Taroko became the center of my visit in Taiwan May last year. It’s my second time to Taiwan. Taiwan now has become one of my favourite destination. It offers a lot of nature beauty, delicious delicacy, many night market to accompany your night time as well friendliness of the people. Cost of travelling in Taiwan is also relatively affordable.
Taroko itself is not coming from Japanese’ language as many of the people might think of. The origin name of Taroko is coming from the name of the tribe originally stay in the area long time back ago. Taroko George nowadays become one of the most popular and visited area in Taiwan by tourist along with Taipei and Sun moon lake.
How To Get There ?
The nearest international airport to Taroko is Taipei’s Chiang Kai Sek International Airport. From the CKS international airport, you can take express bus which takes you for about one hour to Taipei main station with cost NTD 125 And then from Taipei main station, you can then take train to Hua Lien. Hualien, which become basis for tourist visiting Taroko has also domestic airport in the city. From Taipei Main station to Hua Lien station or Xin Cheng (one station before Hua Lien station) will takes you about 2-3 hours using Tze Ch Express and cost about NTD 440. Most of people visit Hualien for going to Taroko George.
For exploring Taroko George, suggest you to book one taxi to take you to places in Taroko George. Booking the taxi for 6-8 hours will cost you approximately NTD3000-3500. There is tourist bus to go around Taroko, however it won’t have sufficient time and flexibility to explore Taroko. For my visit to Taroko, I allocate myself one day to roam around Taroko only by staying one night in Hualien and starting my journey early in the morning.
During my stay in Hualien, I stay at King 13B&B, a spectacular Bed&breakfast with wonderful design of the room. I am glad to choose this B&B triple room, with one double and one single bed. They have two B&B, one is the King and the other is the Queen, where the cafe is also located as well having breakfast for guests staying in both location. Other room is located in Queen which only several blocks from king. The room is huge, having very nice design and huge TV set equipped with DVD as well TV cable as well. I really recommend for staying in this B&B for people visiting Hua Lien or Taroko George. The only negative point is during our stay, WIFI connection can not be connected well from our room. The staff offer internet cable for us however useless as my notebook do not have cable line port as well I need WIFI for my mobile as well my Ipad.
This B&B same as most of hotel and B&B in Taiwan also provide the breakfast for the guest starting 07.30 AM up to 10.30 AM. During that day, they served salad with mayonnaise, cherry tomato, cream soup as well delicious toast bread with creamy mix of chicken, potato, and cheese. For drink, they also provide coffee, tea and ice somboy tea.
King 13 B&B
Address : Jieyue St No. 13, Hualien City
Phone : +88638322666
Our driver as well guide, Tony Teng already arrive in our B&B, punctual, arrive before 8 AM our appointment time. I book the taxi for that day for NTD 3500 which include visit to Qing Shui cliff. For trip not include Qing Shui cliff, you will need to pay for NTD 3000 for maximum 4 persons in the taxi. I am glad to have him as my guide during that day as he explain and guide us a lot of our journey. The plus of Tony also is his patience as well English spoken ability, not all taxi driver in Taiwan will be able to speak English. Tony speak fluent English. I book his service by contacting him early before through email.
Then we visit the center of Taroko George. In the center, it offer a nice video overview of Taroko George with its scenary. It’s good for you to enjoy the video for about 22 minutes to have a bit knowledge of Taroko, and also allow yourself to enjoy spectacular photography part of the video as well the photos in the exhibition room which include the replicas of Taroko itself.
Afterward, the next stop is Shakadang trail. Shakadang trail has the same and only one entrance as well exit. Before you can walk in Shakadang trail, you will need to go down 4 level iron stairs to the George. Remember to bring water with you during your walking in the trail or perhaps some snacks if you wish to. For walking entire return route of Shakadang trail will takes about 4-5 hours, however most of the people won’t walk that long. The trail is easy to walk, no extra experience needed to stroll around the Shakadang trail.
Just enjoy your walk in the trail, and enjoy view offered by this trail. After walking several meters only, you already enjoy nice view of Shakadang area with blue and green clear water on the river. Precaution is always needed when walking in Taroko George area, as there could be incidents where stones might be falling down especially in some areas ie : nine turn tunnels.
In Shakadang area, you might also find poisonous small green snake beside thecliff wall, no need to worried too much, but just take care. I spend one hour to roam around the area include return to the entrance area as well.
From Shakadang trail, we went to Eternal spring shrine which give you wonderful view of shrine with water fall below. You can walk through the way to the shrine which include area of highway which then abandon due to typhoon factor hit in the area, include Virginia and Carmen hit on the same year 1957, Winnie on the next year and other typhoons afterward. In the area, there is also place to commemorate the workers who died for the constructions of the highway.
From eternal spring shrine, our driver take us to Yanzhikou (swallow grotto). We use safety helmet provided by national park which can be lent for free for people visiting Taroko George. I think it’s named as swallow grotto, one of the factor is due to swallow which can be easily observed in the area.
It’s lunch time for that day. Lunch in Taroko relatively affordable, for lunch with 3 types of vegetables, one fried fish, one pork sausage, one rice sausage, a plate of carrot cake and one serving of vegetarian noodle only cost NTD 245 for lunch of 3 persons.
Our journey continue to Yue Fei pavilion. Yue Fei is famous concubine of previous China emperor during dynasty time. In the area, you can also test your andrenaline by walking along the suspension bridge.
Then we pass by the nine turn tunnel. We did not stop here and walk in the area as this area is famous of stones falling from the cliff. There have been incidents happened before also in this area, so suggest you not to go out from your car. During my visit, I see car infront with ignorant tourist which keeps to walk to the tunnel even there have been restriction information for people not to pass by the area. Please mind your safety during your travel as I also believe you won’t also want something bad ruin your holiday trip in Taroko as well.
We then go to Liu Fang bridge. Interesting story of the area, the stone used in that place is previously used as bridge but then crashed after collision. In the area, there is wooden part area for enjoying the scenary including the scenario of cliff reassemble of lion face.
The last destination of that day is Buolowan. Buolowan is from Taroko’language which mean echo. There is two part of the area, one is the down area, where the center, cafe, toilets are there and also the upper area. The story of echos is originated from previous Taroko people staying in both down part and upper part of the area and they communicate using echos from upper to down and vice versa.
Allocate sometimes in this area, as well to enjoy the video in the center for free which give you the idea of Buolowan as well also areas in the Taroko George which you might has passed or visited by. They also have cafe on the second floor for you to enjoy your choice of coffee, tea, or your lunch perhaps in the area meanwhile enjoy the green area with its natural beauty.
We then back to Hua Lien to go to the station or if you want, you can also take the train from Xincheng (the nearest station to Taroko) even though the station in Hua lien is much larger and have more frequency compared to Xincheng as not all the train stop in Hua Lien will also stop in Xin Cheng.