Outskirts of Taichung (5): Gao Mei Shi Di (Gao Mei Wetland)
Dajia River flows through the districts of Taichung City and at the southern river mouth lies Gao Mei Shi Di (高美湿地, Gao Mei Wetland, “Gao Mei”). There used to be many wetlands at Taiwan’s west coast but many have been replaced by new developments.
We finally reached Taichung’s Gao Mei before sunset to enjoy the glow upon this place. Gao Mei is a bit out of the way and hence the slightly higher tour package fee. We were contemplating whether to pay that extra, and we did. It turned out to be a good choice afterall.
Walking towards the Wetland
Our driver dropped us at the bridge in the photo above, took a picture of us, and told us to be back by a certain time. So off we went on our own! Except we didn’t exactly know where to go.
We turned left towards the windmills when we should have walked straight towards the broadwalk. It’s still good because as we walked along the seawall, we managed to take beautiful scenic photos of windmills and waters against the sunset.
Continuing on the “wrong path”, we would have reached the windmills. We planned to do that but halfway through, the walk proved to be too long for the pregnant me. So we turned back and headed towards the broadwalk.
Oh, at the back of the concrete steps overlooking the sea, there are food stalls selling local delicacy, such as grilled squids, in late afternoons and on weekends. If you are in urgent need of a toilet, you can find it at the carparks that are also behind these steps.
Taichung government built a 800m wooden broadwalk above the delicate ecosystem at Gao Mei to preserve it. This broadwalk has also made it easy for people to access the wetland at the end. Enjoy the breeze and experience the rich biodiversity at Gaomei Wetland.
The boardwalk and wetland are off limits during high tide. The closure might last for about 2 to 2.5 hours long, depending on the height of the tide. You can still enjoy the scenery along the concrete path, where we took the wrong turn to.
“Travel to Taiwan’s renowned wetland – Gaomei Wetland. Enjoy the natural scenery and explore its wildlife. Covering over 1500 acres of land, Gaomei Wetland is a unique natural environment where water, sand and soil mix together – the geographical make up makes the area a magnet for diverse animal species, including large flocks of migrating birds.” – modified a little from Klook
As you walk along the broadwalk during low tide, look down to find fiddler crabs and mud-skippers dancing in the mud. Look up to observe birds flying or resting. Gao Mei is apparently a great place for bird watching. You might even catch a few rare birds in the vicinity too.
Enjoy your stroll as you relish in the nature and spot little creatures meandering through the mud. Take a deep breath in. Savour the tangy smell of the sea.
Oops, reality check. The broadwalk got a little crowded for us at the end. Everyone is bottled up there, taking off or putting on their shoes as they get in and out of the wetland. So when you find a quiet spot along the way, rest and chill.
We took off our shoes and went down to the wetland. There was a pool of water as we stepped in from the broadwalk. The waters almost reached my knees. So pull up your pants! Then, slowly walk forward and feel your way. Somewhere, there’s a sharp drop of height when you are about to enter the wetland.
Oh the softness of the sand between our toes. It was a pleasant walk around the wetland. However, in order to protect the natural habitat, there’s only a limited area where visitors are allowed to walk.
The place was quite busy and I would expect it to be busier during weekends when the locals join the tourists. Hence, even though the place is spacious, there were many people around to photo bomb us. It’s hard to take a picture perfect photo. You need to have a sharp eye for good spots.
One photo tip we picked up from the tourists around us: take the seamless reflection of us in the waters.
Windmills / Wind Turbines
As you walk back to land on the broadwalk, you will see a red and white lighthouse in a distance. Gaomei lighthouse was built in 1967, before Taichung Port. But what might actually catch your eye would be the row of windmills at the side. The windmill scene is one of the reasons why people come to Gao Mei.
Actually, to be more exact, these “windmills” are actually wind turbines. Just for your knowledge, wind turbine and windmill are different. According to polarisamerica.com, windmill pump water and grind grain that’s very similar to the water wheel. In contrast, wind turbine produce energy for a clean and safe environment. The windmill is also a much shorter machine than a wind turbine
It is a pretty sight, however these wind turbines apparently kill many migratory birds. Ironically, a few of these turbines were destroyed by Typhoon Soudelor in 2015.
Good thing I didn’t have the strength to keep walking earlier on. Because as we got back to our car, we asked our driver if he could drive us to see the wind turbines up close and he obliged! We didn’t need to take the long walk ourselves. I think this pit stop is not part of the typical itinerary, because there were no tourists around, with one or two locals passing by.
Gaomei Wetlands is not easily accessible by public transport. Hence it’s best you book a driver to bring you there. Can’t find a driver at the last minute? You might want to consider this Klook tour that goes to Gao Mei Shi Di, Rainbow Village and a few other places. It’s S$44.50 per pax.
Where else are you going in the outskirts of Taichung? Leave a comment below. I love to hear from you!
Be sure to have a look at my “Overview Taiwan Babymoon Itinerary“.
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