Travelling from Hualien to and around Taroko National Park 太魯閣 (Part 1)

Updated 4 November 2015

Itinerary Overview ☼ Summer in Taiwan ☼
From Taoyuan Airport to Hualien City

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 to Taroko National Park

Cullinan Hotel to Hualien Train Station

We stayed the night before at Hualien City and set off early in the morning to Taroko Gorge via their tourist bus shuttle (任我行). Cullinan hotel staff helped us pre-booked a taxi to arrive early in the morning. It was about 5-10 minutes’ drive from the hotel to Hualien Railway Station.

Hualien Train Station to Taroko National Park

We took the tourist bus shuttle (任我行) from Hualien Railway Station to Taroko. It was about 35 to 45 minutes’ journey. So it was about an hour from our hotel to Taroko (not including the waiting time for the bus to leave Hualien Rail). The bus frequency is not high, but if you managed to reach the station and buy the tickets while the bus is about to leave, you wouldn’t have to wait for long!

Around Taroko in Tourist Bus Shuttle (任我行)

This shuttle bus allows tourists to hop on and off at different destinations in Taroko – budget option for traveller group of 2. But If you have more people, I recommend booking a taxi instead – you save the waiting and travelling time. With a group of four, taxi might even be cheaper than the combined bus fare. Research on the prevailing taxi prices before going – because there will be taxis touting at high prices.

Map of Taroko National Park

For more information and photos of specific scenic spots: Travelling around Taroko National Park 太魯閣 (Part 2). Great post for planning your itinerary around the national park.
Taroko National Park


  • NT250 for one day unlimited travel
  • NT400 for two days unlimited travel
  • You can also pay by cash or easycard every time you board. No change will be given. This might be a better and cheaper option if you want to spend time at each location and not rush around. Also, the bus frequency is not high, so you wouldn’t travel much with unlimited travel also.

Buying the Bus Tickets

  • Where to Buy: The booth to buy the tickets and board the bus is on the left when you exit Hualien Railway Station. You have to cross the road and walk a bit to reach the obscure ticketing booth.
  • Departure Timings: On weekday, the bus leaves Hualien Railway Station from 6:30am, 7:50am, 8:40am, 9:00am, 9:40am and for the holidays, from 8:30am. Call ahead to Hualien Bus Company (886-3-8338146) or Taroko National Park Headquarters staff at 03-8621100 ext 803 or 360 for confirmation. The timetable might change from time to time (more info).
  • When to Buy: You can get the tickets on the day of departure but I recommend buying them or checking the departure timings the day before. And if you missed a bus, you might have to wait quite a bit. Thank God, we reached slightly before the bus was leaving!

Taroko0 -

Important Notes

Note 1: There are limited bus timings. So you got to time yourself at each destination, or risk waiting for a long time.

Note 2: There are 2 buses you can take in the park: 班車 (small yellow bus) and 任我行 (big shuttle tour bus). But if you are heading back to Hualien City from the park, take the big shuttle tour bus. The route back has fewer stops compared to the small yellow buses.

Note 3: Jiuqudong, 九曲洞步道, Tunnel of Nine Turns has been closed for many years now! So you can strike the place off or check with the bus company. Otherwise, you can check the Daily Trail Condition and Daily Road Condition from Taroko National Park website before visiting.

Note 4: Wear good walking shoes!

Note 5: The stops mentioned in this page are all in the national park. But they are not located together. You need a transportation to travel from one stop to the other – taxi, bike, or tourist shuttle bus.

From Taipei to Taroko National Park

If you are travelling from Taipei to Taroko National Park, read this link for more info.

Around Taroko National Park

If you are planning your itinerary around the park, which scenic stop to alight at or not, you would not want to miss this post: Travelling around Taroko National Park 太魯閣 (Part 2). You’ll get more photos and information on the various scenic spots, such as Shakadang trail (砂卡噹步道), Yanzikou/Swallow’s Grotto (燕子口), etc.

Other useful links:
Shuttle Bus Timings
Daily Trail Condition
Daily Road Condition

Travels During July 2014

13 thoughts on “Travelling from Hualien to and around Taroko National Park 太魯閣 (Part 1)”

  • Thank you for sharing your experience, great blog and nice photos too.

    I am also planning to tour Taroko Gorge on the tourist shuttle bus. Just want to check with you when you hike the Swallow Grotto, did you have to double back to the start of the trail to get back onto the shuttle bus? Is there a bus stop at the end of the trail for the shuttle bus?

    • Thank you for your compliments! You have a nice travel website too. :)

      We backtracked to the start of the trail, to the bus stop we alighted. I remembered that it was because there was some closure of trails or roads at the end of the Swallow Grotto trail. Hence we weren’t able to get to the bus stop nearer to the end of the trail.

      Enjoy! :)

  • Hi, may I know how to get to this Tarok National Park from Taipei? And any idea how long it would take to get there and back? :) And also are all the stops you went in this page located together?

    • Hello Kim,

      I decided to do up a post based on your question! :)
      See this link:

      From Taipei to Taroko, it’s about 2 to 3 hours one way, depending on the train you take.
      From Cullinan Hotel (Hualien) to Taroko, it’s about 45 minutes one way.

      The stops mentioned in this page (now in part 2, just realised the post was super long!) are all in the national park. But they are not located together. You need a transportation to travel from one stop to the other – taxi, bike, or tourist shuttle bus.

      Have a great trip to Taroko!

  • May I also know how long it took you to travel to the National Park from Culling Hotel? :) Thanks in advance!

  • Hi Christina, I just wanna drop a few words to say thank you for such an informative post. This post has cleared all my doubts about trip planning for Taroko. (Fingers crossed that things still haven’t changed since your 2014 trip) :)

      • Hey Christina, I have a small question which I’d love to hear your advice on…
        Since I’m planning to take a day trip from Taipei to Hualien/Taroko, and based on your recommendation from this post as well as the Taroko transportation post, I’m mapping out my day trip as below:
        – Taipei – Xincheng (Taroko): Use combo bus/train transportation to get to Xincheng. From there I’ll travel down south from Taroko to other attraction along the way to Hualien (by tourist shuttle bus). Some of the places I have in mind: Shakadang Trail, Eternal Shrine, Qingshui cliff, Qixingtan beach.
        – Hualien – Taipei: Express train departing from Hualien

        Do you think this would be possible? Looking forward to hearing your advice! :)

        • It depends on what time you set off and if the traffic condition is smooth. Also there’s the bus waiting time to account for (it can be long if you don’t refer to the bus schedule and time your duration at each stop). I didn’t go to a few places you mentioned. Those I went to are mentioned in this post: :) I remember we had to skip a stop because of landslide at that area.

  • Hi Christina! I would like to ask, if I stop at Yanzikou by 班車 (small yellow bus) at 0745 and can I get 任我行 (big shuttle tour bus) at 0915? And go to other places as the picture mentioned above.

    • Hello Rose, I never tried the small yellow bus before. But yeap, I think you can pay as you board the big bus. We went to all the places with the shuttle bus. But make sure you know the bus timings and get to the pick up points on time.

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