Our third day in Taiwan was dedicated to Taroko National Park. This is a huge park with numerous trails, some of which requires permit from authorities for access. We didn’t have much time in Taiwan to explore this place to the fullest so we decided to do just a day trip, which was also good enough of an experience.
Getting from Taipei to Taroko NP
Using public transportation, our option was to reach Hualien first. Based on my research, there are two ways to get from Taipei to Hualien:
1. Direct Train: Taipei to Hualien
Our group was focused on getting there via a direct train. We were based in Taipei for this day so we needed tickets from Taipei to Hualien and vice versa. This part can be a challenge. It was for me! I have made a post about this, detailing my booking experience. Visit the link if you want to read about it.
2. Combo: Taipei to Luodong (Bus) + Luodong to Hualien (Train)
Worst case scenario that tickets are sold-out, next option is the combo – bus and local train. To learn more about the combo ticket, check-out my separate post about it.
Going Around Taroko National Park
I did a bit of reading to know our options in exploring the national park and these are the choices we had:
- Taking the public bus within the park
- Renting our own car, self-drive
- Renting a car with driver
Our group went with the third option as we deemed it to be the most convenient one. I saw good reviews on tripadvisor about a driver named Jason who takes tourists around the national park. Our group decided to avail his service after making an inquiry. I have provided his contact details at the end of this post.
The following places are part of the tour itinerary offered by Jason’s quotation:
- Taroko Archway
- Xiaizhuilu Trail
- Shakadang Trail
- Changchun Shrine
- Swallow Grotto
- Chimu Bridge
- Huliu Suspension Bridge
- Lushui Trail
- Qingshui Cliff (optional, for an additional cost)
Our Day in Summary
We had a great time during our day trip in Taroko. It was a cold, drizzly day which made us glad that we rented private transportation for the day. Jason picked us up from Hualien station. He was waiting outside, holding up a paper with my name written on it. When we got into his taxi, there were bottled water waiting for each of us (with extras at the back of the car). He was also prepared with umbrellas that we can use when we walk around during our day trip.
Jason can converse in Chinese and English. He explained to us some parts of the park and even took photos of our group. When the tour ended, we would have to wait a few hours for our train going back to Taipei. Jason made a stop at Xincheng Taroko station to check if he can exchange our tickets to an earlier trip. We waited in the taxi and he came back with new tickets for us. That was great since it gave us time to visit a night market in Taipei. He dropped us off at Hualien station, gave each of us a bottled water again, then we bid goodbye.
The day was filled with a lot of steps which made us feel sleepy on the way back to Taipei. We took advantage of the 2.5-hour train travel time and took a nap. Both trains that we took going to and leaving from Hualien have comfortable seats, ample leg room, and are clean.
Photos & Instagram Posts from our Day Trip
Contact details of hired driver with car for Taroko NP:
Name: Jason Huang
Contact No.: +886963-800617
Facebook Page: Taroko Gorge
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