Along the scenic drive through Taroko Gorge National Park, there were many random sights worth noting.  What I noticed was that it wasn’t just the main trails of the park that made the trip very memorable, it was also a combination of these smaller sites we saw along the way.             

As we passed by magnificent cliffs, and amazing valleys, there were numerous waterfalls that we saw flowing freely through the mountain valleys.  Many of these waterfalls come from natural reservoirs that collect rain water on the mountain peaks.  It was very stunning to see the steady stream of clear water falling dramatically from the mountain top.

One of the many waterfalls flowing through the mountain valleys.

After we passed by the Swallow Grotto Trail there was an interesting red metal bridge that we drove past.  The story with this red metal bridge is that beside it was a huge natural rock formation that is shaped like a frog.  And to make it even more peculiar, constructed on top of this frog like rock formation, was a pavillion, and this made it look like this “frog” was wearing a crown.   So it wasn’t just a rock formation that looked like a frog, instead it looked like a frog prince!

Picture of my wife and I right before the red metal bridge.

Picture of the red metal bridge with a lion guarding the entrance.

 Action shot!

Posing beside the lion.  Can you spot the frog prince in this picture?

Can you see the frog prince now?

Another interesting site that we got to experience was an old suspension bridge.  This suspension bridge will lead you to the entrance of a permit only hiking trail.  I can see why a permit was needed on this particular trail, because once you pass this suspension bridge you pretty much venture into thick forest.  This is where the wilderness begins.  Obviously I was not going to venture further than the end of the suspension bridge (no permit at the time, maybe next time when I’m more prepared), but it was still a cool suspension bridge from where I took some amazing photos.

A picture with a pavillion before we entered to the suspension bridge.

Right at the entrace of the suspension bridge.  Ready to enter!

 And here we go!

View of the suspension bridge.  Pretty cool eh?

Scenic view #1 taken from the suspension bridge.

Scenic view #2 taken from the suspension bridge.

Scenic view #3 taken from the suspension bridge.

At the other side of the suspension bridge where the permit only trail starts.  Wonder what creatures are lurking behind the bushes?

Finally the last interesting sight we came across was the final stop of our journey through Taroko Gorge.  The final stop was a place like a small community, where there was a hotel, some restaurants, and restrooms.  There was also a very beautiful buddhist monastery built on the face of the valley.  By chance, it turned out that the buddhist temple that I regularily go to in Singapore and Malaysia is affiliated with this buddhist monastery at Taroko Gorge.  However we reached there quite late, and the monastery just closed (it closes at 5:30pm, and we reached around 6:00pm).  I guess next time I’ll visit earlier!  Either way we strolled around the final stop, took some pictures, enjoyed the sunset, and had our dinner before driving back to Hualien City.  So this is it, my journey through Taroko Gorge.  I hope you found it as magnificent as I found it to be!

Picture of suspension bridge leading to the buddhist monastery.  Notice the pagoda in the background.

Me standing at the main entrance to the buddhist monastery.

Some scenic pics of our final stop.

More scenic pictures.  The building is the hotel located there.  It supposedly has a rooftop pool, it must be pretty awesome to be swimming there.

Sunset fast approaching…

So how did you like this photo blog tour of Taroko Gorge National Park near Hualien, Taiwan?  Please share your comments below!  Cheers!

Alec Chan

Alec Chan is an intrepid traveler, travel writer, author, speaker, serial entrepreneur and self professed Asia travel ambassador. Traveling all around Asia since 2003, and still traveling, Alec is an accomplished and passionate traveler seeking to bridge the cultural gaps in Asia. Through his unique perspective as a Canadian born Chinese, Alec shares his special insights on Asia to help others around the world to have a better understanding on Asian culture so that they can have a more meaningful, fun, and stress free trip to Asia. Alec has written numerous travel guides on several destinations in Asia and is the editor in chief of AlecTravelGuide.com

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14 Responses to Magnificent Taroko Gorge, Part 4 – Random Sights

  1. iamthewitch says:

    Nice coverage about Taroko Gorge! Planning to go to Taiwan next year.. will definitely visit this place too! :)

  2. Mike says:

    awesome site u have here. Definitely would love to visit Taiwan sometime. Have you buy xbox 360 kinect before? I heard there was some awesome tech fair in Taiwan, so not sure if they were selling it there.

  3. Joanne says:

    Hi Alec

    Thank you for sharing the information with us.

    Rgds,Joanne

    • Alec says:

      Hi Joanne,

      Hope you like all the great information here…Thanks for visiting alectravelguide.com !! Do come back for regular updates, as there are still more great stuff to come!

      Cheers!

      Alec

  4. Ivy says:

    Hi Alec,
    Great pics. When was it that you visited Taroko Gorge?
    Am planning to visit during the second half of December.
    My concerm is would places like the beach, gorge, cliffs be off limits during winter and would it still be an area of scenic beauty.

    • Alec says:

      HI Ivy;

      Taroko Gorge is special year round, the scenery changes with the season. Winter time in Dec should be about 10 degrees C or so, (if of course you plan on hiking up the mountains ,then it will get colder).

      I went in the beginning of October. Actually even in October certain trails were closed, it all depends on how severe the weather was. When I went in October there was a lot of rain, which contributed to falling rocks which closed some of the paths. However I found that many of the standard trails, such as Shakadang Trail, and the eternal spring shrine should be open most of the time as they were really easy trails to walk through.

      It is best to refer to the official Taroko Gorge website as they will tell you in real time what paths are closed. You should also call up the park office for confirmation, this is what I did to ensure there were no sudden surprises…since the weather is sometimes unpredictable. The website is found below:
      http://www.taroko.gov.tw/English/?mm=0&sm=0&page=3#up

      Hope this helps! Cheers – Alec

  5. Ivy says:

    Alec, thanks for your feedback.

  6. Mary says:

    Hi Alec,
    TQ for your updates of Taiwan. Comes in very handy for people like me who does not know how to read chinese. Moreover I can’t even find any travel book on Taiwan in English in Malaysian bookshops-pathetic right? I am going to backpack in Taiwan this coming November.With regards to Taroko Gorge, did you hire your own driver or did you join a local tour? If it’s your own driver how much would it cost? And can the Shakadang Trail , and all the interesting sites be covered in one day? Hope to get some feedback from you as i am in the midst of planning my itinerary.

    • Alec says:

      HI Mary;
      Thanks for your comment, and glad you are enjoying my updates on Taiwan. Totally can’t believe it that they don’t have any Taiwan travel books in English in the Malaysian bookshops!

      Anyways I hope this helps you out then, here’s my answer to your questions:

      When I went to Taroko Gorge, I hired my own driver. The benefits of your own driver is that the driver will give you more flexibility on your schedule, rather than be restricted to the schedules of a local tour. Also if you hire a good driver, they will give you some very personal insights to Taroko Gorge that a local tour bus may not provide.

      The driver I hired goes by the name of “Tiffany”. I thought she was quite alright, she spoke English and did provide some real cool insights to the place.
      With her, she charged for two people 2200 Taiwan dollars at the time we booked, which is about 90 Singapore dollars…

      This was for the following places (she will pick us up directly from the Hualien train station and drop us off at the hotel at the end (the entire tour was about 6 hours – but thats because I was stupid enough to arrive late in Hualien – wasn’t able to get the good train timings to Hualien):

      Hualien train station or city hotels → (water cliff) → Shaka Dang Trail → Changchun Shrine → Taroko arch → → Tunnel of Nine Turns Trail Swallow trail (trail closed in) → bridge → Yuewang Ting bridge → Mother Day Cheung → return trip, Hualien City, Hualien train station or the end of

      Her contacts is:
      email – tiffany_935lk@yahoo.com.tw
      phone – +886 912 522118
      need to book in advance with her…she’s quite popular with the westerners (I guess because she speaks abit of English)

      The major trails can be covered in one day for most people. However it depends on how long you want to spend on each trail, if you decide to hike around each trail longer, then you will need more time.

      For example the Shakadang Trail itself is already about a 5km walk one way (its 5km one direction, so a full return trip on that trail will be 10km!), so if you walk the entire thing you may need more time. When I went I chose to just walk like 1/3 of it then just turned back and go on to the next trail…so you will need to plan for that.

      hope this helps you Mary! =)

      Alec

  7. Mary says:

    Hi Alec,
    I am so so grateful for your valuable info. Yes I would probably contact Tiffany and see whether we could work out a deal . Thanx!

  8. ken says:

    hihi alec, Im heading to taroko in Oct 2012, im looking to travel around taroko with a rented scooter, just to check with you if the road in taroko pretty straight forward with clear signages to the different trails? do we have to abandon the scooter by the road if we want to venture into the trails? Thanks! anyway did u guys visit on the weekdays? it looks pretty empty. thanks thanks!

    • Alec says:

      HI Ken;

      If you are going to scooter yourself, one word of caution, be extra extra careful there. The roads are super curvy, very narrow, and there are lots of cars and BUSES sharing that same small road. Also some of the roads thru Taroko cut thru the cliff’s edge, and when it rains it gets really slippery. One last thing too, beware of the falling rocks above! No Joke on this, when I went last time, I hired a driver and as we were driving out of the park, there was a huge BOULDER that fell out of no where from the top. Literally if we were a few minutes earlier, the car probably would have been totalled. The place gets dark fast, so it is best to exit the park when there is still day light, once the night time comes along (sunset happens around 5pm), its pitch black there!

      Usually on the major trails (such as the ones that I posted on my blog), there will be a parking lot nearby.

      I visited on a weekday…it looked empty but it really was not..there are lots of people there. I just purposely took the pictures where there were no people, so it will not ruin my “scenic” pics. haha

      Hope this helps you out so you know what the risks are involved.

      Happy traveling!

      Alec

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