Thursday, April 27, 2017

Biking and walking down the Taroko Gorge:

We headed to the East Coast of Taiwan for two nights.  Our destination was the Taroko Gorge, one of Taiwan’stop tourist destinations.  The Gorge is a part of a large national park with steep mountains and narrow valleys. 

We took a comfortable train on a two hour journey, much of it along the coast.  The sea views were interesting.  The large number of processing factories was a little unsettling – were we headed to a spoiled playground? No, of course not. It was a well managed natural area, untouched by large scale industry. 
Xingchen
We were picked up by the lodge host and taken to the Taroko Lodge.  We went for a brief walk before we met the other guests and were taken to the nearby larger town for dinner in a simple local restaurant.  The other guests turned out to be 2 international families and 2 international school teachers from...Bangkok.  In a small town, on the edge of Taiwan, there were 13 people taking advantage of Laos/Thailand New Year holidays.  It’s a small world

The next day were were driven in seperate group up the Taroko Gorge for a day of walking and biking.  This was a very pleasant way to see the natural sites at a pace of your own choosing, without being on a tour bus.  The weather was mild, even verging on cooler by the end of the day.  It made for pleasant walking conditions.  And the general direction of travel was downhill so we couldn't complain about the biking leg either.
taroko walk bike
The scenery was stunning and there were some impressive tunnels through the rock.  Traffic was not too bad, but when biking we didn't stop too many times for sight-seeing aiming to get to the next destination. 
Taroko valley
 There were plenty of tunnels on the walks and in half of them a torch was needed to light the way.  And there were plenty of ‘danger of rockfall’ signs, encouraging you to keep moving.
Taroko
As well as the general natural beauty and trails, we walked to a number of temples.  Bicycle theft is not a major issue here.  At each stop we parked our bikes and wandered away for the time we wanted.  The Lodge owner was following the group as support in case of flat tyres etc, but was not checking on the bikes.
man-made taroko

  It was a very good day, which we enjoyed and recommend.  We wanted to stay another night in the Lodge, but it was fully booked.  We instead took the train 12 minutes down the line to the larger town of Hualien where we spent the night and had a wander around before returning to Taipei.

A couple of uncanny likenesses?
taroka

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