Water Running Up is a gravity defying stream that appears to run uphill in Donghe Township near Dulan, Taitung County. As one of the stranger sights in Taiwan that seems to defy nature and the laws of physics, it attracts people year round. Does the water really run uphill? Let's find out.
Water Running up was originally built as an irrigation ditch by the Amis Aboriginal Tribe in 1870. The area around the trench was an important ritual training ground, but also a storage hub for food and water. Later on (I'm guessing in the past decade or two) people noticed that the water in the irrigation ditch appeared to run uphill when seen against a sloping background, and the Taitung County government quickly pounced on it, making it into a full fledged tourist trap. I mean tourist site.
How to get There:
By Car: From Taitung, take provincial highway 11 north to Dulan. Just before you enter Dulan it will be on the left.
By Train: Take the TRA to Taitung station, then take scooter or taxi via provincial highway 11 to Dulan.
By Bus: Take bus 8101 from Taitung Station to Yu Bridge. From there you will have to walk about 300 meters north, and up hill to the left. The bus ride takes just under 2 hours according to Google Maps.
âMap: Please see below:
We arrived to Water Running up via scooter from Taitung City. This place is really a pit stop along the coast, and seriously is not worth a trip of its own. At most you will spend 10 minutes here.
The sign says: "The water runs upward, amazing geographical landscape, seems to go against the attraction of gravity. It was caused by misleading of the eye-sight when one looks around all the surround landscape. Taitung County Government set up two "wonder" stones initally, and East Coast National Scenic Area Administration took over to maintain the facilities until now."
At the front of the optical illusion is a huge stone sign in Chinese that says "wonder" (å¥è§). I'll summarize what it says in Chinese here:
"In ancient times it was said: People climb up, and water runs down, but there is a legend among the local townsfolk that there is a place where the water actually runs up. Whether you believe it or not is up to you. However hearing it 100 times is not as good as seeing it for yourself. The scene is right in front of you. Please stay a while and enjoy it!"
-Taitung County Government
Does the water really run uphill? Watch the video above and see!
That water is going uphill!
The sign says: "The water runs upward, which known as "Dulan Fourth Waterway," was used to irrigate farmland by Dulan Amis in the 1870s. The waterway is the living memories of Dulan tribes, which is not only a rite training base, but also the stronghold to collect food or water. Afterward, people found the amazing geographical landscape, water flow down the slope up, which caused by misleading of the eye-sight when one looks all around the surround landscapes, hence the name, The water runs upward."
From the top of the hill that the water runs "up," you can see the ocean below.
Okay, if you haven't figured it out yet, the water is actually pretty flat and actually running downhill. However, because the surrounding footpath and road also moves down in a steeper angle, the water appears to be going uphill in comparison. Sorry to burst your bubble.
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We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.