Taiwan travel – Part 4 (Tarako Gorge)

Shakdang trail

Shakdang trail

One of our reasons for visiting Hualien is the Taroko Gorge National Park.  This is breathtaking natural wonder of rugged limestone cliffs and mountain streams that is about an hour drive from Hualien. The park consists of the main visitors centre and numerous scenic trails and lookouts along the main route of the park. Entrance is free.

There main road through the park is a work of human ingenuity against nature, built over many years. There are numerous tunnels along  the winding road that is prone to rock fall. Therefore visitors are encouraged to wear safety helmets which they can borrow from the visitor centre.

We took a bus from the Hualien station. The bus was crowded with visitors having same idea as us. Thus many passengers had to stand on the medium sized bus throughout the journey. But there was no alternative unless one rents a taxi for a day trip. In fact there were many taxi touts near the bus terminal, but we decided to take the bus anyway. Visitors do  have options of renting a bike or a car though.  Perhaps I should have chosen other options to get there.

It was a suprisingly hot day at Tarako Gorge. Our first stop was the Shakadang trail. This is a one hour trail along a emerald coloured mountain stream. This is a highly popular trail, as stream of visitors flowed along it.  We then walked back along the tunnel in the main road for lunch at the visitor centre. The Chinese food was excellent.

We hop and alighted from the busses along a number of  scenic points until we reached Tianxiang scenic area, where the bus terminates.  There is a Buddhist temple or retreat with gigantic Guanyin statue at Tianxiang.

We intended to take the  bus back after Tianxiang, but inadvertently stopped at the stretch along Yanzigou or Swallow Grotto. After a walk of about 15 minutes we took another bus to Hualien. The bus was crammed and there was no seat for me. Overall, this trip could have been better if the buses we took were less crowded, not too many visitors and the temperature a little cooler.

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Next .. Hualien food


About kchew

an occasional culturalist
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