A Guide to the Taroko National Park Attractions
Imagine steep mountains covered by forest sliced apart by a deep winding gorge. Throw in a few temples, pagodas, hiking trails and a secret hot spring. This is the Taroko National Park.
Make sure you read this guide to the Taroko National Park attractions before you arrive.
The Taroko National Park is located 150 kilometers south of Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city. This huge national park covers 920 square kilometers of mountains and valleys. Access is made via a series of winding road carved into the cliff face.
Read More: 10 Day Taiwan Travel Itinerary You Must Try
Getting Around Taroko National Park
A two hour express train heads south from Taipei to Hualien. It depars Taipei in the morning and arrives just before lunch. Trains are the best way of getting around Taiwan for intercity travel. Services are frequent, cheap and comfortable.
One at Hualien there are multiple options for getting around Taroko National Park. These include:
- hop-on hop-off tourist bus (250 NT for 1 day, or 400 NT for 2 days) – check here for a schedule
- taxi, if you’re ready to splurge out on some cash for comfort
- rent your own motorbike for a few days in the town of Hualien (about 400 NT per day)
- hitch hiking for the budget traveler
While hitch hiking is widely accepted in Taiwan, most people opt for the simplicity of the shuttle bus which can be used with a one of two day hop-on hop-off style pass.
Taroko National Park Attractions
The national park offers a list of worthy attractions such as; grottos, waterfalls, hiking trails and hot springs. Popular attractions can be easily visited in one day using the hop-on hop-off pass. The most popular attractions in Taroko National Park include:
- Eternal Spring Shrine
- Swallow Grotto
- Cimu Bridge
- Tunnel of Nine Turns Trail
- Tienhsiang Pagoda
Winding roads carved into the sheer cliff face are an impressive feat themselves. Suspension bridges crossing the valley make for an adventurous journey through the lower ends of the Taroko National Park.
the real beauty of Taroko National Park is found in the lesser seen attractions
Exploring the Further Taroko National Park Attractions
The real beauty of Taroko National Park is found in the lesser seen attractions such as one of the many hiking options over the mountain ranges or a natural hot spring set in the cool river of the gorge.
Exploring further into Taraoko National Park needs more than a day. Accommodation is scarce but you can try an overnight stay in the Xiulin township. For the budget traveler try the Tiensing Youth Centre. A more comfortable option is the Taroko Intertek Bed and Breakfast.
Accommodation is within walking distance from the small town center, where basic food and water supplies are available.
Hiking in Taroko National Park
The national park has plenty of amazing hikes on offer which wander through the mountains and the valleys. A few hikes you should definitely consider in your stay are:
- Jhuilu Old Trail
- Lushui-Wenshan Trail
- Shakadan Trail
- Meiyuan Zhucun Trail
- Baiyang Trail
A Hidden Hot Spring in Taroko National Park
Perhaps my favorite attraction in Taroko National Park is the Wenshan Hot Spring. The Hot Spring which is discreetly hidden in the valley of the Taroko Gorge is fed by hot volcanic water. The naturally heated stream pours out of cracks in the mountain side and into the almost indistinguishable pool set into the freezing cold river.
Getting out past the town in Taroko requires you to get your hiking boots on or hitch hiking thumbs waving. The standard shuttle buses do not travel out this far, and most locals don’t even know where the Wenshan Hot Spring is located.
To get here head about 5km up the winding mountain road away from the town. Keep an eye out for the almost hidden hot spring sign (right hand side just before the tunnel). From the road side the small route continues over the fence and down an almost vertical and slippery stone staircase. Descend through the tunnel cutting the mountainside and cross the river by a handmade rope bridge in a scene reminiscent of an Indiana Jones film.
From the rope bridge the rest should be somewhat obvious. Use your own judgement or caution towards the sign which states Danger No Swimming.
Another tip: Don’t ask the locals about the Wenshan Hot Spring. They’ll pretend to not know about it. Guess they want to keep it a secret too!
Get more secret destinations like Wenshan Hot Spring in your FREE Travel Guide here
How much does Taroko National Park cost?
Entry to Taroko National Park is free and there is no hidden charge for the hot spring or any other attractions. The main costs are associated with transport and limited accommodation options.
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