Ever want to see an active volcano up close? You can at the mud Volcanos in Wushanding Nature Preserve, Yanchao District of Kaohsiung. These spew out mud all day, which piles up and then gets washed away by rain. It is a unique and beautiful geological oddity worth visiting. These are the largest and most concentrated mud volcanoes in Taiwan.
Wushanding Mud Volcanoes are part of a stretch of badlands that cover a large swath of southern Taiwan near the central mountain range in rural Tainan and Kaohsiung. Typical badlands are found in dryer climates, are composed of sedimentary rocks, typically have very little vegetation, and have deep valleys or ravines. The badlands in Taiwan are unique in that they are in a tropical rain forest. How is this possible?
The soil at Wushanding is composed of mudstone, sandstone, shale, and chalk. Because of high alkaline levels due to chalk in the soil, trees and grass cannot grow very well. The lack of vegetation as well as high rainfall gives way to quick eroding hills, or badlands. The local Rivers also helped to carve out the landscape and bare hills.
Due to vents in the earth's crust as well as deep pressures, water is pushed up to form these mud volcanoes. Nearby are also some natural gas vents, such as the ones at Guanziling Fire and Water Cave. The area around Yanchao is full of badlands and mud volcanoes, but the volcanoes at Wushanding are the most concentrated and pronounced in all of Taiwan.
Wushanding was declared a protected area in 1992.
Because of limited public transportation, normally there are not too many visitors but the weekends can be busy.
9 AM to 4:30 PM every day
Free! But you have to register in order to enter the park.
How to Get There:
By Bus: From Eda World, take bus 7A to Kaohsiung Normal University. It is about a 20 minute walk from the university.
Take National Freeway 10 East out of Kaohsiung and get off at the Yanchao exit (or travel by scooter under the freeway). Then travel east on provincial highway 22 passed National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology. You will have to use google Maps to turn left onto a one lane country back road to find the mud volcanoes.
Please refer to the map below:
We have been to the Wushanding Mud Volcanoes once. I had been to Tianliao Moon World Many times and had always wanted to see the larger mud volcanoes in Wushanding, but I was never sure exactly where they were. I drove there by car once in 2019.
There is plenty of free parking near the entrance of the park, and lots of people selling fruit. The mud volcanoes lay in the middle of a bunch of agricultural land.
Two ladies selling watermelon and guava juice.
There is a bathroom and a registration desk across the road from the mud volcanoes. You have to write your name, date, and ID number in order to enter.
Welcome sign and parking lot behind.
Geology and ecology of Wushanding Nature Reserve.
There is a warning here that if you mess with the mud volcanoes or disturb nature here you could be sent to prison for six months to five years or be fined 500,000 to 2,000,000 NT.
If you don't register you could also be slapped with a fine of 30,000 to 150,000 NT.
The main mud volcanoes at the entrance of the park.
Fresh mud flowing from one of the volcanoes.
Another smaller volcano in the woods behind.
Closer look at the volcano covered in leaves.
Video of the bubbling volcano.
An extinct mud volcano stub, slowly being eroded away by rain.
Explanation in Chinese. The volcanoes are formed by trapped gasses under pressure under the earth. Sometimes the volcanoes can spray mud up to 5 meters into the air.
Another view of the main mud volcanoes.
A view from behind.
Different angle. There are government volunteers here all day watching to make sure no one harms the mud volcanoes. They can also give you a short tour.
Fresh mud lahar slowly moving down the hill. If you look closely you can see a small footprint...
Yes, my two year old daughter stepped in the mud on accident. I don't think she realized what it was.
It actually took a really long time to clean her foot and shoe because that mud is super thick. Also there is only a trickle of water at the sinks in the bathrooms. Luckily we did not get sent to prison or have to pay a huge fine.
A look closer at the main volcanoes.
View of the volcanoes from the back side.
Thanks for reading and be sure to stay tuned for more of our blogs on Kaohsiung to come!
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.