Monday, June 18, 2012

Taroko Gorge


 Considered one of Asia's 7 wonders; Taroko Gorge is something to see. Its a day trip from Taipei, and when Kathleen and her brother were here, we decided to check it out.  

It can be a 2 - 3 hour train ride depending on what train you take.  If you opt for the express train, I recommend buying your ticket in advance, even if its on a weekday.  

I also recommend Taroko Gorge via scooter.  We rented scooters for 400 NT ($12.50) for the day, and could not have asked for a better way to experience/view the gorge.   Kathleen, Timmy, and I took the train from Taipei Main station to Hsincheng Station, walked out, and rented our mighty steeds.  To rent a scooter, you need your driver's license and passport.  Kathleen was sans license, so she rode around with Timmy for the day.  

We drove alone down the road leading to the mouth of Taroko National Park.  Two bad-ass, Transformer-like scooters cutting though the soft summer rain.  The gorge and green mountains hugging us on either side.  The tallest peaks in taiwan, reaching up to 3,400 meters, holding us closely, and keeping us deliriously hot and sticky.  As the day grew on,  the clouds began to fall, cooling us off.  We were driving through clouds, our sound track: the sounds of nature buzzing, chirping, and growling around us.  

The whole day was spent exploring.  Pulling over and getting off our bikes in any direction we pleased. Through the marble-walled gorge, through the tunnel of nine turns, along the Shakadang River, and past the Eternal Spring Shrine.  It was breathtaking.  


I felt like I was on Pandora in Avatar, which is appropriate since James Cameron was inspired by a similar mountain formation in the Zhangjiajie, Hunan province in China.  Later, the peak was renamed the Avatar Halleluja Mountain after the film. 


Most of the hiking trails require permits, which we were unaware of.  After this adventure, I plan on returning with a hiking permit in hand, buying a scooter in Taipei, and running the Taroko Gorge Marathon September 15th.  It's the only marathon through a gorge in the entire world!


This lovely gentleman helped us figure out how to buy our train tickets back to Taipei.  People are so nice here.  
Excited to get on our scooters!

View while eating some weird Taiwanese lunch. 


The Liwu River water cuts through the center of the gorge,  creating valleys and ravines through the milky, marble rockface. 


Muddy part of Shakadang River

There were lots of cool, cave-like tunnels to scoot through.


Beautiful, Taiwanese Mountains.

Toad Rock.... The crown on the top is an orchid garden on his head.

Pristine, old church on our hike.  There were many churches, one of the most famous hostels around is called the Catholic Church hostel.   I hear its not too comfortable though, my friend's pillow was made of rice. 

Temple and Statue

This was the biggest snail I have ever seen! 



Leen and Timmy... This doesn't even give the gorge justice.  It is so tall.


Map of the Gorge

Eternal Springs Shrine

7 comments:

  1. breathtaking and nice post helen!! so how tall is 3200 meters in feet ?? haha

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  2. inceredible pictures. it is so beautiful there!!!

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  3. Glory glory hallelujah

    Maymay

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  4. Glory glory hallelujah
    You are missed

    Maymay

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  5. Hi,

    May I know from where you rent the scooter? Do you have a motorcycle license in your home country or you just rented with a car license?

    Thanks
    Dev

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  6. thanks for the tips and information..i really appreciate it.. scooter aankopen

    ReplyDelete