Yinhe Cave Temple

Yinhe cave temple is a beautiful spot, located not far from Maokong's gondola station. I visited with a friend on a busy holiday weekend, when the gondola was packed, but the cave and the trail to it were both fairly quiet. It's an easy hike, and doable within a couple of hours.

The trail to the temple is mostly flat until the cliff where the waterfall is located. On the way we passed some small farms and through a large bamboo grove. There were small golden orb web spiders hanging in many trees. By summer these will have grown huge, but we visited in January. They keep to themselves high in the trees, and you're not likely to crash into one. The metal railings around the temple were full of hairy caterpillars. I accidentally squished one on a handrail and suffered no ill effects, so I think they're harmless. 

Stairs down to the temple.

After climbing down the steep stairs we could hear the waterfall, and the temple came into sight perched high within a sheer cliff. The view from the temple is picturesque, and the waterfall gives the place a calming effect. We stayed for a while. You can climb up through the temple to a large statue of a guardian, but there the trail ends. 

The temple urn. 

Inside the temple there are the usual fortune telling instruments and a small Buddhist shrine. There are the half moon fortune blocks (you ask a question and throw two, your answer depends which way up they land). There's also a bowl with fortune sticks inside. Shake the bowl until one drops out. Then use it to open the corresponding drawer in the cabinet (below right) which contains a fortune to be interpreted. 

The shrine, with the fortune pot on the right.

The fortune cabinet

I'm not sure exactly how old this temple is. The poster hanging from it has 百年 on it, which suggests there has at least been something here for 100 years. The full poster translates as 銀河 (silver river; the English name of the temple) 百年紀念 (centennial) The poster also makes the temple look like it's sticking it's tongue out. 

After visiting the temple we headed back to Maokong as the sun was setting. You can follow the trail a little further to Yinhe Road, then Beiyi Road, where one of those rare little minibuses runs. The links here and here lead to the Maokong and Yinhe Rd ends of the trail (for the Yinhe Rd end address is approximate). If you want to find other cool places browse my Hidden Taiwan map here .