One of my friends told me to go to Taroko Gorge. They didn’t have enough time to see this for themselves so she recommended it to us.
Doing some light research of this place, I confirmed that it is great! Add the fact that I saw Atom Araullo posted a picture of Taroko on his IG account and he responded to my question about his Taiwan itinerary (#fangirl mode on!).
In a snap, I was in love…with Taroko, not with Atom. Weh?!
Must read: Taiwan Nature Trip for Less Than 30K ($599)
To get to Taiwan, we availed a seat sale ticket months prior our trip from Cebu Pacific. We landed in Taipei and the plane ride only took 2 hours from Manila.
And according to recent events, Air Asia now also offers direct flights to Taipei as of Nov 2016.
From Taipei, reserve HSR tickets to Hualien online before your scheduled trip. We booked the 7:20 am no. 206 Tze-Chiang Ltd Express and travel time is 2 hours.
WHAT WE DID
Since our tickets were only reserved online, we claimed our actual train tickets at the nearest 7-11 store from our Taipei hotel. We stayed at , which is just a walking distance to the MRT station Dongmen.
We rode the MRT to get to Taipei Main Station and from there, find the HSR platforms to Hualien.
Good thing, we left the hotel early and we still have 14 mins left to wait for our train. It was also amazing that trains in Taiwan are always on time, if not arriving earlier than scheduled.
An indigenous Truku tribesman was said to have given the name Taroko to the gorge. Taroko means wonderful and splendid, to which referred to the magnificence of the Pacific Ocean that when the Truku stepped out of the gorge, he uttered “Taroko!”
It is also known as The Marble Gorge as this is one of the abundant source of marble in Taiwan.
I did have marble obsession instantly!
Spots to visit:
This is the main entrance of Taroko Gorge. We snapped a few photos then drove further along the park. Taroko National Park maybe vast but they don’t collect entrance fees.
The beauty is Taroko is open for all and it’s guaranteed free!
After a few minutes of driving, we arrived at the Shakadang Trail to which we needed to walk 1.5 km to see the river stream. Mind you, I was wearing low cut boots because we were anticipating a gloomy weather.
But it didn’t and the sun rose to all its glory! I guess, that was the perfect example for a tiis ganda moment. It took us almost 1.5 hrs to finish walking the trail.
This trail is also known as “Mysterious Valley Trail” which is famed for its clear turquoise water streams with (really) impressive marble stones.
Eternal Spring Shrine
From afar, this shrine looks like a cutesy piece of art with a flowing waterfall under it. On a closer look, it was very amusing that I was puzzled where does the water came from.
This trail really took my breath away and I was not exaggerating. All pictures were untouched though filters were not needed.
The Swallow Grotto is a long trail but since we were surrounded by the amazing view of the marble rock formations with the clear river stream (sigh)…let’s just say, I didn’t mind walking under the heat of the sun.
As rocks might fall from time to time (not to worry, stones are quite small), hard hats are being given at the start of the trail. Estimated trekking time: almost 2 hours.
Haaay, sobrang ganda lang talaga!
The English translation for Cimu is ‘Loving Mother’ and this bridge was said to be built to honor former President Chiang Jing-guo’s mother, to whom also is the late wife of President Chiang Kai-shek.
Personally, Cimu Bridge looked like the one from San Francisco. Never been there but they looked similar in pictures though this one seems to be the shorter version.
A small town at the top of Taroko Gorge. Its main attraction are the Xiangde Temple and Tianfeng Pagoda, to which are both accessible only by foot.
It was a long walk to the top so ensure to have drinking water with you. Don’t worry, the view from the top is breathtaking. The trek will definitely be worth it.
As we reached the top of TianXiang, we met this beautiful pagoda. We climbed to the top and got numerous scenic photos of the whole gorge.
Our gorgeous view from the top.
Yehfei Pavilion and Suspension Bridge
This serves as an entry point to some of the major mountains and forests of Taroko Gorge.
The suspension bridge across the river leads to one of the park’s Ecological Protection Areas and without a permit, entry is not allowed.
How it looks like from afar.
Other nearby spots to check out:
- Chihsintan Beach
- Chinsui Cliff
WHERE WE STAYED
We spent the night in Lienfook Hotel which is near the city center. Free breakfast was also included in the room rate.
See contact details below for more information.
Xiao Long Bao – Me and my bf were in affirmation that we tried the most delicious, malaman and sulet xiao long bao in Hualien. Mas masarap compared sa natikman namen in Din Tai Fung.
Exotic Boar & Native Chicken – Tried this when we had a buffet lunch in Dageeli. The resto was recommended by our guide. There was like 20+ dishes served. I know!
• As there will be a lot of walking involve, put on some comfortable shoes. Wearing rubber shoes or sneakers won’t bite.
• I would personally advise to book a bus tour, take a cab or hire a tour guide with wheels in order to wander Taroko Gorge. Spots to visit are quite distant from one another and walking around from one place to another is not recommended.
• Nine Turn Tunnel is closed at the time we visited Taroko Gorge. As what I’ve heard this is permanently closed. Too bad.
We stayed at Lienfook Hotel. We booked them thru booking.com.
You may also email our TripAdvisor recommended tour guide, Neil Zeng at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit his Facebook page.
TRAVEL EXPENSE SUMMARY
**Our Taroko Gorge tour has been done during our Taiwan trip last Oct 29 – Nov 4, 2014. Pics were taken using Nikon D3100 and Sony Cybershot TX30.