About Yinhe Cave Waterfall (銀河洞瀑布 [Yínhé Dòng Pùbù])
The Yinhe Cave Waterfall (银河洞瀑布 [Yinhedong Pùbù]) was one of the more unusual waterfalls that we’ve visited in Taiwan because it’s situated next to a temple that was built into a cave.
I didn’t realize how popular this place was because it’s not exactly well-signed nor on a route that I would expect tourists to go.
Nevertheless, it’s not often that we see a temple built into a cave or alcove, and it’s also amazing that such a sight is not far from the suburb of Xindian near Bitan (where my grandpa on my Dad’s side rests) in New Taipei City District.
In fact, I understand that it’s possible to reach this place by public transportation even though we self-drove to this spot (see directions below).
So given all that, I believe this place became famous mostly because this unusual combination of a cave temple with a waterfall seemed to have gained traction on Instagram.
As a result, we wound up sharing this place with a few dozen people (though it was still a far cry from the tourist crush you see at more famous and touristy spots like the Jiufen Old Street [九份老街]).
Apparently, this temple (formally called the Lu Dongbin Temple) is said to be built due to Lu Dongbin’s footprint on a rock somewhere above the Yinhe Cave Falls.
Lu Dongbin is a Chinese scholar and poet during the Tang Dynasty who allegedly lived 220 years and was considered to be one of the Eight Immortals in Chinese mythology.
As a result, there’s quite a bit of a religious holy feeling (the temple’s busy decorations coupled with the burning incense certainly added to this atmosphere) during our visit.
As for the waterfall itself, it had a light flow when we saw it, and it’s unclear to me if it’s fed by a spring or if it has temporary flow that’s only replenished by the frequency of rains (especially monsoonal rains in the Summer).
It was also pretty tall as it was possible to go up through the temple and get behind the waterfall’s upper reaches while also checking out the falls from the front of its base.
If I had to harbor a guess, I’d say the visible parts of the waterfall may be around 25-30m tall, but who knows if there are unseen tiers further above that I missed?
Experiencing the Yinhe Cave Waterfall
From the parallel parking spots near the Xindian Yinhe Fu Temple (新店銀河福德祠), we walked up the road about 100m towards a switchback where the Yinhe Cave Falls Trail began.
Note that the road continued to ascend steeply beyond this point up to an impressive red building that looked like a temple, but it might be a restaurant (though we didn’t go up there to explore during our visit).
From there, we then followed a trail that hugged the stream responsible for the Yinhe Cave Waterfall as the path ascended numerous steps.
Given the heat and humidity of Taiwan (especially in the Summer when we made our visit in early July 2023), this climb was quite the sweat-drenching stairmaster.
After roughly 300m of this trail (though my GPS logs suggested it was more like 500m), we ultimately reached the Yinhe Cave Waterfall and its neighboring temple.
Most of the family that was with me during our visit opted to stay at a viewing area with benches to sit on right at the bottom of the falls.
They were content to feel the cooling mist from the waterfall as well as witnessing the facades of the Lu Dongbin Temple beside it to the right.
However, I continued to go up the steps directly into the entrance of the temple, where once inside, there was definitely a thick smell of incense smoke as well as numerous inscriptions, decorations, and statues.
Continuing beyond the main worshipping room, the walkway then emerged within the overhanging “cave” or alcove between the temple and the backside of the Yinhe Cave Falls itself.
Going up the steps past a fountain and going up behind the falls, the trail eventually terminated at a yellow statue, which I believe is a representation of Lu Dongbin himself.
After having my fill of this waterfall, I then returned back the way I came on pretty much an all-downhill trail.
That said, I had to do this trail very carefully since the concrete steps can be slippery when wet, especially given a combination of frequent thunderstorm rains as well as humidity preventing things from drying out.
Overall, we spent about 75 minutes away from the car here, but a solid 15-30 minutes were spent taking pictures and using the facilities so I can envision about an hour seems to be the average duration of most visitors.
The Yinhe Cave Waterfall resides in the Xindian District of Taipei in Xinbei (New Taipei City), Taiwan. It may be administered by the Xindian District Government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting this website.
The Yinhe Cave Waterfall is situated in the mountains to the south of Taipei City just to the east of the Bitan Scenic Area.
Although it’s possible to take public transportation to the Yinhe Cave Station by bus, we did it by self-driving from the Shifen Waterfall.
That said, there are many ways to get to the Bitan Scenic Area, which is what I’ll use as the anchor point before getting specific with the specific driving route on the smaller roads.
Coming from the Shifen Waterfall, we took local roads to regain the 62 Expressway taking it west towards its joining with the Expressway 1.
We then followed the 1 for a bit before continuing along the 3 Expressway and taking it for about 16km to the Xindian exit on the right.
The offramp eventually deposits us on the Section 1 Zhongxing Road (labeled 北103 on Gaia’s map), where we then turned right onto it and followed it for 1.8 km to the Route 9 (towards Bei-yi Rd Section 1).
Note that this intersection with the Route 9 is very close to the Xindian Old Street as well as the Bitan Scenic Area by the Xindian River.
If you’re coming from elsewhere in Taipei, then you’ll want to route to the Xindian Old Street or Bitan Tourist Attraction, which will take you to this part of the Route 9.
Anyways, turning left onto the Route 9 from the Bei-yi Rd Section 1, we then followed this route east for 4km to the Yinhe Road on the left side at a tight turn.
From there, we turned left onto Yinhe Road and took this mostly single-lane road for a little over 1km before the street widened and there were unsigned parallel parking spots on either side of the street.
These parking spaces were right next to the Xindian Yinhe Fu Temple as well as a restroom facility.
Overall, it took us about an hour to drive from Shifen Waterfall to the Xindian Yinhe Fu Temple (though GoogleMaps did take us on a bit of an unnecessary joyride on Binlang Road to rejoin the Route 9).
For geographical context, Xindian Old Street was about 12km (under 30 minutes drive depending on traffic) southwest of Taipei 101, 32km (about 30 minutes drive) southwest of Keelung, 52km (over 30 minutes drive) southeast of Taoyuan Airport, and 48km (over 30 minutes drive) northwest of Jiaoxi.
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