Last November, we went to Taiwan for two weeks and we did a road trip around the island and it was fabulous ! The weather, the people.. and the food, oh the food…. it was just amazing ! We landed in Taipei and we started to drive clockwise around the island. Previous parts:
We hit the road after a huge breakfast at our hotel in Keelung. It took us about 3 hours to reach Taroko National Park. I found the drive quite pretty, the coast was gorgeous and wild, but the road was really windy and there was a huge ditch on its side to prevent it to be flooded. I had the feeling we were driving into it all the time, and I was super annoying, squealing each time we were a bit too close (according to my boyfriend, we were not that close…. ;-))
On our way we stopped at Quigshui cliffs, before heading towards the park headquarters. These dramatic cliffs are composed of gneiss and marble and extend over 21km. There is only one place to stop to admire the view : a little pullover park at Km 176.4 on Highway 9.
Taroko National Park is the most diverse national park in Taiwan and therefore a top tourist destination. The park is so big that you don’t really feel packed like sardines (I would say it’s similar to some US national parks). We had unremarkable food in the HQ and took some information regarding the hikes we could do that afternoon and the next day. We discovered that most of the trails were closed due to the damages caused by a recent typhoon (I think most of them are reopened now). We were a bit disappointed but on the brighter side, they mentioned a new informative trail that didn’t figure on the map so we thought it could be a good idea to do it. The views of the Liwu river were quite nice and we managed to spot a lot of butterflies.
After the educational hike, we did the famous Shakadang trail. This hike is also known as the “Mysterious Valley Trail“. The round trip is 5 miles but it is now partially closed du to the heavy rain caused by a typhoon in 2012, so it’s only possible to walk until the small market that features some local products.
The views were really gorgeous and the water was very blue, almost turquoise at some places. The flow was really gentle compared to the Liwu river.
On the way back we got completely drenched but I managed to sport a cute little caterpillar !
That night, we stayed in a coffee farm, located roughly 10 km from Taroko NP, which was very convenient. The host was super friendly and she recommended us some hikes to do in the park the next day. We had some sashimi in the village nearby and it was yummy !