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Purple Butterfly Valley – Maolin, Taiwan


    Located in Kaohsiung district, Mt. Maolin is home to Rukai indigenous tribe, with roughly an estimated 2,000 population in the area. The neighboring tribes in the area are Siasanshe Rukai, West Rukai, Sandimen, Paiwan, and the Bunun and Tsou. If you are lucky, you can witness a tribal wedding and celebrations in Maolin town.

    In the Purple Butterfly Valley, swarms of butterflies flutter wings, envelope you, as taking you into a fairy world. There are just too many butterflies that if you open you mouth they could fly into it or worse, you might stamp on it just by walking carelessly.

    The relentless conservation effort from the Butterfly Conservation Society of Taiwan to revive the nickname “the Kingdom of Butterflies”, what was once a nickname for Taiwan. The Purple Butterfly Valley was first visited by conservationist, Chan Chia-Lung in the 1990s. He observed the declination in the butterfly population who overwintering in Maolin. This is a result of changing habitats. The recreation of Maolin tourism has also contributed to the cause.


    The Purple Butterfly Valley

    Migration Butterfly

    The purple crow butterfly is also called the milkweed butterfly. This is one of the two groups of butterflies in the world migrate for overwintering, the other is in the monarch valleys, Mexico. Milkweed butterfly is commonly found around the world. Out of 13 species in Taiwan, only 4 species in Genus Euploea migrate from South to North. The other species are in the other path crossing the islands between Japan and Taiwan.

    A few Millions of purple crow butterflies leave the highlands in northern and central Taiwan in November to overwintering in Maolin’s valleys, others take different paths to the southern Taiwan cities. Maolin’s valleys are strategically protected by gorges that create a perfect environment for the butterflies. The lifespan of the butterflies is between 6 to 8 months and generally breed 3 – 4 times a year.


    320 Kilometers Journey

    From March to mid-April, the new generation of butterfly flocks embarks on their first journey to the north. Yunlin County of Taichung’s Metropolitan Park is the mid-stop for the butterflies. Milkweed plants are the main food source. The first wave of migration can seem in Linnei, Dawu in Taitung county.

    They finally reach their destination Jhunan, Miaoli. From October to Mid-November, the newborn and parents begin their overwintering journey to Maolin. The purple crow butterfly formed a concentrated migration trail that researchers were able to track. The total distance of the migration trail is 320 kilometers, about 4 hours drive.

    The trail cut across a highly busy number 3 highway in southern Taiwan. Researchers found in a peak an average of 300 butterflies cross the highway every minute. 1080 meters of “Butterfly Corridors” installed to create a safe passage and the trail is not disturbed by the butterflies.

    8 – 11:30 AM is the best time to visit the Butterfly Valley

    Morning is the best time to visit the Butterfly Valley between 8:30 to 11:30. As sunlight slowly moves into the corner, you will see the Double-branded Black Crow, Dwarf Crow, Euploea Eunice, and Striped Blue Crow fluttering wings. The dots on the wings turn into sky-blue.


    The Maolin National Scenic Area Tours

    Option 1: Tours by the entrance of Butterfly Valley

    Without individual transportation, Maolin is difficult to get around. Between November to February, free tours and guides are available at the entrance to Purple Butterfly Valley. The free tour includes tour buses to and from other sightseeing places, like Duonagao Suspension Bridge.

    Tour Routes: Butterfly Valley -> Lunch at Duona Village (your own expense) -> Duonagao Suspension Bridge. -> Butterfly Valley

    Option 2: Fun to TW Tours 499 NTD

    Fun to TW organized daily tours to the Maolin National Park from December to January, every Saturday and Sunday. When tours become popular, organizers will have more buses every Monday and Tuesday.

    Meeting point: The tour meets at 8:50 AM at Zuoying HSR Station. It brings you back to the station at 17:30.

    Tour Routes: Zuoying HSR Station -> Butterfly Valley -> Lunch at Duona Village (your own expense) -> Duonagao Suspension Bridge. -> Xinwei lin Forest Park -> MeiNong Village -> Zuoying HSR Station

    More Information / Registration Link

    Contact Info: LINE ID:@qez4108z ;  08-7221292  ;

    email: fun2taiwan@gmail.com  


    Duration

    2 to 4 Days

    Where to Stay?

    得恩谷生態民宿 (Deengorge Guesthouse) NT$ 2500 Double Room +886-989579751
    Owned and managed by a local family. The coffee shop and dining hall are in the public area and there’s a camping ground. The night tour is free for all visitors and is worth looking forward to. No shops or restaurants around this guesthouse. The nearest town is 4 km. The dinner buffet cost NT$ 400 pp. For budget travelers, buy noodles and meals from Maolin Town.

    阿拉斯民宿 is in Douna village, located at the end of Maolin Road. It’s enclaved in Maolin gorges. Few restaurants and coffee shops are around here.

    How to Get to The Maolin National Scenic Area?

    Take a bus from Pingtung. Locals usually visit by car. If you have an international driver’s license, scooter rental in Pingtung is the best option and is viable. Scooter rentals in Pingtung did not accept my non-Taiwan driver’s license.

    Option 1 Kaohsiung to Duona Village, Maolin (Medical Care Bus H31 )

    Qishan Bus Terminal (旗山轉運站), Kaohsiung City to Maolin District Office nearest place to Purple Butterfly Valley. 1 hour.
    On normal days only three buses operate at 8:50; 13:45; and 17:20.
    *No bus on holidays except Butterfly festival – 6 bus operates to Maolin.) schedule

    Option 2: Pingtung to Maolin

    Kaohsiung to Pingtung
    There are frequent trains and buses between these two cities all day long. 20 minutes.

    Pingtung to Maolin (Dajin Town, bus #8216)
    Outside of Pingtung Bus Station, take bus 8216 to Dajin township (大津). Dajin township is the nearest town to the Maolin Scenic park entrance.
    You can book a taxi through the guesthouse (NT$500) or take the bus H31 from Kaohsiung at the park entrance. schedule

    Getting Around the Park

    Hitch-hiking and walking are the only options for independent travelers without cars. During the Butterfly Festival, many families visit the park. They are nice and willing to offer travelers rides. Even the locals would offer you a ride.

    The walk is 4 kilometers to the Purple Butterfly Valley from Deengorge Guesthouse. The closest restaurants and grocery shops is in Maolin town



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