Thirteen Levels Abandoned Smelter in Shuinandong Mining Town | Urban Exploring

Thirteen Levels – Abandoned Copper and Gold Smelter In Shuinandong

After almost a year of having seen a picture of this place on Instagram, we decided to make a last-minute trip to Thirteen Levels. So, Saturday afternoon, we geared up (7 cameras between the three of us) and headed out.

About Thirteen Levels

Shuinandong Smelter, or Thirteen Levels, was built during Japanese Colonial Periods to be a huge gold and copper smelter facility, back when mining was profitable and booming. It is now an abandoned structure popular among tourists and photographers. Sitting by the cliff in between Jiufen, Jinguashi, and the Gold Mines, there’s plenty to explore in the neighbourhood. On our trip there we were able to see the Golden Waterfalls, Chen Ji Hall, Yin Yang Sea, and Jiufen.

How We Got There

I’m not sure if it was because of our last-minute planning, or if bus schedules that day were irregular, but finding the bus that would take us to Jiufen took us an hour from Zhongxiao Fuxing. Even though our maps kept suggesting that 3 busses had passed us, we could not see them at all!

When it finally rolled up to our stop, our two-hour journey could finally begin. Our first stop was Quanjitang. We decided to look around Chen Ji Hall temple for a little bit. In it’s courtyard sat a large statue of Guang Kong, the God of War.

Our first stop on our urban exploration: Chen Ji Hall at Quanjitang. An impressive statue of Guang Kong, God of War, sits in the courtyard.

From there we could either wait for another bus, or find a cab to take us to Shuinandong. Because it was already late afternoon, and we were not having the best of luck with busses, we found a cab instead that would take us to Shuinandong for 150nt. After a few more minutes of driving around the mountain, we saw the abandoned smelter looming up ahead of us.

Bus station in between the Yin Yang sea and the abandoned smelter.

The cab dropped us off at the Bus Station, right in between the Yin Yang Sea and Thirteen Levels. You can see it in the image above where the car park is situated. This required a 15 minute walk uphill back to the gate.

Trying to figure out our way through Google Maps
Trying to find our way with Google Maps. Photo by 160cm_
Golden waterfall river leading into the Yin Yang Sea

Along the way we passed by this ‘golden’ river. The cause of the coloring attributed to natural causes and perhaps the pollution given off by the mines and factories.

Once we found the path leading into the buildings we were greeted with a big square opening. Inside the largest of the buildings we found it was spacious, but empty. Among the walls were some pretty talented graffiti. Looking through the window, we were able to spot some stairs, but did not find it from outside the building.


The outside of Thirteen Levels

The second floor seemed inaccessible, but had a few structures still standingTaking lots of photos at Thirteen Levels

Taking lots of photos. Photo by 160cm_
Lots of holes and windows allowed for natural lighting
Origami instructions graffiti’d on to a corner of the
Watch where you’re stepping, there are large holes along the side of the building
Colorful grafiti on one of the walls
Colorful graffiti on one of the walls
Graffiti on the inside of the large warehouse

Outside were large patches of grass and more graffiti. Some of the shelters were storing some new equipment.

Thirteen Levels from the outside
Graffiti art in Thirteen Levels Shuinandong
Graffiti art could be found all over the area.
Chinese graffiti in the abandoned Thirteen Levels
我一直都在 meaning I am always here has been graffiti’d onto the walls.
Graffiti covered the walls of the abandoned smelter
Graffiti covered the walls of the abandoned smelter
Abandoned Smelter in
Lots to explore in the area.

After seeing as much as we could, we wanted to save the rest of sunlight for the creepier looking building further up the hill. We found it inaccessible from our current location, so up another hike we go.

Along our 15 minute walk up the winding road, we saw photographers by the building we were trying to access. Finally we came upon the gate and found that it was open, with a parking lot and plenty of other photographers in the area.

The building itself was closed off, but the outside of it was open to the public, offering gorgeous views of the Yin Yang Sea and the lit up town of Shuinindong.

From the top of the smelter you can see the Yin Yang Sea
Surrounded by mountains and the sea
Surrounded by mountains and the sea, the area was a beautiful place to get lost in.
Shuinandong city
The lit up city by the coast was a beautiful sight at night. This shot reminded me of
The roof of the smelter is now half parking lot, half viewpoint.

The hike back down was a lot faster, and we saw that we had actually been on top of the factory the entire time. Along the way we also saw the famous Jinshui highway.

Jinshui Highway
What the highway looks like by a professional photographer
Jinshui Highway at night

Still energetic, despite having hiked the equivalent of 30 floors (according to Fitness Tracker) we stopped by Jiufen for some light snacks and to take some more photos before grabbing one of the last busses back to Taipei.

Map to Thirteen Levels Viewpoint


What You Need To Know Before Going

I’d recommend wearing longer pants as there’s a bit of climbing, and lots of tall grass in the area. Go early so you can explore the neighbourhood while you’re there. When it gets to evening, head up to the viewpoint where you can see the boats and little town light up.

The last bus out of Jiufen leaves at around 9:30 so get there early, by the second to last bus, there were no seats and you’ll have to spend the hour long ride back to Taipei standing.

Bus fare is 100nt each way.

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Urban exploring can be dangerous and involves many risks. You’ll find broken glass, random holes, and lots and lots of mosquitoes. There are no paths, maps, or directions helping you get around. Please use your better judgement.

See more posts on Abandoned Places in Taiwan

One response to “Thirteen Levels Abandoned Smelter in Shuinandong Mining Town | Urban Exploring”

  1. […] trips. Excellent seafood, beautiful coast lines, several urban exploration sites such as the famous Thirteen Levels, and peaceful sleepy towns like Jiufen. It’s only a 40 minute drive from Taipei, and […]

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