Water Running Up 水往上流
"Water Running Up," better known as 水往上流 (Shuei Wang Shang Liou), is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Taitung County 臺東縣. It is in Dong He Township 東河鄉, about a half hour north of Taitung City, and just south of Dulan 都蘭.
As tourist attractions go, it's quite pathetic. It's only a field with canals cut into it, and these canals give the water the appearance of flowing upward. Really. That's all that it is. And I would estimate that dozens, if not hundreds, of people visit that place every day.
Then again, I'm not sure if most of the visitors are really there of their own free will. Most of them are hauled in there along with countless other tour groups, as part of a circuit that Mainland Chinese, Japanese, and Korean tourists complete every day. They fly into Taipei 台北 or Kaohsiung 高雄, they get on a bus, they are taken to a succession of bad restaurants and gift shops, and then they go to "Water Running Up," where they are treated to the miracle of water defying the forces of nature.
I visited "Water Running Up" in 2006, when I first moved to Taitung. I haven't been back since. Back then it was devoid of Mainland Chinese tourists, but this lack of crowds did not make "Water Running Up" more enjoyable. My wife, daughters, and I walked in, quickly realized how lame it was, and left, never to return.
One thing I can't figure out is why more people don't try to sell things in that place. There are a few people near the parking lots selling fruit, but I can't help but think that other people could also make a lot of money there. A coffee cart would make a fortune. With so many tourists getting off and getting on buses in that spot - every single day - someone's going to make money.
"Water Running Up" is quite boring, but at least they don't charge money to go in there. If you take this into account, it's actually better than Chu Lu Pasture 初鹿牧場. Chu Lu Pasture might have a better view, but it's just a glorified gift shop, and they charge an entrance fee to boot.
Maybe there are some people out there who truly like "Water Running Up." I can't grudge them their opinion. Just the same, there are much better tourist attractions on Taiwan's East Coast, and one need not bother visiting "Water Running Up" if you're in the area. Anywhere north of Dulan is prettier, less crowded, and more interesting.
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