Travelling around Taroko National Park 太魯閣 (Part 2)
Updated 4 November 2015
Day 2: Hualien (Taroko National Park 太魯閣)
It’s our day 2 on the grounds of Taiwan! Though I’ve been to Taroko Gorge some years back, it’s never boring to view the beautiful scenery again. Taroko National Park (Chinese: 太魯閣國家公園) is one of the eight national parks in Taiwan and named after the Taroko Gorge, the landmark gorge of the park.
From Hualien / Taipei to and around Taroko National Park
If you are travelling from Hualien to Taroko National Park, read this link for more info.
If you are travelling from Taipei to Taroko National Park, read this link for more info.
For more information about the tourist shuttle bus around Taroko National Park, read Travelling around Taroko National Park 太魯閣 (Part 1).
▲ FIRST STOP: SHAKADANG TRAIL 砂卡噹步道▲
Because we were taking the tourist shuttle bus, we needed to be strategic! Based on what a local told us, we can skip the Taroko Archway/HQ & Visitor Centre, which needed only 5 minutes to visit (and we can view the gorge as the bus passed though), while the shuttle bus will only come again in about 50 minutes time. So we skipped and went to Shakadang Trail, famous for its crystal-clear turquoise water strewn with imposing marble boulders.
The trail is about 1 hour to and fro – suitable for all ages and definitely worth a visit! We saw many people U-turning along the way though. So, what’s at the “dead end” of this trail? Walk and find out for yourself! :)
ZOOM IN X 2
▲MISSED STOP: Buiowan/Buluowan 布洛灣▲
We had wanted to visit Buiowan/Buluowan – 布洛灣 on our return to Hualien, but realised that the bus doesn’t stop HERE on our way back. :( Do visit this place before Yanzikou, especially during Spring, for Lily blooms during the months of April and May.
▲SECOND STOP::YANZIKOU 燕子口▲
We saw many people wearing hard hats and realized park authorities provide them free of charge. But since we didn’t visit the visitor centre, we decided to just brave through the trail with no hard hats – unscathed at the end. Phew!
At Swallow Grotto (燕子口), we walked through tunnels and looked down to see gushing waters at the narrowest portion of Taroko Gorge, where the river is most rapid.
#NOFILTER NATURE BEAUTY
DELICACY: BIRDS’ NEST
I looked at the potholes on the cliffs and spotted some birds and nests in the holes – you just got to look carefully! – swifts and swallows often nest here, giving the place its name.
MAN IN BLACK
LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
I wanted to walk it but it’s only opened to registered hikers.
What’s that up there?
▲ THIRD STOP:: TIANXIANG, 天祥風景區 (LUNCH) ▲
Largest recreational area in Taroko and most visitors break to have a meal or stay overnight here. We had our lunch here. But note that the menu is all in Chinese, and the restaurant staff were all super busy. If you can’t read Chinese, you have to thicken your face and just ask.
After we had our lunch, we only had time to rest and eat an ice cream at this tourist shop (which btw looked good but didn’t taste delicious) before our shuttle bus came. Moreover, our after-lunch fatigue made us lazy to climb up to Wentianxiang Park (文天祥公園), where one can find Japanese shrines. Anyway, Tianxiang is actually famous for its Xiangde Temple (祥德寺) with a giant Buddha statute and seven-story Tianfeng Pagoda (天峰塔). There are also small churches around.
I saw pictures taken at this place and they are awesome. So if you have time, do hang out around here. If not, you will only have pictures of your lunch to show…like me! :P
▲ FOURTH STOP: LU SHUI TRAIL – 綠水步道▲
It’s a stop near to Tianxiang.
There’s a building which houses this overview of Taroko National Park:
Then we crossed the road and found a normal looking trail. We decided to just walk it, since we still had a long wait till the next bus.
THINGS GETTING INTERESTING
PITCH DARKNESS DARE
We were warned by a warning before we walked through the tunnel. Pitch darkness for a few seconds as we walked through. And it’s chilling inside too! Thank God for my phone’s handy assistive light.
WE MADE IT THROUGH THE DARK!
TRAIL LEADING TO AWESOME VIEWS
LIFE’S A WAITING GAME.
▲ FIFTH STOP: CHANGCHUN (ETERNAL SPRING) SHRINE, 長春祠 ▲
We were super tired by this time – from the exercising and hot sun. But we saw many tourists at this stop, and so decided to drop off and find out what’s happening.
Verdict: Don’t visit this place unless you are into shrines. Crowded with Mainland Chinese tourists – probably a popular stop because the place has ample toilets and a cafe, and there’s not much walking involved.
▲ BACK TO HUALIEN CITY! ▲
Travels During July 2014
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