Every winter, millions of Taiwanese Purple Crow Butterflies migrate to the warm climate of the Maolin District. It is a short getaway from Kaohsiung City to view a unique gathering of beautiful purple butterflies in the winter.
The Taiwanese Purple Crow Butterflies (Euploea tulliolus) are a species of the milkweed butterflies. They get the name, “crow” butterfly, from their dark coloration that resemble the coloring of the crow birds. However, the Taiwanese Purple Crow Butterflies are more purplish in hue when viewed in the sunlight.
In the winter, from November through March, the butterflies fly down from the colder climate in the northern and central areas of Taiwan. They settle in the Maolin District, at the foothills of the Dawu Mountain. This provides a wonderful opportunity to see these beautiful butterflies up close.
According to the Maolin National Scenic Area Administration, the best time to view the butterflies is from 8:30am to 11am. The ideal locations are Butterfly Walkway and Ecological Park.
“The most ideal situation is the day after a rainfall, when the sun is shining brightly. If visitors are lucky, and the time and place are all perfect, masses of Purple Crow Butterflies can be seen gliding down through the gorge, preparing to feed, drink, and sunbathe. As visitors watch their elegant appearance as they search for flowers and drinking nectar, it becomes clear why people refer to these butterflies as the dancers of nature. Obviously, it will take some luck to be able to see all of this in one day!”Maolin National Scenic Area Administration
The Maolin District in Kaohsiung’s eastern area is the home of the indigenous Rikai people. In addition to aboriginal culture exhibits, traditional houses, and crafts, it has many natural features. For example, the Lover’s Gorge is a scenic recreational spot with a waterfall. The 232 meter long Duona Suspension Bridge is another popular attraction in Maolin.
Maolin Visitor Center:
No. 16, Lin 1, Maolin Li, Maolin Dist., Kaohsiung 851001
How to Get There
From Kaohsiung Train Station
Visitors can take buses E25, E28, or E32 from the TRA Kaohsiung Station to the Cishan Bus Station.
From Zuoying High Speed Rail Station
Vistors can take buses E01 or E25 from the HSR Zuoying Station to Cishan Bus Station.
At the Cishan Bus Station
Transfer to Bus H31 to reach the butterfly-watching area. The bus services from Cishan Bus Station runs from 7:30 am until 3:45 pm. The Maolin Butterfly Trail is located within walking distance to the Maolin District Office bus stop (茂林區公所).
The Transportation Bureau of Kaohsiung City (TBKC) has rearranged the bus schedule for 2020-2021 Purple Crow Butterfly Watching Season in Maolin. Cooperating with the Maolin National Scenic Area Administration, 6 runs of bus route H31 are provided on holidays until February 28, 2021. Citizens are encouraged to take these shuttle buses for the butterfly watching event.
Other Things to Do
After viewing the magnificent purple crow butterflies, visitors can proceed on the H31 bus to the Longtou Shan Scenic Area to view the wonderful landscape. The end of the bus line is Douna. It has a tribal village that showcases the local history, culture, and crafts.
Upon returning to the Cishan bus station, visitors can stroll around the Cishan Old Street.
It has some well preserved traditional architecture. But, more important for foodies, Cishan is famous for bananas! You’ll find many unique banana flavored food everywhere, from banana cakes, banana cookie rolls, to banana ice cream.
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