Great food and beautiful scenery above a historic town

UPDATE (November 2011)  

Yongan House is now open on Sundays only (thanks to Sara for pointing this out!)

TRANSPORT:  See link no 3 in the Website Links section

Four Dragons Waterfall


4 Responses to “Walk 16. SHENKENG”

  1. 1 Sara K. November 5, 2011 at 10:27 am

    I’ve actually gone on quite a few of these trips by now, and haven’t always been commenting. This one requires commentary, though.

    First, the Disappointing.

    Yongan house is now only open on Sundays. This is disappointing, as I came on Saturday. It must have been a new change, as some of the signs still said it was open on Saturday – only the signs next to Yongan house itself were updated. I saw quite a few other sightseers who were disappointed by this, so word clearly has not gotten around yet.

    I tried the long route for the Four Dragon Falls. So far so good until past the tomb on the left (aside from the gazillion mosquitos) but I was not exactly certain when the “narrow but clear dirt path” on the right would come up. The book says it would be marked by ribbons … and I did eventually see such a path appear on the right, but I could not see any ribbons. I had assumed the ribbons would be visible from the main path, but now it occurs to me that you meant that the ribbons would be along the path itself, but not at the entrance to the path … but at the time I was looking for ribbons, and did not find them. So I kept on up ahead, up the heavily weathered steps, and while I would occasionally see ribbons on that path, eventually it felt like something was wrong (it was a long staircase, and nothing in the description indicated anything like it), so I backtracked, and checked again the path which had been a candidate for “narrow but clear dirt path” on the right … and again, I saw no ribbons, so I didn’t want to venture further. At that point I was so confused that I decided to backtrack to Shenkeng rather than try to continue all the way to the falls. It was also hotter than I expected, and I was low enough on water that I decided to head back to Shenkeng Old Street rather than try to do any more hiking, which segways into …

    The Good.

    I’ve seen enough “old” streets in Taiwan that I generally only consider them mildly interesting … but Shenkeng Old Street is different. First of all, some of the buildings are actually old. Also, the food was much more interesting and delicious than usual (at least to me). Best stinky tofu I’ve had in Taiwan, and I really liked all three varieties of tofu ice cream that I had too (I could live without the tzao ah-guei though). The old street alone is reason enough for me to come back here at some time, and more than made up for the disappointments.

  2. 2 Richard November 5, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Thanks for the info Sara!
    Unfortunately that trail is less walked than many in the area, and there aren’t always ribbons to mark it (some people regard them as litter and remove them!). I think it would have been clearer if I’d written ‘turn right BEFORE the path starts climbing quite steeply again (on weathered steps) at that point in the route description (page 196, line 20). Once on that trail, the way is usually relatively easy to follow, but as I say in the intro to the walk, it is overgrown sometimes, and can be tricky to follow if no one has been through for a while. My original intention was to take it out of the book, but it’s a great short hike, and it’s been followable each time I’ve taken it.
    Thanks though for pointing out how tricky it can be to find it; hope the extra info is a help for any one else that wants to follow the route.

  3. 3 Oh, Just Some Guy February 8, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    I did all parts of this walk recently; some last week and some yesterday. Here are some possible corrections that I noticed might be needed.

    1) For the long route to Four Dragons Waterfall, you say to cross Shenkeng Bridge. I had a feeling that it was that first bridge at the beginning (west end) of Shenkeng Old Street, but there are many other bridges in the area, so I wasn’t sure. I asked a local, and sure enough, that first bridge used to be called Shenkeng Bridge, but its name is now Zhongzheng Bridge.

    2) On the Ah Rou Stream Valley part, you mention a nice little detour that you can take to see a little shrine in the woods. In your book, you hint that the reader should be careful crossing the stream, especially the banks, and that there are stepping stones. Now, there are semi-sturdy orange ladders on each side of the bank, making it completely safe. And although it had rained the previous day, there was no water on the stone at the actual crossing. I understand that you wrote that part of the book shortly after a typhoon, so it is understandable that it could be significantly different by now.

    3) I also followed the instructions to the Wangjunliao Falls. I really enjoyed the dense jungle, but there is one very significant suggestion that I have. Right after entering the the actual jungle trail part (after walking through the “allotments”), there is a hard-to-notice trail that shoots off to the right from the “main” trail ahead. That right turn is a much more direct route to the falls. I didn’t see it on my way in, and I eventually got to a point where I didn’t think I could go any further, and I was disappointed because I wasn’t actually at the foot of the falls. Eventually, I climbed around and found my way there, but then on my way out, I followed the “trail” (it’s so obscure that it’s really hard to see at times) that I should have taken originally and found my way out much quicker than I would have if I had gone out the same way that I went in.

    4) On the way to the General White Horse Caves (Baima Jiangjun Dong), you need to turn right off the main road to go through the village of Wuyue. You wrote that there is a 3.5km marker there, but I did not see one. However, the name of the road that you turn right onto is Wuyue Rd, which is not mentioned in the book.

    I hope you don’t think I’m nitpicking. I’ve already done almost all of the walks from Taipei Escapes 2 and I am just beginning Taipei Escapes 1. I have really enjoyed all of them. Thanks for making these books.

    • 4 Richard February 9, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      Hey, thanks so much for these updates! Things do change very quickly in Taipei, and it’s good to know from people who walk the trails what’s different/what’s not clear enough etc! Impressed you found the trail to Four Dragon’s Waterfall, by the way – there seem to be more trails branching off the first path up the hillside at the beginning of the long hike now, and it’s not too clear at first which is the correct one. Anyway, great to hear you seem to be enjoying the hikes, and thanks a million for taking the time to put down your notes – I’m sure they’ll be be of great help to others! Richard

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