Monday, May 7, 2018

The Best of Taroko Gorge!

Taroko Gorge is one of the most beautiful and famous adventure experiences in Taiwan. 
I thought I'd post some of the best pictures we've taken, so you can get a taste of the beauty of this magnificent gorge. But really, pictures don't do justice!
At the opening of the gorge:
 We have always stayed at the Taroko Lodge, run by Rihang Su, owner of the establishment for decades. He will pick you up at the train station, he will cater to your every need, and his motto is, "Don't worry!" Truly, Rihang takes care of everything!
Rihang and his wife prepare a delicious western breakfast for their guests, including toast, eggs, and local tropical fruit. You'll find that most other bed and breakfast accommodations around Taroko Gorge cater to mainland China tourists, so the breakfast is traditional eastern Chinese. 
American tourists will be relieved that Rihang's English is so good!
Taroko Terrace Trail:
Nice paved path:
Amazing clear blue waters!
Did you know that there are hot springs in the gorge? Rihang (far left) will drop you off deep in the gorge with bikes. Before mounting your bikes, however, take a quick hike down to the HOT springs. 
Suspension bridge overlooking the hot springs:
Aerial view of the springs. The low retaining wall at the edge of the river has since been "rebuilt" to provide greater hiking safety:
Follow Rihang's suggestions:)
The waters are swift but very shallow, with a narrow rocky strip:
The hot springs warm the waters at the edge of the river:
I personally have never been able to dip more than my feet in the pool for about 2-3 seconds.
It's WAY HOT! I seriously lasted only a few seconds in the spring to have this picture taken!
Down the road about a half mile is the entrance to the Baiyan Waterfall Trail,
leading to the amazing Water Curtain Cave:
The trail is 2.1km to the cave. On our first ever trip we encountered a monkey!
Words cannot describe the volume and power of the water rushing through the gorge!
Approaching the cave are tunnels where you can begin to see the effects of water seeping through the cracks of the mountain:
If you want to enter the cave, bring ponchos (7-Eleven). You'll also probably find many left behind by previous travelers. Leave your shoes at the entrance. No one will bother them!
This is the most spectacular waterfall you'll ever see inside a cave! Water gushes through the crevices. The trick to taking pictures inside the black abyss is the have an assistant stand behind the water and shine a light (cell phone) from under their poncho. Then take the picture from the front of the waterfall, without a flash. All these shots were taken with my iPhone 6 me on this one!
The far opening of the cave serves as the backlight in this photo:
Bring water'll definitely want to stand under the falls!
The next stop is Xiangde Temple. You'll recognize the yellow bridge:
The gateway is a perfect photo opp:
Gotta take a burst to capture this:
Take the small path to the right before ascending to the pagoda:
This pagoda is awesome!

From the top level of the pagoda:
Lots more photo opps at the Xiangde Temple:

Yes there are lots of tour buses, but why sit in a bus when you can experience the gorge out in the open? The ride is about 90% gradual downhill, but definitely not for the inexperienced rider. Get confident on a bike first!
There are SO many suspension bridges along the way:
Beauty of the gorge:
Last stop, Changchun (Eternal Spring) Shrine Trail. Pick up some ice cream or a soda at this rest stop. There are several other places (including a tourist center) with fresh fruit, snacks, and drinks to rest and replenish along the way.
Xincheng (train station) also has a nice beach with tons of beautiful smooth rocks.
Rihang will take you there if you arrive early enough in the afternoon. 
You can see the gorgeous cliffs of Qingshui from the beach:
Your kids get you to do these kinds of things!
 Fishing boats...
 ...and fishermen along the coast:
What are you waiting for? Time to plan a trip to beautiful Taiwan now!

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