lung disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other obstructions of the circulatory system should only enter the baths after consulting a doctor.
  3. Women who are menstruating should not enter the bath(s).
  4. Do not bath too long within hot springs or cold springs. There is no fixed time for bathing; rather, bathers should decide according to the temperature of the spring that day. Before entering a hot pool please enter slowly and allow time for the skin to adapt.
  5. While bathing drink more water to prevent dehydration. Remember: Safety First.