Rugged coral-reef limestone terrain is a major feature of Kaohsiung's Mount Shou, which has more than 150 limestone caves. Shoushan National Nature Park Administration accepts applications for cave exploration between November 1 and April 30, when the weather is generally dry.
The curious and adventurous can apply for access to four caves: Orangutan Cave, Tianyu Tiancai Cave, Beifong Jile Cave, and Jingua Cave. Under the supervision of a cave guide, visitors can venture deep into these caverns to experience the park's geological wonders.
Of the four, Beifong Jile Cave is particularly challenging, as it boasts a four-story drop between the entrance and the bottom of the cave. Jingua Cave was named after a giant symmetrical flowstone inside which looks like an inverted pumpkin. It is often included as a side trip, due to its proximity to Beifong Jile Cave. It is recommended that first-time visitors start with Orangutan Cave and Tianyu Tiancai Cave.
Squeezing through a Narrow Gap in Orangutan Cave
Under the guidance of cave guide Huang Huei-neng, we headed to our first stop, Orangutan Cave. Once we were in the cave, we could feel the coolness of the rock wall, which added to the cave's ethereal ambiance.
Orangutan Cave got its name from the several ape-shaped rocks within. Another interesting point is that there are “caves” within the cave. Huang Huei-neng challenged the group to squeeze through a narrow crevice by bending down and climbing through it. Caught between the jagged rocks and the smooth ground, crawling forward, holding our breaths, twisting and crawling through, it felt as if we were breaking out of a cocoon.
‘Jesus Light': A Check-in Spot for Internet Celebrities
Next on the agenda was Tianyu Tiancai Cave, which is in a secluded location. We crammed ourselves into a hole that could hold only one person at a time, while clinging to tree roots with our feet on the ground. Light streams down from the cave's top crack, and when it rains, it cascades down like a waterfall, hence its name (Tianyu means “sky rain”). Our guide kept an eye out for snakes, crickets, spiders, and other potential threats.
At noon, a “silver lining” appears at the end of the cave. Beams of light spread across the large, high cave, making it an optimum time to take photos. Although the “Jesus Light,” caused by the Tyndall Effect, was not visible on the day of our visit, the soft and diffused light nonetheless had a dream-like beauty. The Instagram crowd flocks to the site, as — in perfect conditions, at least — sunlight streaming through this hole generates a fantastic and heavenly glow of light. If you have yet to experience this, make an appointment for the next advanced cave exploration class!
For cave exploration and rock-climbing applications, as well as activity notices, visit the website of Shoushan National Nature Park: https://bit.ly/3oChSTP