April 18, 2014

Amazed in the Taroko Gorge

Fascinating Taroko Gorge 

or See the traces from when Taiwan was born

Hualien - 花連 -the town in Taiwan where the earthquakes can be felt most often. A nice little place once you find your way to the city centre and know what to do. But the best thing about Hualien, this little city on the east coast of Taiwan, is what the earthquakes created.

Namely the Taroko Gorge - 太魯閣  (TaiLuGe in Pinyin)

More or less everybody who comes to Hualien the first time comes for this, the Taroko gorge, or the Taroko ravine, if you like. Here you can really see how Taiwan came to exist, when earthquakes and other geological movement pressed the landmass out of the sea and created what we now know as the beautiful country of Taiwan.

The nature is magical here – but do not take the warnings about falling rocks lightly, Taiwan with it's high peaks and deep valleys is very much a country still shaping, and the earthquakes ARE frequent, so what was a rock that seemed well anchored yesterday may not be anymore. The rains, especially when it's typhoon season but also at other times (it IS a tropical island after all, and tropical rains... Well, have you ever seen tropical rains?) may also move the earth...

Never have I seen such deep valleys, such steep drops, such high walls, such powerful waterfalls and such an amazing rock, the mix of rocks makes the valley quite unique. Did you ever study how the sheets crinkle in a bed you just slept in, a night with many dreams or other activities, or the duvet if you just throw it back on the bed after you got up? The way it folds, like the waves of the sea, only not in one direction but in many? This is what the cliff has done in Taroko, it has folded itself out of pure pressure from the earth, when Taiwan was once shaped. It is beautiful and very fascinating to see - and if you get a chance, don't miss the waterfalls - breath taking!

Taroko - the logistics

Taroko can be reached in different ways; Rent your own car and drive down, or take a tour from Hualien, there is a tourist information close to the train station (you can take the train from Taipei) and they have a list of tours you can sign up for – the tours go out in the morning, let you visit different spots in the gorge, and takes you back in the afternoon. Very much worth it. Another way of doing it, especially if you arrive at a strange hour, is by taxi. The taxis are lined up outside the train station and you will hear the question "Taroko?" many times, even if you aren't going – especially if it's off season or during the week. Which reminds me: Do go during the week if you can, it's less crowded and easier to enjoy the nature.

Getting a taxi that drives you to Taroko, lets you stop and get to know some of the scenic spots and then go back will cost you around 2000 NT (Taiwanese Dollar)

View Spots in Taichung and in Taiwan in a larger map

To read more about the Taroko Gorge, please visit the official website in English, created by the Taiwanese Government, you will find it here (click on link) - there you can also find out which tracks and hiking routes are open at the moment; Due to the weather, wind and earthquakes not all tracks may be open all the time. 

Don't try and see it all in one go, there are plenty of scenic paths, as well as serious hiking, but there is so much to see and feel that it is better to come back again. I definitely will.  

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