Our next stop was Hualien and Taroko Gorge. (Let's just say it was "Gorge-ous")
We took the three hour train ride from Taipei to Hualien. We checked in to Colorful Taiwan hostel. We walked a few blocks away to rent a scooter. About halfway there, the Typhoon rain started... That's one of the last times it was dry for the next couple of days.
We got to the scooter shop just before it started to pour and got suited up in some really attractive bright yellow rain gear.
That night we ate some night market food and then got out of the rain and relaxed at the hostel. It was weird because we were literally the only people there. The workers just gave us the key, locked up, and left. Odd.
The next morning we hopped on our scooter and and splashed through the pouring rain to Taroko Gorge. It is an amazingly beautiful place. The roads wind through the gorge covered by overhanging cliffs, trees, and a great view of the river below. There were dents in a lot of the roads from rocks falling off the cliffs and taking great chunks of pavement out with them. It is listed as one of the top ten most dangerous roads worldwide. If the rockslides don't kill you, it'll be the huge busses that cruise up and down it, or the winding road that sends you off a cliff.... I mean, wait mom, it was totally safe. I would never do anything dangerous...
You don't need any permits for hiking through the area, you can drive, or scooter, or taxi through as you please. There are bus tours available, but if you ask me, I would recommend a scooter, hiring a private taxi, or renting a car for the day. You get a much better experience when you can stop and go whenever you like, and you aren't fighting for camera space with the other fifty people on your bus. I rented a van through here once before and actually drove with the sliding doors open to get pictures and a better view.
The water was this great shade of brilliant blue. A little like Gatorade, the ice blue kind, not the dark one.
This is us, still suited up, using our umbrella to protect our camera, with the towering cliffs behind us.
The rain cleared up for about an hour. Just long enough for us to do a quick hike and take some pics before the clouds reappeared. It actually was really warm, despite what it looks like.
The hike was really pretty with bridges, tunnels, caves, waterfalls, pagodas, etc. There was a reeeeally dark cave that we had to go through.... I'm not a fan of really dark spaces so I was a liiiittle scared, but it turned out to only be really dark for like 10 seconds and then you could see the end.
It was juuuust a little bit windy... as you can see here. Either that or our raingear was possessed by an ancient Taiwanese gorge spirit or something.
Taroko Gorge is a must for anyone making a trip to Taiwan.