off the beaten track at Taroko Gorge (Part 1)
--- By Lishea Chen Translated
by Ann Lee
The breath-taking landscapes and scenery
of Hualien's Taroko Gorge are an amazing, eye-opening
experience for visitors from around Taiwan and the world.
Nevertheless, the growing number of visitors every year
means that most people usually enjoy driving from one
end of the gorge to the other without realizing that
the real beauty of it all is hidden in the area's walking
trails. Below are some additional tips on how to more
fully enjoy Taroko Gorge.
The Taroko National Park headquarters
has chosen around 10 walking trails for visitors. One
trail, named for the Taroko Degalon Aborigine tribe
, will take you three hours to finish. From its overlooking
viewpoint, you can take an entire view of the gorge
and Changchun Bridge. Another trail is named after the
Shakatang (??) tribe, a name that was changed back to
"Sgadan" in 2001. The walk takes two to four
hours round trip. Continuing on will take you along
the Chang Chun Shrine Trail; head west to find the old
and new Ning An Bridge. You can river trace through
the tunnel next to the new bridge to a waterfall, but
you must be fully equipped and prepared to do this safely.
On the lower end of Pulowan (in aboriginal
language) Terrace, you can find the Taroko Headquarters
and Meandering Core Trail. A hotel named "Leader
Village Taroko" can be found at the upper terrace
in Mountain Moon (Shanyue) Village. This place (tel.
038-610-111) has 36 Japanese-style lodges (2-8 people
per room) along with landscaped surroundings, to provide
a serene environment for guests. A carpentry workshop
also allows you to purchase items like wood-carved doors
and other artifacts made by the Taroko tribe people.
The 12-course meal here includes pork rib kebabs, stewed
chicken, tilapia, rice in bamboo tubes and other dishes,
all served with authenic tribal utensils. Later in the
evening, you can enjoy chesnut rice wine while watching
the staff sing and dance the night away. Before you
know it, you'll feel right at home in this relaxing