About Shatundie Waterfall (沙屯叠瀑 [Shātúndié Pù])
The Shatundie Waterfall (沙屯叠瀑; I believe it’s pronounced [Shātúndié Pù] though I don’t know what it means) was the precursor to the famous Detian Waterfall. Since we were on a customized tour where we specifically asked to stop for this waterfall, we were able to spend some time here before continuing on to the larger transnational waterfall further up the river. Given the somewhat obscure nature of this waterfall, I’m sure it would depend on the tour you’re on (or if you’re braving it on a bus or taxi) whether or not you’ll be able to stop here for a visit before continuing on.
This was a short but wide waterfall, but it was in low flow as Julie and I were here in late April. I’m sure later in the Summer and early Autumn would be the ideal time to see this waterfall since most of China‘s precipitation comes in the Summer. Under such conditions, the many drops downstream of the main falls could have created a more stair-stepped appearance as the entire width of the river would be full instead of segmented like in our visit.
But in all honesty, I thought the karst scenery more than made up for our rather subdued waterfalling experience. That was because the mountains were majestically tall and shapely, and the calm pools nestled beneath them created some colors (when the sun finally came out and illuminated them) thereby complementing the landscape nicely.
After seeing the gorge and waterfall in the distance from the roadside viewpoint, we walked on a narrow but mostly paved walkway to get closer to the waterfall. Given the high humidity and the constant moisture in both the air and the surfaces, this trail was actually quite slippery as we found ourselves walking on smooth but wet rocks or concrete sections where we really had to be very cognizant of each step we took. We probably spent 30 to 45 minutes round trip sweating it out in the humidity to do this walk.
By the way, I’ve also seen the Romanized spelling of this waterfall as Shatundi Waterfall (though the pinyin pronounciations and the simplified Chinese characters didn’t seem to be consistent using this spelling). That said, some engravings of the name of the falls in simplified Chinese characters seemed to suggest that the Shatundie spelling was more consistent than this alternate spelling. In any case, this was one waterfall where I could use some help with its name and meaning. I welcome any feedback from someone willing to set me straight on my Chinese here.
Apparently, I’ve also seen in the literature that this waterfall might also be referred to as the Niandi Waterfall. Again, I’m not sure what the tones would be for this alternate name (thus I’m not certain of its pronunciation nor how it would be written out using Chinese characters) neither would I know what the meaning of the alternate spelling would be.
I didn’t recall if there were any legitimate pullouts or parking spaces near the overlook, and it seemed like it was real easy to just shoot right through the tunnel and miss the waterfall altogether.
In any case, our driver merely pulled over on a shoulder as best he could with emergency blinkers on, and essentially let the rest of the traffic somewhat go around him.
I believe this waterfall was another 30- to 45 minutes drive to the Detian Waterfall itself.
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