Yehliu is perhaps the most famous geological park in Taiwan, with its most famous landmark being the Queen's Head rock. These rock formations have been forming for thousands of years through erosion of soft sandstone due to wind and water. Hurry and see these formations soon before they are gone forever!
The sandstone that forms the Yehliu formation was created between 10 and 20 million years ago, and was pushed out of the sea along with northern Taiwan thousands of years ago.
The Queen's head is formed by two layers of sandstone, one soft fast eroding layer on bottom and a harder layer on top. This kind of sandstone formation can be seen around the world and is known as a hoodoo. The Queen's head was named after Queen Elizabeth I, because it is thought to look like her.
The head is eroding .2 to .5 CM per year and is expected to fall at any time!
The name Yehliu comes from the Spanish name for the area "Putno Diablos" which was then also used by the Dutch, and transliterated by the Chinese settlers in the area as "Yehliu" in Chinese.
Yehliu Ocean world is the largest aquarium in northern Taiwan and has one of the few outdoor sea life amphitheaters in Taiwan. The facility features an indoor aquarium and outdoor show that is geared toward children.
Yehliu Geopark: 8 AM to 5 PM in winter (tickets not sold after 4:30)
8 AM to 6 PM in summer (tickets not sold after 5:30)
Yehliu Ocean World: 9 AM to 5 PM
Yehliu Geopark: 80 NT per person.
Yehliu Ocean World: 330 NT per person (children are sometimes free)
Can I touch the rocks?
Don't you dare touch the rocks!
How to get there:
By Bus: There are inter-city buses that leave hourly from Taipei Main Station and Taipei City Hall to Yehliu.
By Car/Scooter: Take Provincial highway 2 west out of Keelung, and keep going until you reach Wanli. The turnoff to Yehliu comes right after Wanli beach.
Please see below:
I have known about Yeliue and the famous Queen's head, and always wanted to go check it out. However my first few years in Taiwan werwe spent in the south, so I didn't have a chance to cheack it it.
Yehliu Geopark 野柳地質公園
The first time I went o Yehliu Geopark it was already getting dark, and we were not allowed to enter the park (it was after 4:30). So we had to plan another trip.
On our second trip, we made it successfully into the park.
Right away on the walk through Yehliu you are bombarded with rocks of all shapes.
Some potholes carved into the sandstone rock by seawater.
More interesting honeycomb shapes.
Waves crashing against the shore.
View of the Queen's head from afar.
There is a little ring on the shore which was used for radio tests tens of years ago.
A wave crashing through a hole in the rocks.
A small cove within Yehliu.
Here the hoodoos start sticking out. I reached out and touched one and was immediately scolded by one of the security guards.
Not too long ago a Taiwanese man was brutally beat up for stepping off the boardwalk and approaching the Queen's Head.
If you don't want the living daylights beat out of you, stay on the wooden boardwalk and don't touch the rocks (photo credit: https://www.ettoday.net/news/20181101/1295612.htm). The guard who beat up the tour guide was later moved but was not fired.
Closeup of the Queen's head.
I believe this is the princess head, which would replace the Queen's Head as the main feature in the park if it were to fall down.
View looking back at the Queen's Head.
Follow the rules, don't walk in the wrong direction, and don't you dare test the patience of the guards on site.
A nature made "pot" in the rocks.
Photography can be art too.
Natural "Tofu Rocks" along the seashore.
If you keep going down the trail, you will come to a small hill at the end of the peninsula with a lighthouse on it.
"The lighthouse began operation in 1967. The tower has a height of 11.3 meters, the light has a height of 99 meters, and it has an optical path of 16 nautical miles. It was set up within the beam range of Fugui Cape Lighthouse and Keelung Lighthouse to enforce the navigation function of Keelung Port, Yehliu Lighthouse was designed after Yehliu's Candle Rocks, and has hence earned the title of the most beautiful lighthouse in Taiwan."
I don't know about that.
View from under the UFO shaped lighthouse.
View of the trail up to the lighthouse on the outcropping past the Queen's head.
Yehliu Ocean World 野柳海洋世界
Another great attraction in Yehliu if you have time is the Ocena World aquarium that sits in the parking lot next to Yehliu Geopark. It is like the seaworld of Taipei, and is by far the best aquarium in northern Taiwan. The one in Kenting is better though. As you can see above, there is a tank where you can see sea turtles up close.
Shark tank (sorry for the blur).
Sorry I don't know the name of this fish. If you do, help me out by leaving a comment.
Same for this fish.
View of a sea turtle from under water.
The main event of the aquarium is the outdoor stadium, which has shows that feature trained seals and dolphins, as well as Russian synchronized swimmers and high divers. The show also has a James Bond 007 themed ruse in it that is geared toward children, but is still enjoyable for adults. As I recall there are two shows a day. These shows are free with the price of admission.
I would highly recommend it as a great family friendly place to visit.
To see the full show, click on the video above. Be warned: it is over half an hour long. I think the whole show lasts about an hour. Sorry I was so far away but it was raining a little bit that day.
Wanli UFO Houses 萬里飛蝶舞
Also near Yehliu you can also check out the nearly completely abandoned Wanli UFO houses. Stay tuned in the next few days for a full blog on this place.
There is also a geopark in eastern Taiwan called Little Yehliu Geopark. For our full blog on little Yehliu, clickhere.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working 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.