Saturday, May 17, 2014

Exploring Taroko Gorge

Any trip to Taiwan would be incomplete without experiencing Taroko Gorge, a beautiful 92,000 hectare ecosystem full of high mountains, stunning gorges, immense water falls and the blue-green Liwu River. The national park is located in eastern Taiwan and was founded to preserve and protect land that was being destroyed by Taiwan's booming industrial economic success in the 1980s. Today, the park offers great day hikes through several different climate zones, natural hot springs + spas and many beautiful temples to explore. 

When hiking, do be aware that Taroko is home to many native animals including black bears and rock monkeys. Really though, you need to be more careful about the smaller critters like the giant hornets and snakes. Taiwan is [unfortunately] home to so.many kinds of snakes, many of which are venomous like the Hundred Pacer Chinese Moccasin [comforting name, right... get it, you'll be dead in 100 paces], so it is important to note caution signs before trails. 

[Side Note + Confession: before moving to Taiwan I obsessively researched the deadly snakes of Taiwan and then bought $200 "snake boots" from REI, which really tickles anyone who finds out. But I can hike the trails of Taroko much more confidently than those who try in flip flops!]

Despite the snakes, Taroko is a must see for anyone visiting Taiwan! 

 


 











Travel Tips

  • If you go during typhoon season [generally May-September], do be aware of any impending storm as the park will close
  • The park will also close after larger earthquakes for safety checks
  • Make Hualien your home base
  • Set aside more than one day to explore the gorge [it's huge]
  • You can see the park via bus, taxi, scooter or your own two feet and I would recommend the last two
  • Taiwan in the spring & summer & early-mid fall is HOT and HUMID. Dress lightly and bring lots of H20 & sunscreen
  • Read all of the caution signs posted before trails


This post is part of the Sunday Traveler link up. For more travel writing, check out Frank About Croatia

20 comments

  1. Wow, there's so much more to Taiwan than I had thought!

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    1. I am guilty of this too. Sometimes I curse the island for being one huge city and then I remember there are beautiful places like this too.

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  2. I remember the colours of the river when I visited Taroko Gorge, but not much else, I was 11 years old and it's been more than 15 years! Would love to return to Taiwan for a repeat visit, hopefully next year. Great post!

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    1. We went right after a typhoon so the water was murky and brown. There were some parts that were that brilliant green-blue though! So pretty!

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  3. What an amazing place... Definitely worth a visit, snakes or no snakes! :)

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  4. Taiwan is beautiful, there's more natural beauty than what people think of from all the urban centers that are typically portrayed, thanks for showing us this amazing place. I hope you can link up your wonderful post with us also for Travel Photo Mondays.

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    1. Yes, I find a lot of people have misconceptions about this. The whole entire eastern side of the island is so beautiful and natural. The towns are small in comparison to the mountains and cliffs and ocean.

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  5. Wow those bridges that seem like they are in the sky. Amazing!

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    1. Confession: I could not muster up the nerve to walk across some of them for precisely that reason.

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  6. Some beautiful sights! I am freaked out but the snakes already so I dont know if I would get much enjoyment from afar.

    Sunset Walks on Portsea Island

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    1. Trust me, the signs posted in front of each trail did nothing for my nerves! I was literally on the look out the entire time :)

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  7. Wow Taiwan is so beautiful! That is a little bit scary about the whole snake thing...I think I'd end up buying snake boots just like you did after researching it! But I would definitely go and see everything, I would just watch my step :)

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    1. Hahaha! I love my snake boots. They bring my mind comfort, which is what I ultimately need them for. All of my friends pretty much think I am ridiculous. I cannot say I can argue with them.

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  8. What a place. I have never been, but I think I'd like to head there one day it looks so different than I had expected. Big thanks for linking up with us for #SundayTraveler

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    1. Taiwan holds a lot of surprises for the adventurous traveler!

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  9. I had a terrible snake experience in Africa. Cannot stand snakes since then. So definitely with you on those snake boots. Otherwise, Taroko really looks pretty. Nice photos!

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    1. I don't want to ask but I am so curious about your "snake experience." It probably puts mine to shame. I had a two foot, really skinny rainbow snake slither past my foot in Railay, Thailand and just about died from the terror.

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  10. I think I probably would have gotten those $200 boots just for peace of mind even if everyone laughed at me. I don't think I want to meet the wrong end of that Hundred Pacer snake. The gorge is gorgeous though :)

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    1. I don't mind the laughs too much. I know I am ridiculous. But those boots sure did some in handy when my husband was out of town and I found a cockroach in my bathroom. It didn't stand a chance against my super mighty snake boots!

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