Taroko Gorge
Taroko Gorge, Taiwan 太鲁阁
November 21st  2017
Driving in Taroko Gorge and Taiwan's East coast.

We woke up early to beautiful sunny weather and drove a short way to Taroko National Park’s visitor center. We picked up a map and planned out a couple of hikes we could do on the drive through the gorge.

photo of morning coffee
photo of morning latern
photo of breakfast theresa and ana
photo of visitor center
photo of car parked
photo of theresa and ana pointing at sign
photo of lion tunnel

Our first hike was the Shakadang Trail. The trailhead was only a ten minute drive from the visitor’s center, and when we arrived around eight there were almost no cars.

The sign at the beginning of the trail warned of a four to five hour hike but only eight kilometers of distance along flat, mostly-paved ‘trails’. It ended up taking us a leisurely two hours to complete the full loop. By the time we got back to the car around ten-thirty, the once-empty parking lot was full of tour busses and taxis.

photo of bridge
photo of theresa taking a photo of ana
photo of ana through fence
photo of ana and theresa beginning hike
photo of trail sign
photo of theresa and ana on trail
photo of theresa stretching
photo of theresa and ana under overhang
photo of theresa smiling
photo of vendor cooler trail
photo of vendor hut on trail
photo of group photo
photo of theresa and ana on cement trail
photo of theresa taking a photo
photo of danger cliff
photo of danger bugs
photo of danger
photo of ana on trail
photo of riverbed
photo of dam
photo of theresa and ana sign
photo of no entry
photo of theresa and ana bridge
photo of ana and dan

We continued on our way up the gorge to Swallow Grotto. We never ended up finding the trailhead, but we walked along the cliff-side road for an hour or so and stopped for a snack before driving the last twenty minutes to our hotel.

photo of car parked in tunnel
photo of old man in tunnel
photo of woman taking photo with ipad
photo of selfies
photo of yellow paint
photo of gas canisters
photo of truck on road
photo of rock shield

We’d booked a room at the Silk’s Place Taroko; it was a bit of a splurge at US$300 per night, but wasn’t so bad split three ways and definitely ended up being worth it.

The hotel was nestled about halfway up the gorge and was surrounded by mountains on all sides. The hotel’s biggest selling point by far was its rooftop amenities: a pool, several hot tubs, a fire pit - all with a stunning view of the surrounding mountains.

photo of ana in hotel lobby

We arrived at the hotel in the early afternoon. Theresa decided to have a massage and Ana and I set out in search of some scenic coastal driving.

We drove back out of the gorge the way we’d come and drove north along the coast. We’d read that there were some beaches and cliff-side views in the direction we were driving, but we had no particular destination in mind.

photo of bridge from car
photo of car parked first overlook
photo of ana first overlook

The roads in this relatively rural part of Taiwan were very well maintained, and driving along the winding, cliff-side roads in our quick, little hatchback was a blast. We stopped at a few overlooks, and made our way down to a completely empty beach just in time for the sunset. The day’s tourist traffic had subsided, so the drive back to the hotel was quick.

photo of ana cigarette and beer
photo of ana sitting on railing
photo of ana selling smoking
photo of fishing boat in ocean
photo of ana fixing hair first overlook
photo of dont go on beach
photo of climbing down to beach
photo of ana on the beach
photo of camera on beach
photo of ana and dan posing on beach
photo of ana and dan on beach
photo of ana in waves

When we arrived back at the hotel, we took a quick jump in the pool and changed for dinner. The hotel’s restaurant was actually quite good and reasonably-priced; we split a bottle of wine and five or six family-style dishes for around US$120. After dinner we changed back into our swimsuits and spent the evening hanging out in the pool and hot tub.

photo of dinner menu
photo of ana and theresa dinner
photo of theresa and ana pool
photo of ana and dan pool night
photo of ana hot tub night

The next morning we woke up relatively early, had breakfast at the hotel, and packed the car.

photo of ana in robe pool
photo of ana and theresa boobs
photo of cold water
photo of ana pool morning
photo of ana and theresa looking at mountains
photo of infinity pool mountains
photo of dan pool morning

We stopped at a beach on the way back to Hualien and took a few photos. We dropped the car off and hopped on the noon train back to Taipei.

photo of trail to beach
photo of ana and theresa on beach
photo of ana and theresa hugging in grass
photo of dan theresa and ana
photo of ana and theresa confused on beach
photo of dan ana theresa poses on beach
photo of dan looking down at beach
photo of dan pointing on beach
photo of dan standing on beach
photo of dan and theresa on beach
photo of dan and theresa beach
photo of ana and thereas piggy back
photo of dan standing in dune grass