Travel with me #111 : Taroko National Park, Taiwan!

in #dlive6 years ago (edited)

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Dear Steemit Friends:

I am looking forward to taking you around Taroko Gorge in the Hualien Region of Taiwan. To see is to believe, my friends, and I just can't wait to show you the amazing sights of this beautiful area. Taroko Gorge is set within Taroko National Park in the northern area of Hualien County on the east coast of Taiwan. In spans 920 square kilometres and contains mountains well over 3000m tall.

The Taroko National Park was established in 1986 and is one of nine national parks in Taiwan. It marks an important commitment from the Taiwanese government to preserve the the natural beauty of the country. Taiwan has experienced rapid economical growth in the last half century, and that commercial development has had its impact on the environment as cities grew and industry expanded. So in 1972 a law was passed called the 'National Park Act of the Republic of China'. This was designed to protect the natural scenery, history, wildlife and important scientific areas of the natural world.

What is very interesting about the Taroko National Park is that is rises very quickly out of the ocean. It is rare to have mountains of up to 3700m high, so close to the coast. These mountains are spectacular, and because of how rapidly they rise up from the ocean the rivers are very powerful here. The steep drop from mountain peaks to sea level has caused massive erosion, leaving huge canyons and gorges in their wake. You will see Taroko Gorge today, from which the national park takes its name.

Taroko Gorge


The Taroko Gorge is sometimes also called the Marble Gorge because, as the name suggests, much of the rock is marble. The area would have once been at the bottom of the sea bed, but after immense pressure and the moving of tectonic plates, the mountains have been thrust up high into the sky. I was told that in fact this area of Taiwan is growing taller by 0.5cm per year. Over millions of years that makes pretty big mountains!

The Taroko Gorge itself is reported to be around 19km long and it is very deep, with almost vertical cliffs on either side. The river that runs through the gorge and that has carved this natural marvel is the Liwu River. As you will see, the river itself is as impressive as the gorge that is has carved and you would find it difficult to find a more beautiful setting in all of the world with mountains, rivers and canyons all combined.

Excited to start exploring

The gorge itself is accessible by walking and no more than sensible trainers are needed for most of the main pathways. You can access other areas of the national park on more rugged trials but you should seek the permission of the authorities if you intend to stray off the main tourist routes. The climate of the area is much cooler than many other areas of Taiwan due to its elevation and proximity to the coast. It is not unusual for the area to be covered in mystical low cloud, obscuring the peaks of the mountains around you in a layer of mist that trials itself around the green canopy of the trees that run over the mountainside.

When you arrive at Taroko Gorge you are first most aware of the noise. The river is very powerful, it has carved the huge gorge that you will now see, and there is a lot of fast moving water. The sound of the river echos off the walls of the gorge and mountains to fill the air with the sounds of nature, power and water.

At the mouth of the gorge you catch the first sight of the Liwu River and I was amazed at how blue it was. Blue, I think, is not even the right word. It was what I would call 'cartoon blue' - the sort of blue that water is in cartoons but never in real life. Well this really was this colour! You can see some of it behind my body here, I am teasing you a little bit, but you will see more of this amazing river soon. I was really quite entranced!

I had yet to enter the gorge properly, and I knew there were so many sights to see further into Taroko National Park but I had to take a while for my eyes to adjust to the beauty of the water. I don't know about you but water can be a bit hypnotic and therapeutic. You know how you can stare into an open fire and just pass the time and watch the flames? The water is much the same but this blue had me even more fascinated and I just wanted to sit and stare! Finally I pulled myself away with thoughts that there would be much more water and many more sights to see as my day went on.

The highway built to access the gorge was very hard to build, here you can see they made a tunnel in the cliff!

It does not take very long before you enter a completely different world. The walls of the gorge rise up around you to shelter you from all noise except for the rushing of the water. The route winds along the side of the gorge, quite high up. You can see how deep the gorge is below you but also appreciate how high the mountains are around you. It is amazing to think that water has carved this deep channel into the marble.

In the distance you can see there is a bridge that crosses the canyon. This is very narrow and made only from some flexible wire and other similar materials so that people can cross the gorge single file if needed. It was not that windy when I visited but I could still see the bridge swaying from side to side slightly, which looked very scary! I didn't see anyone cross it, and perhaps that was a good thing! I would have been so nervous just watching, let alone trying it myself.

And now what I've been teasing you with, the amazing water and the sheer canyon walls! Can you believe that this is not fairy-tale water? Cartoon blue, crystal clear, beautiful water. From this height, you could see all of the water swirling around the rock walls of the canyon. In the rock, as you can see there are many different layers of rock that have been carved through over the years by this very same river.

Each stripe of rock represents a different era in history and the smooth rock wall, smoothed by millions of years of water erosion, shows these off beautifully. Higher up the wall you can see the more red colours and lower down there are stripes of white and blue. I didn't know what these different layers meant but they must have been very different bits of history for the marble rock to look so different.

This area of the Taroko Gorge is called the Swallows Grotto for the hundreds of holes in the rock walls that house nests for swallows, small nimble birds that come here to have their young. I can't imagine any predators can get them up there! And they get such a good view as well. What a lovely place for the little baby swallows to be born and to hear the sound of the water and see the blue of the river below them as they learn to fly. I imagine that these area is quite sheltered from the wind but that it must get very wet! You can see the moss above the holes has 'dripped' down with the rain water that runs down the rock during heavy storms.

A long way down to the bottom!

Further in to the gorge, following the route that hugs the sheer rock walls, the path is cut into the rock beside the river, dozens of metres up. At this point, there is a legal requirement that you wear a helmet because there is a great chance of falling rocks. The very same power the has created this amazing gorge causes the rock walls to erode and for stones to call. You just have to look at the riverbed behind me to see the giant boulders that have fallen down into the Liwu River and been swept a long by flood waters.

Nature finds a way, with greenery growing right on the side of the steep cliffs

Here you can see the true immensity of the Taroko Gorge with the overhanging cliff walls, hundreds of metres tall. You can also see the ingenuity of man and the thousands of hours of work that it took to build this route into the side of this beautiful gorge. The path is cut straight into the cliff and was done largely without machinery, just man power and a lot of hard work.

Here also you can see how important it is to stay safe with a helmet because the rocks can easily fall off the roof or down from the cliffs too. I felt very inside of nature in this spot and I spent a long time just standing in this very special and unique place. Inside this area, the sound of the water was all around you as it echoed up the rock walls, bouncing backwards and forwards up from the floor of the gorge.

A little bit scary being this high up with only a small barrier!

This route on which I had been walking and admiring the view from is actually called the Central Cross-Island Highway and it was built in the 1950s by the military. It was a gruelling endeavour and required thousands of hours from thousands of veteran soldiers to complete. The work was very dangerous, as you can imagine, and landslides and poor conditions caused the deaths of hundreds of the workers. The road now has restricted access to traffic, though it is still technically a national highway.

You can see very clearly here how the route is cut right into the side of the gorge. It feels quite high up when you're standing on it and looking down at the rushing blue water, but then you look upwards and realise just how high up this gorge goes. I couldn't get a proper picture to show how tall it was because, well, it was so tall!

I was pleasantly surprised by how quiet the place was for people. There was of course, a few tourists around but you could always find a quiet spot to sit and admire the area and just 'be' in the environment without feeling crowded. Though there were some tour buses with big groups of people and the occasional tour guide, they moved through quite quickly. I loved being able to enjoy the atmosphere of this place.

I remember vividly the smell of water, and greenery and damp rock. The sound of the river below you, the echo of voices and the occasional sounds of birds that had made this sheltered place their home.

Even in a gorge you can't escape some commercialism!

This a shrine to chief engineer Jin Hen who was swept away in a landslide in 1957 while inspecting damage to a dam that was caused by a large earthquake. The shrine is a sobering reminder of the human effort and sacrifice that was spent making this area of the world accessible and safe for people.

The Eternal Spring


Changchun Shrine or The Eternal Spring was built to homage those men who lost their lives in construction of the Central Cross-Island Highway. In 1987 the pavilions that you can see here were destroyed when the cliffs collapsed after heavy rain. You can still see evidence of this to the right of the buildings here and it is a sobering thought to realise how powerful nature is, even when man tries to tame it. 10 years later, the pavilions were finally restored to their former glory for us to see!

Nestled at the base of the cliff, the pavilions of the Eternal Spring straddle a small waterfall and stream that cascade down and out under the bridges and walk ways. The colours of white, orange and blue against the green of the mountainside and the blue of the water were really quite striking and I felt this was a beautiful lasting memory to those who had given so much for this place.

The pavilions at the bottom of the waterfall only mark the entrance to the shrine, which is located about 15 minutes walk up onto the mountainside. This path up to the shrine was closed when I visited, perhaps due to more landslides or slippery conditions on the hundreds of steps that lead upward. Even from down here, though, I could appreciate the serene beauty of this isolated monument, with its well maintained facade and bright colours.

Stream emanating from under one of the pavilion's bridges, giving the place its name of 'Eternal Spring'

The pavilions were very peaceful and less busy that I would have thought. May of the tour buses stop to take in the view from the other bank of the river but do not take you up to explore the pavilions themselves. There were beautiful views back into the heart of the gorge as well as many quiet and secluded places to sit and reflect on the day.

As my bus left Taroko Gorge I knew that this was a place that I would always remember and that would always remain special in my memories. A place without compare, the effort of hundreds of souls went into trying to tame this wilderness of water and rock. I could have easily spent many more hours just soaking up the sounds and sights that had been millions of years in the making. But unfortunately I had to leave! As the bus pulled away, I was told that there would be just one more stop before my return to my hotel - we were headed for the viewing area called Clear Water Cliff or Qingshui Cliff.

Qingshui Cliff


Stretching for 21km the Quingshui Cliffs are 21 kilometres long and they rise an average of 800 metres above the sea level. It is the highest coastal cliff in Taiwan so therefor offers amazing views up and down the coast. Where I had just spent many hours with rock walls rising on both sides of me, now the cliffs just rose to my back and the pacific ocean out in front of me. A real contrast to the enclosed space of the gorge, the feeling of openness was beautiful. As you can see the sky had cleared of the clouds and mist that had been present earlier in the day and I could see for miles in both directions, up and down the cliffs.

I will leave you now with some of these beautiful views. The very size of everything in Hualien County is quite humbling. The huge mountains, the rushing rivers and the majestic Pacific Ocean make it a unique place for any traveller. I am very lucky to have spent my time here.

Steemit Friends, thank you so much for taking the time to read my post today and to share in this adventure. My favourite part of the day was easily the cartoon blue waters of the Taroko Gorge and the unique and impressive route from which you view it, carved into the size of the cliff face. Of course, we must honor still some of the tragedies that occurred to help build that route and remember the men who sacrificed too much. I am humbled by my time in Taroko National Park for this reason and because of the very beauty of its nature. Unfortunately nature is a force so great and grand and huge that it is hard to tame by man.

What was your favourite bit of this exploration with me? Have you been anywhere else like this before? I'd love to speak more with you in the comments below and if you'd like to see more of my adventures, please follow me and of course vote for this post if you liked it! I will leave you now with my best and most honest attempt at a jumping photo to end my day's adventure... perhaps you can see how hard I was trying!

Until next time...



原来每一座城市,从別人嘴里听到的,都不如自己去感受的美好。享受过台湾都市生活的绚烂,还有风光旖旎、朴素亲切自然景点,确实深深体会到了台湾每座城市的独特性格魅力,那种自然与现代,大气与小资结合在一起的感觉。今天我们就一起去到台湾东部的自然公园,那个远离城市喧嚣,最令人期待的太鲁阁国家公园,真真切切体验一把返璞归真的快感。

太鲁阁国家公园是台湾最早的国家公园之一,始于1986年,也是台湾成立的第四座国家公园。位于台湾东部,地跨花莲县、台中市、南投县三个行政区。这座公园之所以成为神奇的世界级景点,当然和它雄伟壮观的景色分不开。最让我惊讶的地方,大概是那最高点在3700米左右的山顶,很难想象,经历了大自然鬼斧神工的一挥袖,在最接近海岸线的位置形成了几乎垂直,无比险峻的U型状大理石峡谷。

太鲁阁其实是原住民的语言,意思是“伟大的山脉”。这里有着令人无限向往的特色峡谷和断崖,崖壁峭立,景致秀丽淡雅,太鲁阁幽峡也因此名列台湾八景之一。当然,独特的景观不知道经过了多少美丽的意外,才会形成如今眼前这般绚丽多姿,无与伦比的峡谷风景线。在四百万年前,由于菲律宾海洋板块和欧亚大陆板块的相互碰撞而形成台湾,随之而来的是逐渐隆起的中央山脉表层岩层,受到风化侵蚀作用而慢慢被剥离,立雾溪丰沛的河水不断切割太鲁阁这块最古老的大理岩层,才形成了眼前这座落差高达三千多公尺,巨峰林立的自然公园。

由于公园里的山石,经历湿润天气的渲染,暴雨来袭的冲击以及地震,常常会有零星落石掉落在游客参观的步道上,而燕子口作为太鲁阁的著名景点,正好位于山高谷深、燕壁陡峭的峡谷段,立雾溪峡谷在此变得更狭窄了,出于对于安全的考虑,于是乎我在人生中第一次带上了安全帽,淡蓝的颜色特别小清新。

接下来就带上安全帽,向着连绵曲折的山洞隧道出发吧。其实太鲁阁的面积非常大,想要认认真真的徒步走完是需要十几天时间的,虽然我这次只能浅浅的欣赏一部分景观,但还是心满意足呢。走在悬崖边的悠长步道上,触目所及皆是太鲁阁壁立千仞的峭壁断崖,大理岩层展现着刚劲雄伟的风范,时而雾气缭绕,自己就好像在仙境中行走一样。

每走一步,身边的风景都在不停变换,带给我不一样的视觉上的惊喜。趴在悬崖边的栏杆,看见两个峭壁之间的潺潺流水,就像一条玉带,妖娆缠绕,眼前景观就像一副画作,处处展示着大自然的潇洒和魄力,就好像艺术创造者留下随性的行为艺术作品。

接着我们一起去看看建于飞瀑之上的长春祠,只见远远就望见郁郁葱葱的崖壁上,一个鲜艳的红色古典中式建筑物就建于高高的山顶。崖壁上还有“太鲁长春”的题字,充满了古韵,最妙的是山腰上那一道恢宏的瀑布,飞流直下,让峭壁悬崖从此也有了柔美的一面。

走过长春桥顺势走下台阶,就可以到达对面的观音洞。洞内可以看到观音石佛,也可以了解关于横亘公路的施工全图。沿着开凿出来的幽暗洞穴前行,听着山下川流不息清脆的溪水声,意境极好的。长春祠其实主要用来纪念曾经为了开凿峡谷,修建公路付出了汗水甚至生命的人们,以此纪念,让他们的名字永远留存在这山水之间。

最后,我来到了位于台湾花莲县秀林乡的清水断崖,在这里可以亲眼目睹那崖高一千多公尺,直入太平洋险峻陡峭的高山,绝对是整个苏花公路上最美的地方。也是曾经我在网络上,看了一张照片的功夫就被种草,就爱上了的地方。高山边的海水因为密度不同而层次分明,深蓝浅蓝碰撞出非凡的美,格外壮观震撼,美到窒息。深邃的绿色断崖,参杂着浓重的岩石色彩,面朝汪洋大海,不知是谁不小心滴入了一滴蓝墨水,就好像是逐渐渲染开的水彩画,这举世罕见的山海壮阔尽收眼底。那一刻,我神游在了蓝蓝深海之中,不忍离去……今天的花莲奇妙之旅就要告于段落啦,之后还有更多精彩的游记想要分享给大家噢!

My video is at DLive

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Greetings, sweet and beautiful sweetsssj

As soon as I gave in your post appeared trending refresh and I was very happy.

Thanks so much for sharing your trip to Taroko Gorge in the Hualien Region of Taiwan. Do you live nearby?

This is a beautiful site too much. Here in Brazil, I don't know anything like that. Here has a lot of beautiful landscape, both in fauna and flora.

However, that you put up. Is totally enchanting.

I really liked the picture of that temple that sits on top of the vegetation. I imagine that the person there will have one of the most beautiful views in the world to contemplate. Should give an immense peace.

I was eager to meet this place after I saw your post. Save your posting here to show to friends, Yes, these natural and architectural beauty cannot be hidden.

In addition, your charm, beauty and elegance give a touch more in the photos, which are beautiful.

Thank you and good night!

Hi julisavio! I actually live in China (mostly) but Taiwan is a close neighbour I frequently visit because I really love the region so much. Obviously I highly recommend you to visit too and see these place for yourself!

I would love to visit China someday. Thanks for sharing your trip with us. I have learnt so many new things

呵呵,真開心由甜心介紹太魯閣,文章和圖片都一如往常地美麗又兼具深度!!😍

谢谢你哟,希望你会享受到这里的美景^^

Well done .. interesting
Looks like a nice experience ..
Thanks for sharing this with us..

my pleasure slimanepro, enjoy!

I love these green photos of nature but that in the cliff is very scary, I am really afraid of heights, lol

I must admit, I had a lot of hesitation peering down into the valleys, it's certainly very steep and very high up!

Taiwan is on my wishlist to visit... I admire this nation and you are doing more than great in your trip

that's great! I'm glad to be able to share my front row experience with all you guys!

so beautiful thanks

看着风景很是秀丽,同时又很陡峭啊~~~
爬山带着安全帽也是这么美~

谢谢夸奖啦,的确,带着安全帽爬山还真是一种特殊的体验呢^^

Hello dear @sweetsssj , How are you doing? Wow! What a beautiful place this is. Looks just like a fairy land. And as always you look so sweet and beautiful . Have a great day princess😊👍👍

hi vikbuddy i'm doing well thank you, how about yourself!?

mam your life is awesome and how lucky you travelling the world

thanks dear, i'm sure you have good stories to tell too!

Hello @sweetsssj I stumbled upon your blog and I was surprised! I love all your travel pics!!! How I wish one day I’d be able to travel Asia too. Your steemit shirts are the best in the world! Haha. You look all cute with that. Please wear that every time to spread the Steemit awesomeness. Anyways, nice photos you have here. Your photographer is doing a good job. Is he traveling with you too? What a luck. Anyways, enjoy your day out there and have a great weekend! Xoxo from Manila. :-*

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