Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Taroko Gorge and Hot Springs

Our second day of traveling was a trip through Taroko Gorge.  
We were worried at first because the woman who owns our hostel told us that they were closing the park at 7AM because of all the Chinese New Year visitors that would be coming into the park!  Thankfully we called the park offices and found out it was actually the next day, so we got lucky. 
If you're heading to Taroko during CNY be sure to check with the rangers to see if the park will be open all day or not, it would be sad to get there and have it closed.
The first time I went to Taroko was on a scooter.  This time was in a van, which was nice because it was raining the entire time.  

We donned our stylish yellow ponchos and set out for a day of hiking and adventures.

Bree's was huge so we tied it all up.  She looked like a little balloon.

Here's the entrance to the Taroko National Park.  I think it's definitely one of the most beautiful places in Taiwan, a must see if you're in the country.
 We took the Shankadang trail first.   It's an easy 3 or 4 km hike, depending on how far you go.  There are some places to stop and buy snacks and some hot food and some local aboriginal souvenirs. The hike goes right along the edge of a cliff with a river down below.  The water is crystal clear and turquoise blue.  It was such a pretty hike.

This temple is famous in the gorge. What a great place for it!  It's hard to tell just how tall the mountains are from the pictures, but I think this temple helps put it in better perspective. 

 The clouds made for some gorgeous scenic views.  We drove with the doors on our van open for a while just taking it all in.
 One of our stops in the gorge was to eat some food, of course.  Cam and I usually head up to TianXiang because the food is relatively cheap and pretty good.  But, since we had the parents with us, we decided to go to the Aboriginal Restaurant for some real food.   

The menu was complete with boar ribs, boar-skin salad, sweet potatoes, soups, steaks, salad, veggies, and bamboo sticky rice.  Despite how it may have sounded to my family, they all really enjoyed the food, except maybe the bamboo sticky rice, which my grandma affectionately named "wallpaper paste."

 After lunch we kept on truckin' and found the entrance to the hot springs, well, hot-spring I should say.

It wasn't quite to our expectations.  It used to be in a better location, but I guess and rock fell on someone or something, so now this is the only one available.  There are changing rooms and bathrooms to get into your swimwear, but then it's quite a walk down to the actual spring.  I was looking really stylish in my swimming suit and boots.
When we got down there it was pretty packed, but only around the water, almost no one was in the water.  

We soon found out why.  The water was soooooo HOT!  I could hardly put my toes in!  Someone told us the temperature was around 47C!  We tried to get used to it by slowly inching in, but there was no way I could get my whole body in.  Ryan, who can't stand to miss out on a good story or strange adventure, finally made it in and lasted a whole, ohh 20 seconds before he came running back out.

There were some old men who had their whole bodies and heads submerged, but I'm pretty sure they were losing brain cells.  They were in there for a long time, and came out looking like cooked lobsters.

See, aren't we cute in our hot spring attire?

Taroko Gorge is such a beautiful place.  My family rated it at the top of their trip.  One of the natural wonders of Taiwan for sure, if not all of Asia.

For more information on hot springs around Taiwan, check here.


  1. As I'm reading books about Travel In Taiwan and reading your blog, I'm wordering If I will find a hotspring where I will be able to put more than a foot in ... Do you know such places ?

    1. Honestly I've only been to the Taroko ones, but there are definitely many more that you can get your whole body in. This site gives you a pretty good idea of where to start:

      Hope that helps a little :)

  2. Do you think the Taroko gorge would be ok in the rain if you didn't plan on driving? I'm leaving this weekend to Taiwan and I'm still trying to plan out this vacation! It looks like rain this week and since neither me nor my husband has driven a car in a year and half, I don't feel like practicing on a gorge would be a great idea!
    I'm glad I found your blog! I live in Japan with my husband and I rarely meet people who moved abroad as a couple. Taiwan looks like so much fun!



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