Taroko Gorge Taiwan – Must See
After establishing ourselves in Taipei and catching up with our son Joe we decided to embark upon our round Taiwan adventure. After a couple of day trips where we returned to Taipei for the evening, we checked out of our hotel went to the main train station and caught a train to the city called Hualien on the east coast of Taiwan.
If you’re using public transport, Hualien is the gateway to Taroko Gorge considered by many to be one of the top 3 tourist locations in Taiwan. After visiting this location we have to agree. If you had your own car or were on a private tour you could probably get to more locations but during the very full day that we had at Taroko Gorge, we managed to experience much of the beauty that the location had to offer.
In the list of destinations within Taroko Gorge covered in the AI section below, I have only included the locations that do not need a special permit. We weren’t intending to embark upon really long hikes and fortunately, most of the really beautiful locations are just short hikes that go off the main road that runs up alongside the river through the gorge.
We walked the 10 minutes to the bus station and as we were early, enjoyed a hot breakfast at a small cafe opposite the bus station and fortunately next to a 7-11 store because oddly, they didn’t sell coffee so we got one from 7-11. The ride in the bus to the start point was scenic, setting the expectations for the day ahead.
Once you get the public bus from the Hualien bus station which is just outside the train station up to the start of Taroko Gorge, you then transfer on to the shuttle bus which is in fact a normal large public bus that takes you up past all of the stops and attractions to Tianxiang which is a small township that also has beautiful views and temples. We chose to go up to the end destination and work our way back down through the gorge rather than getting off at the first stop and working our way up to Tianxiang. I don’t think it really matters which way you approach it except to say in the busy season it would make sense to go to where fewer people are getting off the bus.
The Taroko Gorge visitor centre is large and comprehensive and as an educator, I would be happy to take students through the centre that has classrooms, exhibits and more to fill a few hours even before you enter the national park.
There are temples, hikes and great vistas at Tianxiang as you can see from the following album.
it’s a good idea to take water with you along with the Taiwanese equivalent of muesli bars. I can say that Hualien sells fantastic handmade mochi consisting of a soft and chewy glutinous rice dough wrapped around a flavorful filling.
I think the photographs will speak for themselves and are complemented by the factual content contained in the AI supplied words below, but I did want to share 2 things with you.
Our Favourite Place?
Firstly, while everything was incredibly beautiful along the walk and bus ride it was the Tunnel of 9 turns that was the visual highlight for us. It left us standing in awe of the power of nature and what water can do to shape marble which in turn had initially been shaped by earthquakes. Because of the turns blocking the next vista, you were constantly surprised and amazed by what was around the next corner.
Other favourite places
The suspension bridge, the Swallow Mouth cave so many places had us taking photographs of the marble and river natural vistas.
A little Adventure
The next event I wanted to share was what happened when we decided to catch the bus back down to the transfer station at the start of the gorge. The buses travel every half hour or so and we had completed a full day of walking on trails in the gorge. So we timed it to catch the next-to-last bus down to the transfer station. We waited with a young couple who as it turned out were not a couple but travellers, one from Australia and one from Israel. Both were teachers who were on their own personal adventures in Taiwan. We all struck up a conversation and Helen and I delighted in listening to their stories.
The delight changed after the bus came down the hill and stopped at our bus stop only to tell us that the bus was so full that he could not take any more passengers. the driver was wonderful and friendly as almost everyone in Taiwan is, but there was no way that we would have been able to get on that bus.
Worried that we may miss the last transfer bus at the bottom of the gorge we decided to walk. With the benefit of GPS on our phones we knew that we would make it in time but as you can see from the map it was going to be a considerable walk. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The scenery continued to be stunning and not being trapped on a bus with glass windows we were able to stop and photograph as we desired. Not to mention the continued wonderful conversations that we had while walking through this stunning part of Taiwan. Just before we were about to arrive at the destination, a bus turned up and while not at a bus stop kindly stopped to collect us and drive us the last kilometre to the transfer station.
We then transferred to the bus that took us to the local train station whereupon we caught the train for just one stop back into Hualien. we farewelled our newly met friends as they departed on their continuing adventure and we returned to our hotel room and prepared for the night markets of Dong Damen.
In summary for anyone who is concerned that they may not be able to use trains and buses to get to Taroko Gorge, it is easy and fun. Even when a little adversity pops up, a solution pops up to help. Certainly one of our most memorable days in Taiwan and this was just at the start of our journey.
My next post is about Hualien, the quiet gateway town to Taroko Gorge that has its own charm and locations to visit.
A bit about the use of AI by me in blog posts
I have started using AI in my blog posts. Not for images I hasten to add. Although applying “dehaze” to a photo is in fact applying AI to a photo, so I’ll leave that one up to you to determine what level of manipulation is acceptable.
All photographs embedded in this post were taken by Helen and I. Content in the links below is not my content and links or content may be outdated. I include them because others, including official supporting websites, have travelled these routes and their content is more likely to add value than to cause harm. Can I also suggest to other travellers who don’t make a living out of blogging (we certainly don’t) that using AI to recap your journey by getting it to write a post about your destination will help you remember the name of the temple and township where you got off the bus to start the Taroko Gorge adventure (Tianxiang) or the name of the large suspension bridge (Buluowan) that crosses the river (liwu) which snakes its way through the gorge. All names in brackets I had forgotten and would have had to manually scratch my way through google maps. So while the words below are not my own, they save me time in validating that the words above are not only mine but have details validated by the content produced below.
The content below was sourced from AI (and no apologies)
A Day Trip to Taroko Gorge: From Taipei to Hualien and Beyond
Taroko Gorge, located on the east coast of Taiwan, is a stunning 18 km long canyon known for its pristine blue Liwu River, extreme nature, and beautiful scenic hiking trails18.
Getting to Hualien from Taipei
The journey begins in Taipei. The most straightforward way to travel between Taipei and Hualien is by train8. Head to Taipei Main Station and purchase a ticket to Hualien. The journey takes around 2-3 hours, depending on the type of train you choose (express or regular)8. For the fastest route, you’ll want to book a seat on the Taroko Express train or the Puyuma Limited Express train8.
From Hualien to Taroko Gorge
Once you arrive in Hualien, the adventure to Taroko Gorge begins. The easiest way to get to Taroko Gorge from Hualien is by public bus15. Buses depart from the orange bus station next to the train station on the left side as you walk out of the main front exit5. The earliest bus from Hualien leaves at 7:00, and the last one departs from Tianxiang at 17:005.
Key Attractions in Taroko Gorge
Now, let’s explore the key attractions along the Taroko Gorge route that do not require a special permit:
The Baiyang Trail is a must-visit. It’s a relatively easy hike that leads you through tunnels and across bridges, offering stunning views of the waterfalls and the river below13.
Tunnel of Nine Turns Trail
The Tunnel of Nine Turns Trail is another highlight. This trail offers some of the most dramatic landscapes in the park, with the Liwu River cutting deep into the marble and forming several tight bends16.
Swallow Grotto (Yanzikou) Trail
The Swallow Grotto Trail is a relatively easy trail that follows the old Central Cross-Island Highway. It offers stunning views of the Liwu River below, the cliff faces, and the swallows that nest in the small holes in the cliff18.
The Shakadang Trail, also known as the “Mysterious Valley Trail”, is another must-see. This trail follows the Shakadang River and offers beautiful views of the crystal-clear river and the impressive rock formations18.
A day trip to Taroko Gorge from Taipei is a journey filled with breathtaking natural beauty. Whether you’re an avid hiker or just a nature lover, Taroko Gorge has something to offer everyone. So, pack your bags, tie your shoelaces, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!
Please note that while these trails do not require a special permit, it’s always a good idea to check the official Taroko National Park website for the latest information on trail conditions and closures17. Happy travels!
- 1. 7 BEST Things to Do in Taroko Gorge, Taiwan in 2024 – BucketListly Blog
- 2. Getting from Taipei to Hualien: 5 Easy Ways to Travel
- 3. How to Do a Day Trip to Taroko National Park from Hualien by Bus!
- 4. Taroko – Hualien Adventures
- 5. Baiyang Trail
- 6. Tunnel of Nine Turns Trail
- 7. Taroko gorge Taiwan: when to go, how to get there, and where to stay
- 8. Taroko National Park World Wide Web-English Version-Bus Timetable
- 9. Hualien City to Taroko National Park – Rome2rio
- 10. Hualien City to Taroko National Park – Rome2rio
- 11. Hualien Station to Taroko National Park – Rome2rio
- 12. Taiwan Railway Corporation,Ltd. – 交通部臺灣鐵路管理局
- 13. Travel from Taipei to Hualien – Taiwanese Secrets Travel Guide
- 14. Taipei to Hualien Transportation Guide | Island Life Taiwan
- 15. Taipei Main Station to Hualien Station – 4 ways to travel via train …
- 16. https://bing.com/search?q=key+attractions+in+Taroko+Gorge+without+special+permit
- 17. Zhuilu Old Trail
- 18. Lushui Trail
- 19. How to Visit Taroko National Park — Taroko Gorge Itinerary
- 20. https://www.taroko.gov.tw/en/Event/FAQ
- 21. http://www.hualienbus.com.tw/bus/userfiles/files/149999051787548.pdf
Eternal Spring Shrine
The large monastery in Taroko Gorge is known as the Eternal Spring Shrine345. It was built to commemorate the 226 workers who lost their lives during the construction of the Central Cross-Island Highway345. The shrine is perched on a hill and is one of the most famous spots in Taroko Gorge5. It offers a picturesque view with a waterfall flowing from it4.
- Taroko Gorge: Tour Taiwan’s marble mountains | CNN
- Day Trip to Taroko Gorge Itinerary + Visiting Information
- Taroko gorge Taiwan: when to go, how to get there, and where to stay
- A 2024 Guide to Taroko Gorge and Taroko National Park
- Taroko Gorge Taiwan: The Taroko National Park In Hualien
The History of Taroko Gorge
Taroko Gorge, also known as “The Marble Gorge,” is a marble-walled canyon located on Taiwan’s east coast5. The gorge was formed by tectonic forces and then carved by the Liwu River5. Taiwanese jade found in the canyon walls is used to make crafts5.
The area has been mined for both marble and jade, and was exploited for its forest resources early in the 20th century4.
The park was originally established as the Tsugitaka-Taroko National Park by the Governor-General of Taiwan on 12 December 1937 when Taiwan was part of the Empire of Japan13. After the Empire of Japan’s defeat in World War II, the Republic of China took over Taiwan1. The ROC government subsequently abolished the park on 15 August 19451. It was not until 28 November 1986 that the park was reestablished1.
The name “Taroko” derives from the Truku tribe, an indigenous group formally recognized by the Taiwanese government as of 20041. The Truku tribe originally resided in the upper region of the Zhuoshi river before migrating eastward towards Hualien County through Mt. Qilai to the Liwu River1. The Truku tribe continues to reside in Hualien County, including within the designated National Park area1.
Today, Taroko Gorge is the country’s premier scenic attraction, along with Alishan and Sun Moon Lake2. It is featured on the list of best places to visit in Taiwan and it is an essential stop on any Taiwan itinerary2.