I always had a soft spot for Taiwan. Warm people, a fighting spirit and delicious street food. Little did I know till now that it also has really amazing nature landscapes.
While checking up on Taiwan’s scenic areas and hikes, I came across Taroko Gorge. I haven’t heard of this before as most of my friends usually visit Taipei or Kenting. They are totally missing out on what Taiwan has to offer!!
We stayed at Taroko Lodge, where Rihang, the host is quite a destination by himself. He is an experienced guide and the best part is he knows many secret spots and can offer bike rentals with van pick-ups for a reasonable price.
We visited what he calls Rihang’s Pacific Ocean:
We could not resist doing some epic shots:
Rihang drove us and our bikes all the way up the winding roads into the deep recesses of the gorge so that we could cycle downhill (mostly) and enjoy the views and stop to visit the little trails if we so wish. It is absolutely the most enjoyable and scenic 25km cycling path I have ever been on.
We stopped by for a natural hot spring experience (see the little humans below):
The rocks were so beautiful:
We visited a temple on the way where there is a cool pagoda and the perfect place for a picnic:
This is nearing the swallow grotto which is the place where most tour buses stop at. For the usual tourists, this would be the only part of the Taroko Gorge where they would have a short and very crowded glimpse of its beauty. Honestly, the tour bus tourists do kill the experience! This bridge is also the ending point of the Zhuilu Old Trail, which is a day hike. Highly highly recommended! More details under Day 2.
We continued our cycling as the day grew darker. The weather changes quite rapidly in this season and we found ourselves in a stretch that was mysterious looking. We couldn’t resist again.
Victorious at our meeting point: Trusty old 7-11.
Then we went driven to the nearby Hua Lian night market where we ate a lot. A lot. Yay!