You cannot visit Taiwan without seeing and discovering the spectacular beauty of Taroko National Park (also known as Taroko Gorge) especially if you are a nature lover and a trekker.
What Makes Taroko National Park Special?
Taroko National Park is a top tourist destination in Taiwan. It is located 15km north of Hualien City which is in the east coast of the old Peninsula Formosa.
Taroko National Park is an impressive 19-km-long canyon. It is known for its magnificent rock and marble formations. These peculiar formations that appears to rise high like superstructures were formed by the crashing tectonic plates that keep on growing until today.
How To Get There And Get Around
There are flights and trains available from Taipei and most major cities going to Hualien. From Hualien, you can either take a taxi or bus which is not really expensive.
From Hualien, you can go to the visitor’s center and join for a whole day tour in a bus or hire a taxi for a whole day. For the adventurous ones, you can rent a bicycle or explore Taroko Gorge by foot.
Exploring Taroko Gorge National Park
We took an afternoon tour to the famous national park. The road in the entire stretch of Taroko Gorge has many tunnels. This allows the vehicles to safely travel even in bad weather conditions. The roads are quite narrow and there isn’t much room for vehicles passing through each other especially for buses. Anyway, you will not notice much the roads you travel as your eyes will be astonished with the exhilarating cliff view from your vehicle’s window.
The Eternal Spring Shrine
The first stop of our tour is this Shrine which is also known as Chang Chun Shrine. It was built as a memorial for those workers who lost their lives building the road crossing central Taiwan. It was a short stop only just for a quick photo ops.
Swallow Grotto Trail
This is probably my favorite part of our tour in Taroko Gorge. No wonder this is the most popular stop in the entire national park. The Swallow Grotto provides a fantastic view of the river down below, which carved out a narrow gorge. You’ll also see here a long green suspension bridge hanging below. The bridge only allowing visitors with permits to cross. Swallow Grotto is a great stopover and it is one that you shouldn’t miss.
Buluowan is a large hill-top terrace home to a grassland great for picnic and relaxation. It is divided into Upper Terrace and Lower Terrace. You can walk on a trail to visit the river valley from the Lower Terrace. Then you can proceed to the exhibition halls where you can learn about the aboriginal culture of the Taroko Tribe. On the upper terrace, there is a 300 meter Bamboo Groves trail, where you can observe the Bamboo Forest and interesting sight of a large rock being completely embraced by the Strangling Figs Tree.
Well a day tour is too short for us to enjoy this wonderful spectacle of nature. I wish that we could stay here longer maybe for two or three days. Anyway if you are planning to stay there overnight, there are several hotels within Taroko National Park that offer great traditional experience and beautiful sceneries that will complete your holiday.
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