Fun hiking at Pelepah Waterfalls Gunung Pelepah

Some call it Pelepah Waterfalls. Some call it Gunung Pelepah or even 水晶山瀑布. It is different from Kota Tinggi Waterfalls which is more for tourists 🙂

Pelepah Waterfalls was my first waterfall hiking too.  Unlike normal hiking, 30% to 40% of our journey is on water!

Best thing about Pelepah Waterfalls is there are so many ponds and waterfalls for you to jump into! Imagine trekking through the forest and seeing a waterfall in front of you!

 

As an estimate, it is about 2 hours up, and 2 hours down.

Me acting cool at the last Waterfall

I kept imaging how my kids would have enjoyed themselves at Pelepah Waterfalls, a pity they “were underage” (Hello organisers :p )

Checkout out our Waterfalls adventures at Chiang Mai (sticky waterfall) and Kota Tinggi (too touristy). I thought Pelepah Waterfalls was easier than Gunung Panti.

This trip was organised by Anchorvale Youth Club (Yes, I am not that old yet), and SGTrek (guides  Vijay and James). There were about 40 of us, including four local guides from Malaysia.

Pelepah Waterfalls trailhead (GPS 1.826111, 103.835556) is near the entrance of Kota Tinggi Waterfall entrance.

(Photo below) Gate is locked, hikers had to go under the bridge and wade one min behind the gate. This would be called trespassing in Singapore hee hee, but online references indicated this is ok 🙂

From the first min, our shoes and socks were never dry. Yeah!

Do wear socks, to minimise sand and pebbles bruising your toes. Seasoned hikers swear by Kampong Adidas.

 

Palm oil seed, shoes soaked

For first time hikers, permit and guides are strongly recommended. The tracks are well marked but you can still get lost or injured. I would recommend going with someone experienced.

Fyi, follow the red/white tape and keep to the track.  I noticed these white patches on the palm oil estate ground. Follow them on the way back (like Hansel and Gretel) and you will find civilisation again.


We can actually wade in the stream to our destination, but the meanderings will take up precious time. That is why we trekked through the estate.

If one is lost, just follow the stream.

This image is taken on the “return” trip

15 to 20 min easy trek through estate.

After 20 to 25min, you will see this bridge. From here onwards, we will be trekking in the forest.

Checkpoint 1 at 30 minutes mark.

At around 40min point, you will see the first pond.

Our guides told me this is Japanese Garden or Rock Garden, I forgot the sequence, but both landscapes are enchanting.

If you are going to Pelepah, help me confirm with the local guides ok.

Climb over the small boulder and another landscape awaits 🙂

水晶山

Pardon me if there are too many selfies, I love Nature and Pelepah Waterfalls trekking had been amazing thus far!

Our guide told us nicer waterfalls is just ahead WOW!

This steep 80 degree wall is our first obstacle.

The view behind is worth the climb 🙂

Our FIRST WATERFALL, although a small one, is enough to keep us happy. Take note the water can be 2 to 3m deep at the other end.

We were more reserved and shy at the first pond, but everyone could not wait to jump into this pond! We spent almost 20 minutes here.

The cool water washed away our fatigue. Invigorating!!

Found another waterfall model :p

Everyone was soaked inside out, the next segment was the most beautiful along the entire trek.

We waded through a “narrow corridor”. Water is waist deep (90 to 100cm), and we were flanked by two walls.

The rocks can be uneven and slippery, be careful when you are taking photos. I saw many folks stopped for wefies 🙂

This path is dangerous during rainy days as flash flood can sweep us away. Look out for incremental weather.


Everywhere we hike, we heard the sound of water streaming, more water FUN beckons.

Around another corner (15 minutes from first waterfall), we spotted our SECOND WATERFALL!

If the water is emerald, you might believe I am in the Philippines :p

Personally, this is the best Waterfall for me. We spent another 20 minutes here, showering and taking more photos and jumping jacks too.

 

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Modeling at #PelepahWaterfalls 😆 Invigorating and refreshing trek 😍👍 #kotaTinggi #pelepah #gunungPelepah #sengkangbabies #skbHiking

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#PelepahWaterfalls I must bring the kids along next round, so much 🚿 FUN 😊 #kotaTinggi #pelepah #sengkangbabies

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Chilling and powerful cascades of water soothed our shoulder and joints. Shiok lah!

Pelepah Waterfalls
Pelepah Waterfalls

Be careful of the hidden logs and stones underwater, I can understand why many would like to dash under the cooling waterfall haha 🙂

This is the same reason why “cliff or log” jumping might not be recommended.

Google indicates some folks do abseiling here too 🙂

Our guides had a hard time peeling us away from FUN haha. The last waterfall is 10 mins away.

Video (YouTube link):  Water Fun, I would do Pelepah again 🙂

The THIRD WATERFALL looks majestic but less fun then the second one, and it is very slippery too.

Waterfalls are super cold but our adrenaline and body heat (from hiking) meant we got to enjoy the cool dips!

The waterfalls tiers might offer a good spot for group photo but keep body low and on all fours (if necessary) to navigate the rock face.

I slipped and fell on my bums at least twice. If someone at the top slips, Domino Effect!

We had our packed lunch here.

Do take note that return trek is along the forest path and minimum water crossings. We will not u-turn along the same path, so NO more ponds and waterfalls 🙁

We did spot a few campers at Checkpoint 1.

Hiking and Swimming at Pelepah Waterfalls was a good workout for my body, my muscle still felt a bit numb on the second day 🙂

If you love adventures, do checkout all our Gunong hikings in Malaysia (Belumut, Panti and Taman Nagara )

Our Waterfalls adventures are here (not all are hiking). Three images below credit YEC and SGTrek 🙂

More photos can be found on Facebook Anchorvale YEC and SGTrek .

Additional tips :

-REMEMBER to waterproof your belongings, especially passport

-Malaysia Waterfalls listing – http://waterfallsofmalaysia.com/24pelapah.php

-Waterfalls can be dangerous, slippery rocks and careless photographers. Be vigilant and exercise caution. SAFETY First.

-Do take note of these emergency contacts:
a) 999 or  112-This will activate Police or Ambulance

b)994-Bomba (Emergency Rescue)

-Try not to ingest too much waterfall waters, especially if water is static. This helps city folks avoid stomach upset or even rat urine poisoning

-We did not encounter any leeches but I suspect I got some minor sandfly bites. For leeches, just spray saltwater to detach

Taiwan day 7b – Shifen attractions

Continuing from our Jiufen exploration, we headed to Shifen attractions.

Referring to Google Map below (Link), Shifen Old Street is about 20km away from Jiufen Old Street. You may visit nearby 猴硐貓村 Houtong Cat village too.

*Our Taiwan Maps are all documented in this post (and Gdrive).

Instagram Sneakpeak of our Jiufen Shifen tour

We will share some of the 十分 Shifen attractions in this blog post.

If you are lucky, you might spot the train rumbling across the river.

 

十分瀑布 Waterfall

This is Taiwan’s mini Niagara Falls. Quite impressive, just listen to the endless storm of water pouring downwards.

The trail to the waterfall offers  good workout, with flights of steps, but visitors get to enjoy the greenery and fresh air. (GPS 25.049165, 121.787412 )

Shifen attractions
Shifen attractions

There are a few visitor’s points to admire the waterfall. It was too misty when we visited, due to the rain.

Shifen Waterfall
Shifen Waterfall on a clearer day

Photo below is taken during another trip, when the sky was much clearer.

From here, take a leisurely 15 min walk back to Shifen Old Street.

The second Shifen Attractions are the 天燈 Lantern

We pen our best wishes and auspicious couplets on our own lantern.
Not to worry if your Mandarin is weak, there is a sample template for you to copy and paste the idioms 🙂

You can choose to draw on only one side or all four side, let your cartoon creations dot the lantern.

Our 李家 lantern (and gif below)

Family Lantern Shifen

They were still releasing the lanterns in drizzle, a novelty for tourists.

The lanterns are cheap, and the helpers will help you take your family photos. 1, 2, 3 Let IT Go! Huat Ah!

There are actually two famous spots to release lanterns, 十分 Shifen and 平溪 Pingxi. Most tourists will be letting their lanterns soar in bustling Shifen, Pingxi is normally a quiet town

Train map below, Pingxi is 3 stops away from Shifen.
Can you spot Ruifang and Keelung station?

Ruifang Station is the interchange for the region.

Train map Shifen

The “1000” lanterns in Pingxi are only released during special occasions, like Chinese New Year or  Lantern Festival (Mar). What a sight!

Real trains cut through Shifen old street very hour.

Train rumbling across Shifen Old Street is the 3rd Shifen Attractions

Someone will whistle a warning before the train arrives. The crowd would instantly disperse to the sides. We would recommend waiting to pose with the trains (Please be safe!)

Bring out your cameras! Do take note this train is notoriously packed during holiday seasons, some tourists actually miss the last train due to overcrowding.

Shifen attractions
Shifen attractions

The 4th Shifen Attractions must be the festive atmosphere along the train track (十分老街)

 

Families would be jostling for family portraits, trying their best Instagram angle. When we are hungry, snacks line the street too.

Maybe this suspension bridge can be a mini attraction too?

靜安吊橋 (Jinggan) links you to the old town, and we can see the spans of the river on both side. You can see the lanterns floating away towards the forest fringe.

We pass by this mini cafe on our way back hop in for some hot chocolate.

Ok #TrueStory. The lanterns look good for photos, but they are not good for the environment. What happens if they caught fire or drop into the sea? The plastic components will contaminate the surroundings.

We are guilty.

After Jiufen and Shifen (both venues were raining), our driver from Round Taiwan Round brought us back to Taipei. I am going to miss the Great Outdoors 🙂

Photo albums :

Day 1 Aowanda, Cing Jing
Day 2 Cing Jing
Day 3 Xitou Nature Education Area, Monster Village, Sun Moon Lake
Day 4 Taichung (Zhongshe flower, ShengXin station, Cycling, Fengjia)
Day 5 Taichung (Animation Lane, Rainbow, Miyahara)
Day 6 Keelung 基隆
-Day 7 Ruifang, Jiufen and Shifen
-Day x Taipei HomeAway and Neighbourhood
Day 8 永康, XiMenDing, 象山, 饒河 Raohe
Day 9 and 10 北投 Beitou, Toyshop, 士林 Shilin

Blog posts :

** Taiwan Itinerary for families 
Day 1 Google Sheet, Aowanda, Cing Jing
Day 2 Cing Jing Farm
HomeAway Recommendations for Taiwan
Day 3a Xitou Nature Education area (溪頭)
Day 3b Monster village 妖怪村 and Sun Moon Lake
Day 4 Cycling Taichung 台中 
Day 4a 台中 Taichung  attractions
Day 5a 台中 Taichung food Ice cream and Bubble Tea
Day 5b 台中 Taichung Fengjia night market
-Day 6 基隆 Keelung
Day 7a Jiufen attractions
Day 7b Shifen attractions
Taipei Neighbourhood around our HomeAway Vacation Home

Instagram Hashtag #sengkangBabiesTaiwan
Instagram #sengkangBabiesTaiwan