Exploring Taroko Gorge

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The Mission: Marvel the marble at Taroko Gorge, Taiwan.

The Prep: 
This was my first tour I’ve booked through Viator. The $149 USD tour included pick-up, flight to Hualien, lunch, and train ride return to Taipei.

The Gear:
Walking shoes are a must, but hiking boots were not necessary.
Shades
Rain jacket for another rainy day!

The Execution:
The adventure began with an excruciating 6am pick up time. The driver took me directly to the airport where I met up with the others who would join the tour. The driver left us with our tickets and directions and we hopped on a quick flight to Hualien. When we arrived at Hualien, our tour guide was waiting to take our group to Taroko Gorge.

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The trip wasn’t quite what I expected. The van took us through the park, stopping occasionally to take in the sites  or have a coffee break with each stop being somewhere between 10 and 30 minutes long. I was hoping to explore more trails so a fellow passenger and I decided to take make the most of each stop and hike the trails in the area in the time allotted; which, on occasion, included sprinting back to the van so we didn’t get left behind!

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We stopped for lunch at a hotel in the park where we had the opportunity to hike up to a temple before we ate. After lunch, we had an extended stop at the Eternal Spring Shrine. My new friend and I decided to hike the 2.2km including the “sky ladder” stairs up to the Bell Tower.  From the top of the Bell Tower, we had an exclusive view of the canyon and falls below. We didn’t have much time so we sprinted down the steps, through the tunnels and back to the van before we got left behind. We left the park and the day ended with a stop at the beach.  The day was miserably cold and windy so we didn’t stay long. We all hopped back into the van and headed to the train station back to Taipei where we met our original driver to get dropped at our hotels.

The Highlights: 

  • Level of difficulty: casual
  • Although the park is beautiful, I don’t think the tour is worth the price tag.
  • The full day tour takes around 13 hours so be prepared for a long day.
  • If you want to see a lot of the park without doing a lot of walking this tour is for you. If you want to do more hiking, speak to your guide as I did and get recommendations to go off the beaten path and see more of the park.

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