Saturday, December 1, 2012

Touring Taroko Gorge using the tourist shuttle + Part 1 of my 2 day tour

Taroko Tourist Shuttle
The Taroko hop-on hop-off tourist shuttle service was implemented in 2012 and serves as a convenient way for tourists to explore Taroko National Park. 

1 day pass: NT$250 (unlimited journeys on the same day)
2 day pass: NT$400 (unlimited journeys for two consecutive days)

The pass must be bought before travel as it cannot be purchased on the bus.

Ticket service counters
- Hualien Bus Terminal:  100 Guolian 1st Road (turn left and walk straight after exiting Hualien railway station. You will see a prominent orange building)
- Hualien Visitor Info Center: 106, Guolian 1st Road (turn right and walk straight after exiting Hualien railway station) Opening hours: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Grab a brochure from the ticket service counter when you're buying your pass. It contains the essential info that you need, such as the bus route and timetable (which you will have to adhere to).

Note: Before touring Taroko, it is good to check the trail conditions either online (http://www.taroko.gov.tw/English/) or with the bus driver. Sometimes, certain trails may be closed due to reasons such as maintenance or hazardous damage from typhoons. Having this information will help you plan your day better.

Travel brochure showing the route and stops along the way

Timetables - outbound and inbound. 7 buses a day.

When I visited Taroko National Park in November, it was unfortunate that the Shakadang trail and Tunnel of Nine Turns were closed due to the effects of typhoon which occurred a few months back. I was really looking forward to doing these 2 trails prior to my arrival in Hualien. A consoling point was that the beautiful Baiyang trail had just newly reopened after being closed for 3 years. This trail can be accessed from Tianxiang.

I toured Taroko National Park over 2 days. On the first day, I covered Tianxiang, Baiyang Trail, Swallow Grotto and Changchun (Eternal Spring) Shrine. On the second day, I covered Buluowan, Swallow Grotto, Lushui and Wenshan Hot Spring (3 km further up from Tianxiang).

Shuttle bus

Eateries at Tianxiang

The bus stop sign. You can recognise every bus stop by a sign like this.

The entrance of Baiyang Trail is 900m away from Tianxiang

Gently sloping up. You gotta walk through that concrete covered walkway.

That's the entrance of the Baiyang Trail


It is dark so you will need a flashlight. Our handphones' flashlight function served us well.

Baiyang Trail is 2 km one-way. We took about 2 hours to and fro, with plenty of photo stops.


Baiyang trail is characterised by its number of tunnels. 7 along the 2 km route.



The Cave of Water Curtain marks the end of the trail.

This was fun! Raincoats can be found at the entrance. Feel free to use one and put it back after you're done.

Next stop: Swallow Grotto. Indeed we took 40 minutes to cover the approx 1.4km trail.






Our final stop for the day: Changchun Shrine. We conquered the steep climb.





The stairs never seemed to end.


Feeling accomplished for the day.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing ur information.............

    i have seen some other site which more interesting and more benifit one plse see the link which i shared here

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    ReplyDelete
  2. we are going to Taiwan in Dec.. can we do a free an easy tour of Taroko? we do no speak/ understand Chinese..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Nilakshi, I don't see why not. U can do some "homework" first by checking out the taroko national park website. http://www.taroko.gov.tw/English/?mm=5&sm=3&page=4#up
    there's a bus schedule that u can download showing the frequency of buses and where the bus stops are within the park. And of cos u can navigate the site and find useful info on the various trails to plan your day trip. Alternatively u could go to the visitors centre located outside hualien train station to seek advice on how to go about doing it.

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  4. Hi Shuangz! Thank you so much for your blog!!! All your informations and tips will serve me well as I plan to go to Taroko for a day trip next summer. =)
    I fear the typhoons coming as it will be during the season.
    If I had a question, what would be for you the most relevant places to visit in taroko, I will try to arrive to take the first bus from Hualien bus station and try to visit the maximum of places before taking back the train to Taipei.
    I noticed we had to wait for 1h10 proxy before the next bus arrive, how many places could I probably visit within the limited time?

    So many thanks for your reply!!

    Krisna

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    Replies
    1. Hi Krisna,
      Thanks for dropping by my blog. :) To be honest, the info u find here may be outdated as my trip was 2 years back. I'm not sure if the bus timetable is still applicable. I would advise you to check the official website of the Taroko Gorge National Park before your trip. The visitors' centre outside Hualien train station would also be a good source of info when you arrive.

      I personally enjoyed the Baiyang trail (accessible from Tianxiang), Swallow Grotto and the Changchun shrine. Do note that certain spots could be closed as a result of being affected by typhoon conditions. For instance, when I was there in Nov 2012, the Shakadang trail and Tunnel of Nine Turns were both closed. I believe these would be lovely spots to visit at Taroko.

      Try to start your day early to maximise your time. If you start early, covering 5-6 places should be doable. By the way, hitchhiking to get from one point to another is a feasible option too. Cheers!

      Delete
    2. Hi,
      Thanks a lot for your reply!
      I am sorry for being late for reading and replying. I was waiting for the mail to my mailbox haha!
      I will take a look, I really like that page, very useful tho!
      Cheers from France ;)

      Delete
  5. Thanks for sharing such kind of nice and wonderful
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    ReplyDelete
  6. hi, i’m planning to go to Taroko in November, and i found your explanations really helpful, thanks!!


    ReplyDelete