Photo: Yang Pu>/Unsplash

Whoops — China Confirms Its Largest Waterfall Isn’t so Natural

China News National Parks
by Matador Creators Jun 6, 2024

While many national parks are no stranger to drought, some social media users think one protected recreation area in China took it a little too far.

On June 2, a social media user in China posted a video on Douyin (similar to TikTok). The video showed a somewhat large pipe feeding water out from the top of Yuntai Falls, at tourist hot-spot Yuntai Geopark. The caption translated to “After going to all the effort to see the Yuntai Falls, I saw a water pipe.”

It didn’t take long for the video to go viral, as Yuntai Falls is supposedly the largest natural waterfall in China. Hours after the video was posted, the park responded — and admitted the waterfall wasn’t all natural. It posted a semi-strange message, seemingly written from the perspective of the waterfall, acknowledging a “small improvement.”

“I made a small improvement during the dry season, just to be able to meet my friends in a better state,” reads the translated note. “In the coming flood season, I will present my magnificence in the most perfect and original manner.”

yuntai falls translated note

Photo: Yuntaishan Scenic Area/Google Translate

Yuntai Falls, also called Yuntai Mountain Waterfall is in China’s Henan Province and supposedly the tallest waterfall in China. It drops 1,030 feet, or 314 meters, over a cliff within Yuntaishan Global Geopark, also called Yuntai Mountain Geo Park.

The use of a pipe to feed the waterfall could be considered at odds with the definition of a geopark, a designation given to destinations around the world by UNESCO. A geopark must have a “landscapes of international geological significance” and be “managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development,” reads the UNESCO website. “Their bottom-up approach of combining conservation with sustainable development while involving local communities is becoming increasingly popular.”

The geopark received more than 11 million visitors in 2019, and Yuntai Falls is the centerpiece of the park, designated as a scenic area within China. It’s not the first time the park has been in the news for the wrong reasons: The park’s glass walkway, perched 3,500 feet above a canyon, cracked while visitor were walking across it. The park blamed the cracks on a stainless steel mug dropped by a visitor, and it was quickly repaired. The glass walkway is still open for guests.

Other impressive waterfalls in China

Yuntai Falls alternative - Detian waterfall

Detian Waterfall, on the China-Vietnam border. Photo: French Jessica Lee/Shutterstock

If you’re ready to go chasing waterfalls, but prefer to see them in their natural state, you have plenty of options besides Yuntai Falls. The country has lots of excellent national recreation areas, many of which are loaded with waterfalls. The options below are just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Huangguoshu Waterfall (also called Huangguoshu or Huangguoshu Falls) is one of the largest waterfalls, width-wise. It’s 255 feet tall and 331 feet wide, with several cascades. The name translates to “Yellow Fruit Tree Waterfall,” and it has multiple viewpoints for visitors, including a mist-filled cave in the rock behind the falls.
  • Detian Waterfalls is a collection of cascading waterfalls that straddle the border between China and Vietnam. They’re the largest waterfalls on the China-Vietnam border and are more than 700 feet wide and surrounded by dramatic karst formations. Most visitors see the falls from boat rides, though both countries have available viewing platforms. In Vietnam, they’re called Ban Gioc Falls.
  • Jiulong Waterfalls is also called the Nine Dragon Waterfalls for its multiple tiers of cascades spread out over a one-mile section of river. The largest is more than 350 feet wide and 150 feet tall. It’s a popular spot on multi-day tours, though the park’s infrastructure makes it easy to visit on your own, too.

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