Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Explore Taiwan Taroko, Hua Lien (太魯閣-花蓮)

When i firstly come across with this country-Taiwan, i was told that "Taroko is a MUST go place when you are in Taiwan, no matter how...". Because of that, i starting to gather information about this mystery place. I'm so excited (at least it last for few minutes) before i knew that it is almost impossible for me to travel there from HsinChu after consider the distances, transportation, companion and my work in Taiwan. (Additional notes: The most convinient period to explore HuaLien and Taroko is 3-Days-2-Nights, at least.)

Well, well, well, i think god heart my request. I finally have a oppurtunity to plan for this trip, travel with my colleagues and her husband. Wow! Thanks god! Even though it is considered a last minute planning ... but everything is in place and the process is quite smooth.

Waiting patiently for the sunrise in Hua Lien Town at 5am

First sun beam rising from the east of Taiwan

Alright, let me briefly introduce this place to you: Hua Lien (花蓮) is located at the east-coast of Taiwan. One of the famous side-seeing in Hua Lien is the Taroko National Park (太魯閣國家公園) which is special significance for the environmental protection movement in Taiwan. Most places in Taroko are result from the earthquake couple of centuries ago.

Take Komalan Express(葛瑪蘭客運)_Taipei to YiLan (宜蘭) - 1.5 hours
Take Express Train(自強號台鐵) from YiLan (宜蘭) to Hua Lien - 1.25 hours
(Additional notes: There is direct train to Hua Lien called Taroko Express Train (Approx 2 hours), but you have to booked the seats 1 month before because it was a hot sales tickets.....always full)

Accommodation :
Bo Ya Home-Stay (柏雅民宿) - Contact: 836-1292

My Taroko Tour Guide - A-Ming, with his white Nissan

To save time, we hired a local free-lancer tour guide called
A-Ming (ㄚ銘). He is a young and nice tour guy (at least no generation gap) and keep *Pump-in* Taroko's information to us. He is quite flexible with the site-seeing. If you need to visit a place, do let him know and he will arrange for you. Well, I'm a lazy person, i decide to go with his plan for our One Day trip in Taroko. Same with other tour group, he stopped us in the entrance gate to Taroko and East-West Highway (東西橫貫大路).

Photo taken in front of Gate to Taroko & East-West Highway (東西橫貫大路)

Clear sky, Bridge that connected to Taroko and Water flowing down to the sea

After passing the bridge and tunnel, Shakadang Trail (砂卡礑步道) is the first place I visit. Lots of Lion Sculpture can be see along Shakadang bridge. What surprise me is each Lion have unique and different emotion. Shakadang Trail, is a man-made trail along the river and the cliff. This place is more likely suitable for family outing and picnic activity. My heart told me to jump into water because the river is so clear and green in colour. My godness, there is no where you can find in M'sia. :)

Entrance to Shakadang Trail (Left); Lion Sculpture (R-Top); Trail (R-Bottom)

Can't wait to join that guy .... like a nature swimming pool

After a long walked in Shakadang Trail, my tour guide A-Ming took us to a local restaurant owned by aborigine. There are a few creative wood sculpture placed in front of the entrance which impressed me. Check below picture and you'll know why.

One of the famous local dishes are Grilled Pork Meat (山豬肉) and Marinated "skin-less" chilli (剝皮辣椒). And, i'm sure these 2 dishes are included in my lunch bento. Wahaha ... I found the Grilled Pork isn't that nice, too rough, but the chilli taste really good and a bit spicy. According to tour guide, different season of chilli will affect it's spicy level, and September-October will produce the most spicy chillies. Yummy yummy! Other than that, the restaurant also served us with rice wine, quite high % of alcohol. Ooo ..... I'm drunk!

Restaurant with Wood sculpture in front of the shop

Inside Restaurant (Left); Nice wine cup (top); salad (bottom)

My Lunch bento with "Skin-less" Chilli and Grilled Pork Meat

Next, i'm heading to Swallow Grotto (燕子口), a place that impressed and convinced me that it is worth to come here after spent 5 hours travel times. This place is quite windy and i was told that different kind of swallow will gathered here during certain period, i think is breed season. The road in Swallow Grotto is crossing in and out the cliff, like a snake crossing the mountain. Along the road, i noticed there are a lot hole-shape on the cliff wall on the other side of the river. These are where the swallow nest is located.

Magnificient view of Swallow Grotto

Pedestrian path crossing the cliff

View from the tunnel ... Hole-shape on the cliff

This place won't be friendly when it raining season ...

Red-Indian-Face(Left); at the back of the cliff, Monkey-Face(Right)

Road crossing in-and-out the mountain ... good experience

My 3rd destination is JiuCyuDong or Tunnel of Nine Turns (九曲洞). When i arriving here, the sky if getting dark, seems like the storm is coming soon. When sunny day, Taroko can be a close friend to you; but when raining day, it could kill you because rock might fall from no where. So, keep that in mind always. Basically, JiuCyuDong is also another tunnel side by side the river. But, if you pay enough attention, you will discover something which others won't notice. Check out the picture below :

Look up to the sky, Taiwan map shall appear!

Some description on the way Taroko was formed

Imagine this place used to be a mountain, and now ... huh :O

Watch out for the falling rock ... the size can go up to a size of half of Kancil

King Kong in Taiwan???

ChangChun Shrine (禪光寺)

Although this is only One-Day-Trip for me, but it did satisfice my hunger and desire to explore Taroko. No matter how, i promise i shall returned this place to further explore the mystery of Taroko. Some say this place is "haunted" but...i say it is Peace. If LV or Gucci bag will make you happy, then Taroko will make you crazy. Listen to the sound of water, feel the wind, breathe the fresh air produce by trees ... Uuh ... that's what i call comfortable. Thanks, Taroko!!


eingenel said...

Wow!!!! Great view! I miss asia now - especially the sun!!! It's raining so much here that we seldom see the sun! I cant even dry our clothes out in the backyard!

Have you seen any of my showbiz idols in Taiwan? (e.g. Ariel Lin, Wu Chun, Joe Cheng) haha.

Keep on blogging and keep on sharing your experiences with us.

CShotz said...

Thanks for your comment, einge. I love asia too, especially Authum season coz it's very windy.

Your favourite idol? Too bad i didn't see them around .... even if they are out there, i'm sure they will be surrounded by a lot of teenager/fans. Wahahaha.... Perhaps next time when i got chance, i will take photo of them for you. :D

pig said...

Hi, I saw your Taiwan Hualien post. Could I ask where you got your tour guide in Hualien? Can you get the tour guides on the spot in Hualien? And for the Taroko Express, have you any idea how to book it?

CShotz said...

Hi Pig, my taiwan recommended Y-Ming to me. So far, he is quite a nice and really given informative during his tour, You may contact him at http://www.wretch.cc/blog/gggming/4208130

Oh, back to your question. I believe you will be staying in guesthouse in HuaLien, right? Then, i believe they will provide such service (or know some freelancer). Or, another option for you is, there is bus bring you to Taroko where you only need to pay 1 payment for 1 day trip. You may ask from the guesthouse owner.

Taroko express...hmm...you may refer to the official website to book the train. [ http://railway.hinet.net/net_eng.htm ] But, bear in mind to book in advance. Coz it's sold out quite fast.

Hope this help. If you need anything, just place your query here. I would glad to assist you. :D

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