Watch tens of thousands of bats filling sky on Taiwan’s northeastern coast

New Taipei Government has invited the public to watch tens of thousands of bats flying out of Taiwan’s biggest bat caves on the northeastern coast of

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--New Taipei Government has invited the public to watch tens of thousands of bats flying out of Taiwan’s biggest bat caves on the northeastern coast of Taiwan by holding a series of bat watching events at a park near the caves.

Ruifang District Warden Chen Chi-cheng (陳奇正) said the bat watching events will open on the evening of the coming Saturday (July 15) at the Bat Cave Park in the Ruifang district off the scenic coastal highway (Provincial Highway No. 2). He said the city government will provide free shuttle bus service from Ruifang Railway Station to and from the event venue, starting at 4 p.m. on July 15.

The Ruifang bat caves are located near the entrance of the highway tunnel at the kilometer mark 75 on Provincial Highway No. 2.

This place is home to a population of 200,000 bent-wing bats in the region, the city’s Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office Director Chen Yuan-chuan (陳淵泉) said, adding that the bats migrate from Nantou County in large numbers to the bat caves after the Dragon Boat Festival and then start breeding.

It is said that the bats stay until about September when they leave for their annual migration. But before then, the 200,000 bats can be seen flying out of the bat caves about 15 minutes before sunset and filling the night sky around the caves, searching for food, Chen Yuan-chuan said. Therefore, the period just before the nightfall is the best time for bat watching, he added.

From 5 p.m. on every Saturday and Sunday from July 15 to August 20, there will be volunteer guides at the Bat Cave Park to serve visitors. Be sure to remember that the best watching time is between 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. On each of the occasion, the first 100 visitors will be rewarded with free sea grass jelly and a small gift, according to the New Taipei City Government.  

Chen Chi-cheng, the district warden, said the district office had organized five boat trips for sightseeing along a 14-kilometer stretch of the coast in July and August in conjunction with the bat watching season this year, but all the seats were taken in just two hours after the news was released. The attractions along the coast that can be seen during the boat trip include the Elephant's Trunk Rock, the13-Layer Remains, and Nanya Rock Formation.

The Elephant's Trunk Rock

The boat trip will set out from Shen-ao Fishing Port near Keelung and sail to the Bitoujiao Lighthouse and back. On the way back, the boat will stop off the bat caves to watch the bats. The district warden said he hoped bed and breakfast operators in the area can cooperate with boat owners to make such boat trips a regular tourist attraction.