Thursday, April 24, 2014

Taroko (Marble) Gorge in Hualien, Taiwan


Taroko Gorge National Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Taiwan. It is situated in Hualien County, on the mountainous eastern coast of Taiwan. Taroko Gorge was cut through the narrow and winding way through the Central Mountain Range and formed by the gorge of Liwu River. Taroko Gorge is also known as Marble Gorge due to its abundant supply of marble rocks over there. Visiting Taroko Gorge helps us to appreciate the rich eco-system changes and the process of erosion with the elevation.

If you are traveling from Taipei city to Hualien, you can take a local express train and arrive there after two hours of train journey. Otherwise, you can consider for a local flight from Songshan Airport in Taipei to Hualien Airport. The air flight journey takes about 30 minutes only. Once you reach at Hualien Airport, you have to hire a day of private taxi (cab) to take you around Taroko Gorge National Park and Hualien city.

We unfortunately, were unable to travel by ourselves as it would be very costly for a couple like us, thus, we joined one day local tour to Taroko Gorge with Edison Tours from Taipei city. Most of the day tour trips to Taroko Gorge begin from Taipei city. The tour representative will pick you from your hotel and take you to Songshan Airport while, another tour guide will pick you up from Hualien Airport upon your arrival. Throughout your day tour, the local tour guide will take you to Taroko Gorge National Park and Chi Hsing Beach in Hualien before sending you back to Taipei city by a local train. Most of Taiwanese tour guides are able to converse fluently in three languages (Japanese, Mandarin and English) during the tours so, you don't have to worry about language barrier.

These are several beautiful and popular sights to visit when you arrive at Taroko Gorge National Park:
  • Shakadang Trail
  • Tunnel of Nine Turns
  • Swallow Grotto
  • Eternal Spring Shrine
  • The Bridge of the Kind Mother (Cimu Bridge)
As you are heading to Tunnel of Nine Turns and Swallow Grotto, the road and tunnels become narrow and winding hence, the Taroko Gorge authorities permit cars and vans to use this road only. Even though we followed the tour by bus, we were lucky to have a wonderful tour guide who was able to make necessary arrangement for us to visit all these attraction sights. 

I feel it is a breathtaking view as I really appreciate the natural beauty of spectacular mountains and the process of erosion over the narrow marble canyons as we stroll along the trails at Taroko Gorge National Park. It was a pity that we couldn't get to Tunnel of Nine Turns as the trail was closed due to rockfall. 

Before you leave Taroko Gorge National Park, do drop by to visit the Eternal Spring Shrine. The Taroko monument at Eternal Spring Shrine was built to memorize those who have lost their lives in the construction of the central cross-island highway.



Welcome to Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
Welcome to Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

The starting point of Shakadang Trail at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
The starting point of Shakadang Trail at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

Walking along narrow, steep and uneven path of Shakadang Trail which takes you to the aborigine people of the Taroko Tribe at Taroko Groge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
Walking along narrow, steep and uneven path of Shakadang Trail which takes you to the aborigine people of the Taroko Tribe at Taroko Groge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

A famous red bridge with stunning view and rushing blue stream of Shakadang Trail at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
A famous red bridge with stunning view and rushing blue stream of Shakadang Trail at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

This is the main road to drive along the marble bridge before heading into the tunnel to explore more Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
This is the main road to drive along the marble bridge before heading into the tunnel to explore more Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

There are signs warning of the danger of rock falls, visitors myst wear helmets before heading to Swallow Grotto Trail at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
There are signs warning of the danger of rock falls, visitors myst wear helmets before heading to Swallow Grotto Trail at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

There are warning signs at Swallow Grotto Trail at Taroko Gorge National Park reminding visitors to be constantly wearing helmet due to dangers of rocks fall
There are warning signs at Swallow Grotto Trail at Taroko Gorge National Park reminding visitors to be constantly wearing helmet due to dangers of rocks fall

Look at how the nets are wrapped around the rocks on the mountain to prevent from falling at Swallow Grotto Trail at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
Look at how the nets are wrapped around the rocks on the mountain to prevent from falling at Swallow Grotto Trail at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

Looking at dashing stream of Liwu River while pointing at beautiful marble walls at Swallow Grotto of Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
Looking at dashing stream of Liwu River while pointing at beautiful marble walls at Swallow Grotto of Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

Walking along the pedestrian path of Swallow Grotto at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
Walking along the pedestrian path of Swallow Grotto at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

As I walk into the dark tunnel, I could feel cold and hear Liwu River run swiftly at Swallow Grotto at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
As I walk into the dark tunnel, I could feel cold and hear Liwu River run swiftly at Swallow Grotto at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

The road was closed as the authorities had to remove some falling rocks due to the recent heavy rain at Swallow Grotto at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
The road was closed as the authorities had to remove some falling rocks due to the recent heavy rain at Swallow Grotto at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

Heading back to the bus as we were not able to continue our journey at Swallow Grotto Trail at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
Heading back to the bus as we were not able to continue our journey at Swallow Grotto Trail at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

Another close shot of Liwu River with the suspension bridge at Swallow Grotto at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan before leaving the trail
Another close shot of Liwu River with the suspension bridge at Swallow Grotto at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan before leaving the trail

We tried the local ice-cream flavour of Taro and Peanut at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
We tried the local ice-cream flavour of Taro and Peanut at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

Cimu Bridge (Motherly Devotion Bridge) is an H-Shape hanging marble bridge which was built by President Chiang Jing-guo in memory of his mother at Taroko Gorge in Taiwan
Cimu Bridge (Motherly Devotion Bridge) is an H-Shape hanging marble bridge which was built by President Chiang Jing-guo in memory of his mother at Taroko Gorge in Taiwan

A pavilion was built on this frog rock to resemble a crown on the frog's head at Cimu Bridge at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
A pavilion was built on this frog rock to resemble a crown on the frog's head at Cimu Bridge at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

A popular shoot position of the Eternal Spring Shrine at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
A popular shoot position of the Eternal Spring Shrine at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

Changchun Bridge  nearby Eternal Spring Shrine at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
Changchun Bridge  nearby Eternal Spring Shrine at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

Heading into the mountain and stairs to GuanYin (Mercy of Goddess) cave and Taroko Tower at Eternal Spring Shrine at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
Heading into the mountain and stairs to GuanYin (Mercy of Goddess) cave and Taroko Tower at Eternal Spring Shrine at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

Beautiful pavilion at the Eternal Spring Shrine at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan
Beautiful pavilion at the Eternal Spring Shrine at Taroko Gorge National Park in Hualien, Taiwan

Heading back from Hualien to Taipei by normal train which takes about two hours ride after one day tour at Taroko Gorge tour in Taiwan
Heading back from Hualien to Taipei by normal train which takes about two hours ride after one day tour at Taroko Gorge tour in Taiwan

My Older Post:
  • Tamsui Lover Bridge & Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Taipei 101 Observatory & Shopping in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Taipei National Palace Museum in Taiwan (one of the largest Chinese Historical collections in the World)
  • Ximending in Taipei (a busy night street for shopping and food) in Taiwan
  • An Introduction to Taiwan


  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014

    Tamsui Lover Bridge & Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan


    If you are looking for more romantic mood with your partner in Taipei then, you should make a short trip to Lover Bridge at Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf. It is situated at Tamsui District, New Taipei City which takes about an hour and a half by public transportation from Taipei 101 Tower.

    The Lover Bridge is a popular attraction for an evening stroll with your partner and family members while watching beautiful sunset and Tamsui river at Taipei, Taiwan. After the evening walk at Lover Bridge, you can try the fresh seafood at the nearby Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf. Tamsui is the fishing port in the Northern of Taiwan but bear in mind, fresh seafood served at restaurants aren't cheap. If you are looking for a budget meal then, take a ride to Shilin Night Market in the heart of Taipei city.

    Shilin Night Market is the largest and most famous night market in Taipei city. Most of the night markets in Taiwan open their stalls in the evening and close by midnight every day. You will be shocked at the huge crowds during dinner hours between 6pm to 10pm every day. At the night market, you can find all kinds of snacks, cheap food, all kinds of merchandise products including souvenirs and fashionable clothing from small vendors along the streets and in small stores. 

    As soon as you step out from the MRT subway station, you will find dozens of snacks, food and all kinds of merchandise stalls set up along the streets before reaching the Shilin Night Market food court. You will be amazed by various kinds of mini arcades at the vendor stalls as well as at the food court. You can find more fashionable clothing, shoes and handbags located behind the Shilin Night Market food court. It is a long narrow street with stores on both sides selling fashionable clothing, shoes and bags.

    How to get there?
    1) Lover Bridget at Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf:
    Take Taipei Metro Tamsui Line (red MRT subway line) to Tamsui Station and then transfer to Red Bus no. 26, 836, or 837. 

    2) Shilin Night Market:
    Take Taipei Metro Tamsui Line (red MRT subway line) to Jiantan Station and leave the station by Exit 1.


    A popular attraction not to miss for photography at Lover Bridge at Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf in Taipei, Taiwan
    A popular attraction not to miss for photography at Lover Bridge at Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf in Taipei, Taiwan



    Watching Sunset at Lover Bridge at Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf in Taipei, Taiwan
    Watching Sunset at Lover Bridge at Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf in Taipei, Taiwan


    Shopping for food, clothing, souvenirs, decorative items and anything that you can find from these vendors at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
    Shopping for food, clothing, souvenirs, decorative items and anything that you can find from these vendors at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

    Aim and Shoot for the prizes at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
    Aim and Shoot for the prizes at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

    Another mini arcade to shoot for points at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
    Another mini arcade to shoot for points at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan


    Chasing flies and bugs away from your food by swinging automatically with ribbons around the food at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
    Chasing flies and bugs away from your food by swinging automatically with ribbons around the food at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan


    Our dinner costs TWD450 for fried crab, sausage, braised pork rice, fried oyster, stinky tofu and beer at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan
    Our total dinner costs at TWD450 for fried crab, sausage, braised pork rice, fried oyster, stinky tofu and beer at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

    My Older Post:
  • Taipei 101 Observatory & Shopping in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Taipei National Palace Museum in Taiwan (one of the largest Chinese Historical collections in the World)
  • Ximending in Taipei (a busy night street for shopping and food) in Taiwan
  • An Introduction to Taiwan


  • Tuesday, April 1, 2014

    Taipei 101 Observatory & Shopping in Taipei, Taiwan


    A trip to Taipei city in Taiwan will not be completed without a tour to observation deck at Taipei 101, a famous landmark skyscraper at Xinyi District. Taipei 101 was officially ranked as the world's tallest skyscraper from 2004 until the opening of Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010.

    Taipei 101 comprises 101 floors on the ground and 5 floors underground which is occupied by Taipei 101 mall (an upscale shopping mall from basement up to 5th floor) and offices. Taipei 101 tower is designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes.

    The entrance and ticket booth for Taipei 101 Observatory are located on the 5th floor of the Taipei 101 Shopping Mall. The admission fees is at NTD$500 per person. For more information, please visit the official website of Taipei 101: http://www.taipei-101.com.tw/en/index.aspx

    Taiwan promotes the awareness of green environmentally friendly thus, the Taipei City Department of Transportation collaborates with Giant Bicycles to provide a self-service public bicycle rental system called YouBike at reasonable fees and at convenient locations in Taipei city. There is a YouBike rental kiosk nearby Taipei 101 thus, you may try to experience riding around Taipei 101 and to nearby shopping malls. Currently, the YouBike stops are located at stations along the MRT's Bannan, Wenhu and Luzhou lines. For more information, please visit http://www.youbike.com.tw/home.php?eng=1

    There are other major shopping malls located nearby Taipei 101 which require 10 minutes (700 metre) short walking distance to some popular shopping malls such as Vie Show Cinemas, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store and BELLAVITA situated between Songgao Road and Songshou Road at Xinyi District in Taipei city. 

    How to get there?
    By MRT subway train:
    Take the Red line (Xinyi Line) to Taipei 101/World Trade Center station and walk for about 5 minutes (400 metre) to Taipei 101.


    The side view of Taipei 101 of different distance in Taiwan
    The side view of Taipei 101 of different distance in Taiwan. Taipei 101 Shopping Mall is situated next to Taipei 101 Tower.
    The main entrance of Taipei 101 in Taiwan
    The main entrance of Taipei 101 in Taiwan

    Creative Sculptures nearby Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan
    Creative Sculptures nearby Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan

    Taipei 101 Observatory Entrance at 5th floor of the Taipei 101 Shopping Mall in Taipei, Taiwan
    Taipei 101 Observatory Entrance at 5th floor of the Taipei 101 Shopping Mall in Taipei, Taiwan

    Taipei 101 Shopping Mall in Taipei, Taiwan
    Taipei 101 Shopping Mall in Taipei, Taiwan

    Bicycles rental in the capital city of Taipei in Taiwan to reduce air pollution and promote green environment
    Bicycles rental under YouBike in the capital city of Taipei in Taiwan to reduce air pollution and promote green environment

    The busy upmarket shopping malls in Xinyi District in Taipei, Taiwan
    The busy upmarket shopping malls in Xinyi District in Taipei, Taiwan

    My Older Post:
  • Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan
  • Taipei National Palace Museum in Taiwan (one of the largest Chinese Historical collections in the World)
  • Ximending in Taipei (a busy night street for shopping and food) in Taiwan
  • An Introduction to Taiwan