Travel Guide Taiwan East Coast
After more than a week of being in the Taiwanese capital Taipei we went to the south via east coast. On the way there we made two stops: one in Taroko National Park and the other one in Taitung.
Taroko National Park
As we always took the train for all our longer distances in Taiwan, we were at the main station in Taipei at 8 am and got on the Tze Chiang Limited Express train that has the same comfort as a German ICE train, but it only costs less than 10€. About two hours later we arrived at the station Hualien. This is the largest city that is closest to the Taroko National Park. In Hualien there are plenty of hotels, a lot of them directly on the Pacific coast, from where you can book half day or full day tours to the national park. Those who want to travel on their own, should preferably take the train to the station Xincheng Taroko and then the bus to the Taroko National Park.
But we wanted to spend as much time as possible in the national park, so we chose a hotel right in the national park , the Silks Place Taroko, and we had ourselves picked up by the shuttle service in front of the station.
The Taroko National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in Taiwan: it is a ‚must‘ for you to visit it. This park was named after the indigenous people of the Taroko Gorge. The river Liwu has scenically very spectacularly shaped a wide gorge through the marble rocks over the millennia. The river Liwu still winds through the rocks. There has been a street some metres above the river for more than a hundred years that follows the river and connects the entrance to the gorge with the small town of Tienhsiang. Apart from the Silks Place Taroko hotel you can also find a youth hostel there.
On both sides of the gorge there are forested, steep mountains, where small pavilions, pagodas or temples can be seen every now and then. The many tunnels through which the street winds, the waterfalls that gush out of the small cracks in the rocks or the suspension bridges leading across the gorge to the temples make Taroko a very special place.
We recommend you to spend at least two full days in the Taroko National Park. That’s the only way to enjoy the hiking tours to the waterfalls or remote temples that can sometimes last several hours. In addition, you needn’t be shy of hiking without a guide, because all the hiking trails are well-developed and moreover signposted (even in English).
Silks Place Taroko
The Silks Place Taroko hotel is located in the heart of nature on a small hill right next to the river Liwu. So, as it is enthroned on this small hill, it exudes unbelievable calm and grandeur that are immediately transferred to its visitors. Nature has also influenced the interior of the hotel: natural materials such as wood, lots of natural colours combined with the modern Chinese style.
All the rooms are very spacious with view into the greenery or to the surrounding mountains. The use of wood and the natural colour design provide the room with warmth. And we were especially pleased with the large open bathroom.
Apart from the a fireplace there are several pools and whirlpools on the roof which all have a different temperature. You also have a stunning view of the steep ascending forested rock walls from there. Additionally, there are several outdoor four-poster beds and other lounge furniture and seating elements.
As they booked us the Retreat-package we had the possibility to have our breakfast in the calm Retreat-Lounge. We decided to have a traditional Taiwanese breakfast.
In the evening, when it’s dark, this area is changed into an open-air cinema. By lying on one of the beds you can watch the current movie under a starry sky.
After leaving Hualien we went by train towards Taitung in the south. We, however, didn’t want to go into the city, so we took a taxi tha tdrove us to the relatively remote fishing harbour Fugang. That was a little adventure for us, because absolutely no one there spoke English as it was so far from mass tourism. Nevertheless, we really enjoyed the incredibly warm manners and helpfulness of the people there.
Right beside Fugang Harbour there is Xiaoyeliu. This is a coastline that is several hundred metres long with exciting rock formations formed by winds and floods over thousands of years. Several very well-maintained trails and pathways lead from the Xiaoyeliu Visitor Centre to the rock formations. Entry is free!