Maolin, Taiwan

Maolin has quickly become one of my favorite weekend getaways, as its convenient location close to Kaohsiung makes a weekend trip effortless. The fresh air and variety of hiking trails keeps the destination exciting and new, and the cozy De En Gorge offers a great place to get a good night’s rest. Also, seeing as there is so much to see in the region, it makes an excellent weekend trip for any visiting family or friends.

I’ve been to Maolin twice in the past 2 months, and during both visits I have stayed at the De En Gorge. At the De En Gorge, one has the option to stay in a dorm, private cabin, or pitch a tent. The price for a shared dorm and breakfast is $660NT on the weekends, and dinner costs an extra $250NT. I recommend opting for dinner as the owner’s mother cooks a delicious Rukai (native Taiwanese tribe) meal made from fresh vegetables, herbs, and a local meat (or tofu for my fellow vegetarians out there).

De En Gorge

Restaurant and common area at DeenGorge

Restaurant and common area at De En Gorge

Sculpture made by the owner of DeenGorge.

Sculpture made by the owner of De En Gorge.

There are a couple of short and sweet hikes within walking distance of the hotel, where one can spot many birds, and of course, the sought after Taiwanese Purple Crow Butterfly.  The best time to see the butterflies is from November to March.


In the winter, the temperature is pretty cold in Maolin, so remember to bring warm clothes. I was pleasantly surprised last weekend to be freezing cold despite being bundled up in my puff jacket, thermal, and two pairs of socks. The temperature dropped to 50 F, and although cold, it was a welcome change from the blistering hot summer we had in Kaohsiung.

Maolin is also surrounded by many colorful villages, which opens up the options for village hopping (my days of bar hopping are over) . A day trip to Meinong can easily be made in the same weekend, or a stop at Fo Guang Shan Monastery fits in on either the outward or return journey. Another great spot for hikes is the Tengjhih National Forest, which is only about 30 minutes from Maolin.

Directions from Kaohsiung:

From Kaohsiung, follow Highway 1 (Gaonan Highway) north towards Tainan. At the big spaghetti junction, enter the scooter lane under the height restriction, signposted Highway 1 and 22. The scooter road bends left, then there is a fork. Keep left here (the sign is in Chinese only); do not enter the tunnel on the right. Around a right hand curve, merge with the 22 heading east.

Follow Highway 22, crossing the big river after 16km. In the town of Ligang, keep your eyes peeled for the blue Highway 22 signs; it is easy to miss a right hand turn next to a 7-11. Follow the 22 until it ends in central Gaoshu, then take the 27 northbound for roughly 7km. Just after the village of Dajin, cross the bridge and continue straight ahead; this is the Maolin valley road, marked by an entrance arch over the road followed by an impressive new bridge. After 3.5km, opposite the fire station, is a right hand turn which takes you to the DeenGorge.


  1. LOoove those dresses. That print!

  2. Christine says:

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures – now you make me really want to visit Maolin. Question – I live in Kaohsiung – are your directions 125cc scooter friendly? Or are those only for motorbikes?


  1. […] best-ever birding trip to Maolin showed how incredibly rich in birds the 4km-long trail behind the De-En Gorge guesthouse can be. A […]

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