Taroko National Park, Hualien City, Taiwan Dec. 29-30, 2015

Taroko National Park, Hualien City, Taiwan Dec. 29-30, 2015

On Tuesday, December 29, after spending one night at a hotel equipped with natural hot spring water, we took a train further south to Hualien. We travelled via shuttle to the Leader Village Taroko, a cabin-style hotel in the mountains.

Because of the winding road, I was feeling rather carsick during the ride up the mountains, but I completely disregarded it once we stepped out of the shuttle. The mountains surrounding us were absolutely breathtaking and I kept turning around to look at the scenery because I could hardly believe I was in such a beautiful, secluded place. I have visited mountains in California before, but they were nothing like this.






We arrived at around 2:30 and we were not allowed to enter our room until 3, so we spend some time exploring the area around the hotel. The mountains were gorgeous, especially with the fog looming over them in the distance. It was so neat to walk down the narrow, moss-covered staircase from the hotel base to the visitor’s center. Though I was sniffling and coughing because of my allergies, I still really enjoyed the walk. The air felt so clean and fresh and it wasn’t as cold as you’d think it would be. According to the informational video we watched, it is possible for it to snow in these mountains, so we were lucky, I suppose! hehehe
After exploring, we were able to walk to our room. The rooms at the hotel are cabin-style, and many don’t have their own private bathroom, so although we had to have one small room with four people, at least we had our own bathroom.



The beds were four single beds all next to each other, and each bed had wires so it could be heated! This definitely helped at night, because the rooms had no insulation.



After relaxing for a couple hours and eating a buffet style dinner (with wild boar — it was delicious!), we went to see the nightly show, performed by the aboriginals! Leader Village Taroko is run by the members of the Taiwanese aboriginal Taroko (or Truku) tribe. The show was in Chinese, but Chris translated for me as best as he could. The owner of the hotel discussed the tribe’s culture as well as the meaning behind the songs, dances, and instruments that the children and adults performed.




The show was around an hour and a half long but it was so entertaining and I would definitely want to see it again, if given the chance! It was so fun to watch the children dance especially.
The next morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel before exploring around a bit and then eventually going on hikes all day! It was quite a long day but it was so much fun to see everything! Okay, maybe not that fun because hiking is tiring, but we saw beautiful rivers and even waterfalls, so that made it all worth it. I’m not sure if it was a once in a lifetime experience, but it was definitely an experience that was worth the sore feet. Ha!
Chris being cute!!



There are monkeys native to this area! We didn’t see any even though I wanted to, but now that I think about it, I probably would have been too scared anyway.

We travelled from the hotel to Swallow’s Gorge, a famous hiking area along the river. We had to wear helmets because it is an area where rocks fall often!

So dorky with our helmets on. Mine didn’t fit me right but oh well hahaha


The river was so beautiful! The water was icy blue and it was SOOOO loud! What an awesome sight.



This rock is supposed to look like a man’s profile. Do you see it?



Chris’s parents, Chris, and I wearing our helmets during the hike!
We moved from this 30 minute hike to the longer one, which was around 2-3 hours round trip. Although this next hike took a while, it was not difficult! The mountain we walked on was flat and not uphill at all, just a path around the side of the mountain overlooking the river. It was so fun to walk at a steady pace with Chris, take pictures and look at everything around us. We saw birds and butterflies, and even monkeys! Just kidding. I wish.


These rocks were made of marble! So cool!



We finally made it to our destination: the waterfall curtain. We donned our plastic ponchos and headed inside a super dark tunnel. We had to take our shoes off and roll up our pants to prevent them from getting wet, too!
Chris was super excited to do this! Me…well, you could say I was a bit afraid.



Chris told me to smile for a picture while standing under the waterfall! You can’t really tell by these photos, but the water was pouring on me this entire time, and it was super cold.



At one point, my hood fell off, and the ice cold water ran down my back. Not comfortable, but it was such a once in a lifetime experience that I didn’t care too much.
After this hike, we drove to get some traditional aboriginal food. It was pretty good! Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of it, but here are a few more pictures from the short hike we did following the lunch. At first I didn’t think I would want to come on this last hike, but then I thought that being in Taiwan is so amazing anyway and I should try not to sit out of anything at all!
I’ve said this before, but it’s so fun to have a boyfriend who stops you to take photos of you just because. The best photos I have of this trip are ones that Chris took while I was unbelievably and candidly happy.
There is a similar photo on an Instagram account I follow called iseetaiwan! It was so cool to see this bridge in person, totally randomly.






I was in the middle of talking while this photo was taken so don’t mind my facial expression, but take a look at this fun bridge!!


Aaaaand here come the selfies, of course.




Hiking around Taroko National Park was amazing! I love being in a place where the air feels so clean and I can see the color green everywhere I go. It is honestly so amazing to get to experience things like this, and I hope I can continue to adventure throughout college and beyond. My next post will be a short one about Hualien, where we stayed the next night. Thanks for reading!



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