While Mr Lu does the cross Taiwan mountain tours, his friend, Mr Li does 1 day tours within Taroko National Park which we decided to engage after the good experience with Mr Lu. Mr Li, a 65-year-old retiree, is a photography enthusiast and will tell you the best angles/light to get the best scenic shots in the National Park.
If I had to rank the attractions within Taroko National Park, this would be the must-see order in case you had limited time within the park.
1) My favourite has to be the Swallow Grotto Trail. When we were planning the trip, I had problem locating THE “Taroko Gorge” because I thought it could only be viewed from 1 location. Only after I experienced the whole park, I realized the gorge runs through the whole National Park. Having said that, I think the view of the Taroko Gorge from the Swallow Grotto Trail is the most majestic. The mountain slopes plunge sharply into a V at the gorge, which has clear blue waters flowing through. The limestone has transformed into marble walls after years of metamorphosis, giving the mountains nice grain patterns. The man made roads and tunnels through the mountain are also majestic, kudos to the 220 men who did not survive the road constructions. Towards the end of the Swallow Grotto trail, you can spot part of the marble wall that resembles a face of a tribal man – very unusual!
2) The next must-see sight is the Qing Shui Cliffs (清水断崖). When I saw the clear blue water view, the quote that came to mind was “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by every moment that takes your breath away.”! Even the waters at Great Ocean Road, Brisbane beaches cannot rival this continuous blue along the entire coastal line. Breath taking view!
3) Next unique spot is the Wen Shan Hot Springs. This trail requires a steep descent to the river level to reach a very random hotspring spewing out water at around 47 degC. I am glad we got to visit the hot spring on this tour with Mr Li, and I believe the bigger tour groups would not visit this site given the relative small size of the hot springs.
We didn’t get to walk the full Shakadang Trail but the clear blue waters stream along the trail is very calming. The other great photo spots are Cimu Bridge (stone that looks like frog) and the entrance into Taroko National Park.
We are thankful to catch the fresh blossoming of Plum Blossom flowers, Taiwan’s National Flower, and also some Cherry Blossoms along the way. Amazing views and great tour experience.
If you want to contact Mr Li or check out his photos, drop a comment and I will pass you the contact!
Full sets of posts that might be useful for your Taipei planning:
- Wu Fen Pu (五分埔) Shopping and Rao He Night Market (饒河街觀光夜市)
- Xi Men Ding (西門町)
- Shi Lin Night Market (士林夜市)
- Taipei 101, Christmas Illuminations, 大佳河濱公園 Park for 2014 Countdown
- Restaurant – L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Restaurant (侯布雄法式餐廳)
- Hotel– Hope Hotel (全家歡商務旅店 ) and Cosmos Hotel (天成大飯店)
For locations outside of Taipei:
- Taiwan: Alishan (阿里山) – Fen Qi Hu (奮起湖) and 53.1 Homestay Min Su (民宿)
- Taiwan: Alishan Main Attraction – Alishan National Scenic Area (阿里山國家風景區)
- Taiwan: Alishan 阿里山, Sun Moon Lake 日月潭 , Cing Jing 清境, Taroko National Park 太魯閣國家公園
- Taiwan: Taroko National Park 太魯閣國家公園
- Taiwan: Taroko National Park 太魯閣國家公園 Lodging/Hotel – Silks Place 太鲁阁晶英酒店
- Taiwan: Taroko National Park 太魯閣國家公園 Lodging/Hotel – Leader Village 立德布洛灣山月村