The Qingshui Cliffs
Awe Inspiring Wonder of Eastern Taiwan
Where the Mountains Meet the Sea
Along the Eastern seashore of Taiwan lies an awe inspiring testament to the sheer power of Earth plate tectonics. Massive cliffs of stone seem to defy reason in their precipitous plummet from Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range into the azure turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean far below.
If you’re looking for something literally awesome to do in Taiwan, put a visit to the Qingshui Cliffs near the top of your list. Come take a look with us as we explore Taroko Gorge National Park’s very own, Qingshui Cliffs.
Where are the Qingshui Cliffs?
The road leading to (and through) the cliffs is a bit heart-stopping, with hairpin curves and steep drops throughout. Yet, the views of the cliffs and the ocean beyond are more than worth the trip.
Their are several well maintained viewpoints located on the Hualien side of the cliffs, near the small village of Chongde. Each offer stunning views of the massive cliffs and the sprawling Pacific Ocean far below.
You’ll find your breath taken away by the sheer wall of green and grey rising from the brilliant blue ocean. At the bottom lies a gray rock and sand beach, which is nice to look at, but unfortunately is currently inaccessible.
You can snap Instagrammable photos here, or just enjoy the tranquility of the scenery.
History of the Qingshui Cliffs
Not long ago, people who encountered Qingshui Cliffs found themselves faced with a formidable obstacle. Until relatively recently, there was no road to cross from one side of the cliffs to the other, and only those traveling by water could see the stunning cliffs rising from the sea. Perhaps it was the unconquerable aspect of this edifice that intoxicated so many people with the magic of the region, drawing them to the rugged cliffs.
From the mid 1600’s to the late 1800’s, numerous foreign visitors arrived at the cliffs.
British and Dutch traders, Spanish explorers seeking gold and North American missionaries all tackled the area, generally with minimal success. Largely due to the impenetrable landscape, and largely due to conflict with the Truku indigenous tribe that inhabited the region. It was not until the 19th Century that a massive migration of Han Chinese immigrants finally created a viable community in nearby Hualien.
Established as one of the “Eight Wonders of Taiwan” in 1953, the Qinqshui Cliffs are a mesmerizing marvel, and truly something to behold.
Today, visiting Taroko Gorge National Park and the Qingshui Cliffs is widely considered one of the best things to do in Taiwan.
Geology of the Cliffs
Millions of years ago, the rock and land that now form Taiwan resided at the bottom of the ocean.
Then, around 6 million years ago, the Philippine Sea plate slowly began to slide under the Eurasian Continental plate, causing Taiwan to gradually emerge from the ocean into the island we see today. Taiwan continues to rise from the sea to this day!
Composed primarily of marble and schist walls, the rock in Qingshui Cliffs is thought to be the oldest rock in Taiwan. On average, the cliffs tower an incredible 800 meters above sea level, but reach almost a kilometer up in some places! The tallest of the attached mountain peaks is Qingshui Mountain, a 2408- meter vegetated behemoth rising from the Pacific Ocean.
Visiting the Cliffs
With stunning views and fantastic photo ops galore, this famous Taiwan locale offers a spectacular destination when visiting the area. The Qingshui Cliffs are also one of the most popular stops of both a Taroko Gorge tour and a Hualien tour. Either way, this unforgettable adventure will surely be a memorable part of your trip to Taiwan!
For further reading on Taroko Gorge National Park, check out: Taroko Gorge National Park: The Jewel of Taiwan