The best way to get to Shanlinxi is by bus from Taichung. The 6883 bus from Taichung takes you directly to Xitou where you can mingle with the throngs of tourists there to visit the Monster Village. From there it’s another bus and a 45-minute ride to Shanlinxi. Interestingly on the road between the two forest areas, there are twelve switchbacks each named for one of the animals of the Chinese zodiac.If you’re traveling by car, it’s an hour and forty-five minutes from Taichung City. Take Highway 3 to Chelungpu Fault Preservation Park (worth a quick visit) then follow the signs for Shanlinxi.
Surrounded by mountain tea farms and at an altitude of around 1600 meters, temperatures here are certainly on the cooler side than you’ll be used to in the city. So it is best to dress for Autumn/Spring weather. If you’re planning to hike (or even just walk the paths) then, of course, you should bring the right shoes or boots. A trip to Shanlinxi, even if just for the day, is not one for flip flops.
As soon as you arrive, you’ll see that there’s pretty much only one reason that people visit the area; the waterfalls. There are five major falls in total Qinglong, Songlong, Shyi-jing-ji, Yenyen, and Tian-Ti-Yen all of which are an easy walk from the main recreation area.The paths are easily navigated with clear signage for each of the falls, and there’s not much climbing involved at all so it should pose no problems even for those a little less light on their feet.Within the recreation area, there’s a shop and a few places to eat so you don’t need to worry about forgetting your water. There’s also a pagoda with a bell that visitors are encouraged to ring when they pass which is fun for the first time, but as the sound carries throughout the forest, it can get a little tedious hearing it.Perhaps the most interesting place to visit here is Shuiyang Forest although it’s not an option for day trippers. It’s a four-hour hike, but the scenery and the opportunity to camp by the lakeside are well worth the effort.
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